CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — New Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Dr. William “Chuck” Bishop says there are some differences and similarities between Jefferson County Schools and his previous job in Clarke County, Virginia.

When pandemic era summative tests across the state shows proficiencies on the decline, state education leaders started implementing changes More recent numbers are looking more positive but are still not where state educators want them to be.   While he wasn’t affiliated with West Virginia schools during the pandemic nor during the subsequent testing, Superintendent Bishop talked about how Jefferson County Schools plans to combat low test scores:

In the 2021 cumulative assessments given to students in the Mountain State, there was 27 percent proficiency in science.  Proficiency was 33 percent in the prior 2019 testing period.  The results showed 28 percent proficiency in mathematics. Proficiency was 39 percent in the prior 2019 testing period.

And tested West Virginia students scored 40 percent proficiency in English and language arts. The prior proficiency was 46 percent.

The state Department of Education said it would use the results to address learning gaps and improve individual student achievement throughout the state.

This past spring, the numbers looked a little better with a slight improvement in overall math, English language arts (ELA) and science proficiency among West Virgnia’s public school students.

The state Board of Education received the 2023 Public School Assessment Results during a meeting in Charleston this month.

Overall results show 44 percent of West Virginia students were proficient in ELA, which is a 2 percent increase over last year. In math, 35 percent were proficient compared to 33 percent in 2022. Science proficiency increased by 1 percent from 28 percent in 2022 to 29 percent in 2023.

The state rolled out its “Ready, Read, Write West Virginia” program last year to aggressively address low academic achievement across the state.

The Third Grade Success Act (House Bill 3035) was passed during the last legislative session in the state.  It is aimed at addressing early literacy and numeracy development in kindergarten through third grade by establishing a holistic statewide approach.  It encompasses aspects of education such as teacher training, additional support personnel, assessments for dyslexia and dyscalculia, multi-tiered support systems, intervention strategies, parent communication, and extended year programs. In the following sections, we will explore the key components of this legislation and illuminate how it aims to enhance the educational foundation for young learners.

More information on the Third Grade Success Act can be found here.