Ashton Marra Published

Public School Grades Released Under New A-F System


The West Virginia Board of Education has approved the final grades for public schools across the state under a new accountability system. 

The state Board has been working since 2013 to create and implement the new school accountability system after a legislative directive and urging from Gov. Tomblin. It gives schools a grade of A through F so that parents can more easily understand how their child’s school is doing.

More than 80 percent of the individual school grades are based on student standardized test scores and progress made on the tests from year to year.

“All of those standardized test are directly linked to the daily activities in classrooms, to our standards. Our formative assessments, our quizzes, our exams in class are all rolled up into this,” West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano said.

“So, it’s more than just one snapshot, it represents the entire body of work that a teacher conveys through the year by delivering our standards.”

Martirano said high school graduation rates, attendance, and other measures are also included in the school grades.

But some statewide teachers groups are less than satisfied with the measurements, including the West Virginia Education Association. WVEA Executive Director Dale Lee told reporters at a press conference Tuesday the school grades are too predominantly based on test scores that only show a “single snapshot of a single day.”

“We’re not saying that you shouldn’t let people know how schools are doing, we’re saying there are numerous things that go into measuring how well a school is doing,” Less said, “but the connotation of you’re a D school or you’re an F school based on a single test score without the proper education of the public, that community then going to look and say, I told you. That school is bad, an F is an F, an F is failure.”

Lee worried those kinds of attitudes in communities will cause them to pull their support from a struggling school.

Board of Education President Mike Green said as the system was created, multiple measures were included in the grades, but clarity is the key.

“The important thing is that the public will now clearly understand exactly where there school stands,” Green said Wednesday.

The baseline scores for this first year under the new system were set on a bell curve, resulting in most schools receiving a “C” designation. The breakdown for the 668 schools measured in West Virginia include:

  • 6.7 percent A
  • 24.3 percent B
  • 53.3 percent C
  • 13.5 percent D
  • 2.2 percent F

The grades are based on a 1,200 point scale for middle and elementary schools and a 1,500 point scale for high schools.