Wood County Schools: Raw test scores show growth

Greenmont Elementary School media specialist/librarian Kevin Mace reads to second-graders Thursday, the first day of classes in the 2019-20 school year for Wood County Schools. Officials say initial scores from the state assessment show growth in nearly every category for Wood County students. Final scores will be available in September. (Photo by Michael Erb)

PARKERSBURG — Initial assessment scores show Wood County Schools students improving proficiency in nearly every category, but officials caution the raw scores likely will change by the time final numbers are released next month.

Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook provided a glimpse of the data during Tuesday’s Wood County Board of Education meeting, saying scores significantly rose between 2018 and 2019. Students in grades 3-8 took the West Virginia General Summative Assessment, or GSA, in the fall. The West Virginia Department of Education is expected to release results in late September.

Early numbers for Wood County Schools showed growth in English language arts and mathematics. The only exception was seventh-grade English language arts, which remained flat, Hosaflook said.

In some areas, the percentage of students testing at or above proficiency increased by 10 or more percentage points, Hosaflook said. Proficiency in ELA for fourth-grade increased by 10 percentage points, while sixth-grade increased by nine percentage points.

In math, both third- and sixth-grades increased by 10 percentage points, and eighth-grade scores jumped 13 percentage points.

“It always goes back to the core process, and that is the main thing,” Hosaflook said. “They’re implementing the programs. They are listening to teacher coaches. (Curriculum and Instruction Department) does a wonderful job of preparing the teachers on strategies and how to get results.”

Christie Willis, director of curriculum and instruction for Wood County Schools, said while she was pleased with the initial results, several steps remain between the raw scores and release of the final GSA scores.

For example, for their tests to be counted, a student must be enrolled at a school for 135 days or more. The overall scores also will be modified by other factors such as SAT testing, attendance and graduation rates.

Hosaflook said he expects Wood County Schools to rank among the top performing counties in West Virginia, and believes as more teachers see these kinds of results, the more they will adopt the programs and best practices being used by their peers.

“I would expect even higher test scores next year,” Hosaflook said.

Hosaflook said he hopes to acknowledge the efforts and results achieved by schools and teachers throughout the county once the state numbers are released, and has asked the board to consider honoring a different teacher or administrator each.

Michael Erb can be reached at merby@newsandsentinel.com