State Balanced Scorecard says county schools below the mark on many standards

by KATE EVANS

The West Virginia Department of Education released the West Virginia Schools Balanced Scorecard accountability ratings for the state and all county school districts for the 2017-2018 school year on September 13 on their website. The new scorecards indicate how well students are learning and areas where schools excel and need improvement. West Virginia eliminated the   A-F grading system for school performance earlier this year.

State assessment exam proficiency averages for each public school and county were also posted on the state education department’s website on their ZoomWV data dashboard. Balanced Scorecard and test score results can be found at https://wvde.us/.

Morgan County Schools did well in attendance rates (94.55%), behavior and graduation rates (93.65%), but struggled in academic performance and student growth. Some county schools exceeded state standards, met standards or partially met standards in various indicators, while other schools did not meet standards.    

Morgan County

Berkeley Springs High School, Pleasant View Elementary and Warm Springs Middle School partially met standards in English/ Language Arts (ELA) academic performance on the scorecard. Paw Paw High School, Paw Paw Elementary and Warm Springs Intermediate School did not meet ELA standards.

Paw Paw Elementary and Pleasant View Elementary partially met standards in math, while both high schools, the intermediate school and the middle school did not meet math standards. Partially meeting academic performance ELA and math standards and benchmark standards ranges from 50%-65%. Not meeting these standards is below 50%.

Paw Paw Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary, Warm Springs Intermediate School and Warm Springs Middle School did not meet standards in the benchmark growth indicator for math or English/language arts.

County school academic performance and benchmark indicators ranged mostly from 42% to 49%.

Graduation rate, other

Berkeley Springs High School met state standards for their 4-year and 5-year cohort graduation rate in 2018-92.9% and 91.43% respectively-while Paw Paw High Schools exceeded standards with their 100% 4-year cohort graduation rate. The state’s 4-year average graduation rate was 89.4%.

Berkeley Springs High School did not meet standards for post-secondary achievement or being on track for graduation. Paw Paw High School’s cell size for both indicators was less than the required minimum of 20 students, as was every county schools’ English Language Learner proficiency progress cell.

Attendance, behavior

Paw Paw Elementary and Pleasant View Elementary met attendance value standards (90% to 95%) for students present for 90% or more instructional days.   Berkeley Springs High School, Paw Paw High School, Warm Springs Middle School and Warm Springs Intermediate School   partially met attendance standards.   (80% to 90%)

Warm Springs Intermediate School and Pleasant View Elementary exceeded state behavior standards for students with no out-of-school suspensions. Paw Paw Elementary met the standards and Warm Springs Middle School partially met standards.

Percentages are based on all students’ proficiencies as measured by the 2018 and 2017 West Virginia General Summative Assessment (WVGSA) and the West Virginia Alternate Summative Assessment and the new 2018 SAT state standardized test for juniors which included evidence-based reading and writing (ERW) with essay, math and science, according to the West Virginia Department of Education website. Third through eighth grade and eleventh grade students took the state reading and math assessment exams in 2017.

Test scores

Every Morgan County school raised student proficiency in math from nearly 2% to about 5%. Paw Paw High School saw math proficiency decrease by more than 6%. All county schools showed a decline in reading proficiency with most schools decreasing 2% to 3%. Berkeley Springs High School’s reading proficiency dropped nearly 20% and Paw Paw High Schools fell almost 13%.

Morgan County’s reading proficiency average declined from 43.25% in 2017 to 38.13% on the 2018 state assessment exams.   The county’s average math proficiency rose to 31.17% in 2018 from 28.53% in 2017.

Accompanying charts show the 2018 and 2017 school, county and state averages in reading and math and comparisons to surrounding counties.

Areas of evaluation

On the Balanced Scorecard, all schools were measured by academic performance, English Language Learners proficiency progress and student success.

Academic performance is based on students’ English/Language Arts and math state assessment exam proficiencies, full academic year enrolled student numbers and test participation rates.

State Department of Education Communications Director Kristin Anderson explained the difference between the Balanced Scorecard academic performance percentages and the assessment percentages on the Zoom WV dashboard:

“The percentages in the spreadsheet for ELA and Math performance from the Balanced Scorecard represent percent of points earned out of a possible 125. The percentages on the assessment dashboards on ZoomWV represent percent proficient,” Anderson said.

Elementary and middle schools were also measured in growth in English Language Arts and math from the beginning of the year to the end of the school year.

Student success

Elementary and middle school student success is measured by attendance values, which are based on the percentage of students absent for 10% or less instructional days in the school year, and behavior as indicated by the percentage of students with no out-of-school suspensions.

High school student success is   measured by attendance, 4-year and 5-year cohort graduation rates, the percentage of 10th graders being on-track to graduation with the required number of credits and 12th graders’ post-secondary achievement data such as Advanced Placement (AP) course participation and AP test scores, dual credit course enrollment and numbers of Career Technical Education program completers.

Superintendent comments

School Superintendent Erich May said there are bright spots in the data and areas of concern. Bright spots were English Language Arts being above the state average in seventh grade and the county’s attendance and graduation rates.

May said that many county students are behind academically.

“We have to meet them where they are and work hard to get them where they need to be,” he said.

May said the Balanced Scorecard is one of several data tools that the school system is using to focus and inform their efforts and instruction. It’s their first year getting these scorecards and for some data. Last spring was the first time all juniors took the SAT assessment exams.

Morgan County has been working hard to improve math achievement along with other counties. Only 37% of all students tested across the state are proficient in math, May noted.

New Chromebooks for a Paw Paw High School and Berkeley Springs High School 1:1 computer initiative have been purchased.

Teachers received training on the new math curriculum and technology tools which are being used now. Principals are conducting walkthroughs looking for best practices in instructional techniques and strategies.

Student achievement also depends on the learning environment, May said.

The Morgan County Partnership’s Positive Action program has been extended from Warm Springs Intermediate to Warm Springs Middle School and Positive Action programming is being increased at Widmyer Elementary.

May and school board members said the county has very talented and dedicated teachers.

“We’re proud of the hard work that’s being done in the classroom. These results help us identify where schools need support. We know we have a lot of work to do in the areas of math and reading achievement,” May said.

May said he and central office directors are meeting with principals this week to discuss school data. May will give a presentation about the Balanced Scorecard, state test score results and student data at the October 2 school board meeting.

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