by Kate Evans
Morgan County’s “scorecard” on state-mandated assessments from last year show a lot of red
for county schools, highlighting multiple areas where student knowledge does not meet state standards for their grade level.
West Virginia’s “Balance Scorecard” lists academic standards, progress, English learners and Student Success as factors being weighed by the West Virginia Department of Education.
Morgan County Schools didn’t meet the goal of improving their state assessment exam reading and math proficiency scores 2% from last year’s scores.
Reading proficiency scores dropped 1% from 37% to 36% but math proficiency rose 1% from 26% to 27%, said Director of Special Education and Assessment Nicole Hiles in her September 19 presentation to the Morgan County School Board on the 2023 Morgan County Balanced Scorecard and the West Virginia assessment exams.
Students in some grades in Morgan County Schools showed significant improvement on the 2023 West Virginia assessment exams. The school system met its goal of reducing chronic absenteeism and improving its graduation rate.
Other strategic plan goals were removing 5% of their students from the WVEIS list of chronic absences and improving and improving the graduation rate for 4- and 5-year seniors to 90% as measured by cohort data.
The percentage of county students considered chronically absent fell from 37% to 26.54%, Hiles said. More than 250 students dropped off the chronically absent list.
The Paw Paw High School graduation rate has been at 100% for eight years running, said Hiles. Berkeley Springs High School’s graduation rate last year was 92%. The on-track to graduate percentages were up almost 4%.
County proficiency data
The five-year trend for academic proficiency on the state assessment exams shows 38% proficiency in English language arts (ELA), 31% proficiency in math and 35% proficiency in science in 2018. Proficiency dipped slightly in 2019 and fell to 32% in ELA, 22% in math and 25% in science in 2021.
Proficiencies rose slightly in 2022, then declined to 36.31% in ELA, rose to 27% in math and decreased to 22% in science in 2023.
In 2023, some 33.49% of Morgan County students didn’t meet proficiency standards in reading, 41.60% didn’t meet standards in math and 39.57% didn’t meet proficiency standards in science.
Warm Springs Intermediate School was the only county school to surpass the state average in reading and math on the 2023 state assessment tests. Its students achieving 45.09% in reading/English language arts, 44.51% proficiency in math and 32.3% proficiency in science.
While Paw Paw Elementary’s reading proficiency rose around three points to 43.18%, their math proficiency dropped from 47.73% last year to 31.82% in 2023.
Pleasant View Elementary students averaged 33.33% in reading proficiency, a rise of nearly 12 points from last year, and climbed to 37.5% from 16.07% in math proficiency on the exams, a jump of approximately 21 points that put the school over the state average.
Paw Paw High School‘s reading/English language arts proficiency levels rose around eight points from 28.95% to 36.84%. The school’s math proficiency increased to 15.79% from 13.16% but remains less than half of the state average.
Berkeley Springs High School’s reading/English language arts proficiency average cut in half in 2023, dropping to 27.7% from 53%. Their math proficiency decreased to 14.5% from 19.87% in 2022, less than half of the state average.
Warm Springs Middle School’s reading/English language arts proficiency remained about the same at 31.36% but math proficiency declined from 19.72% to 15.98%.
With the exception of the intermediate school having a science proficiency of 32.3%, other Morgan County Schools had science proficiency scores ranging from 20.8% (middle school) to 13.9%. (Berkeley Springs High School) Paw Paw Elementary had too small of a student sample size to report.
Paw Paw Elementary third graders scored a 59.4% reading/English language arts proficiency on the 2023 state assessment exams and Pleasant View Elementary fourth graders achieved a 50% reading/English language arts proficiency, said Assessment Director Nicole Hiles.
Pleasant View Elementary fifth graders achieved a 41.2% reading/ELA proficiency and intermediate school fifth graders scored 40.9% in reading/ELA proficiency.
Paw Paw High School seventh graders achieved a 54.6% reading/ELA proficiency and their sixth graders scored a 42.9% reading/ELA proficiency, she said. Paw Paw High School seventh graders scored a 36.4% math proficiency on the 2023 exams.
High school SAT School Day results fell from 936 to 860 at Berkeley Springs High School and from 918 to 865 at Paw Paw High School. Both high schools’ scores were below the state SAT exam average of 911.
What’s working, what’s not
Hiles said that what’s working are personalized skills practices with IXL, tutoring and online tutoring with focused supports, long-term substitutes, parents and at home usage, improved intervention services, research-based programs and scheduling, Reflex and Frax and improved foundational math skills and implementation of blended learning strategies.
Staffing continues to be a struggle, with the lack of certified teachers and vacancies and the lack of day to day substitutes for each county classroom.
Some students are still missing a lot of school and feeling impacts from social emotional influences and struggling with apathy.
Student skill gaps also continue to be an issue as teachers and families recover from school disruptions from COVID years.
Hiles said teachers are being presented with differentiated professional learning opportunities and are trying different programs like Bold School, Thinking Classrooms, The Successful Middle School, How the Special Needs Brain Learns, i-Ready and Paper Tutoring. Coaching sessions are ongoing and teaching staff is increasing the pace of instruction.
Hiles said the school system’s focus now is on math skills in the secondary grades.