Ashton Marra Published

New Policy Requires A Through F Grade for West Virginia Schools


Parents across the state may soon have a better understanding of how their child’s school is fairing thanks to a new grading system adopted Monday by the state Board of Education.

The change comes after a directive from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin during his State of the State Address in January. In his address, he specifically called on the board to implement and A through F grading scale.

Beginning July 1, schools will be ranked on that new grading scale, a practice some current board members think will make the process easier for parents to understand and also evoked more community participation.

“I think we all agree that one of the things that is needed is more community involvement in our schools,” said former Board President and current member Wade Linger, “and if nothing else this will signal which communities need to get involved the most the soonest.”

The grades themselves are based on student achievement and school quality and include a list of criteria including proficiency rates, observed growth and graduation rates for high schools.

Not all board members agreed with the new practice, however. Dr. William White was the only nay vote on the measure.

“I have a problem with labeling schools in a way that creates a very negative impact on that whole community,” White said.

“It doesn’t just impact the school, it also impacts the neighborhood, housing values, recruitment could be a major issue. So, those are some much deeper issues that we have to deal with.”

Along with the new school evaluation system, the state board will also implement a new county school system approval method. Under the new system, individual school scores will be added up to show the county’s overall health.

The newly approved policy also sets out intervention methods for low performing schools, an appeal process for schools who disagree with their evaluations, and awards and recognitions for schools who consistently achieve.