West Virginia – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of West Virginia’s plan, approved by the US ED on January 10, 2018.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. West Virginia included the following college- and career-readiness expectation in its plan.

  1. School performance indicator for high schools: ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. West Virginia’s indicator of school quality or student success awards points to high schools for students meeting any of the following milestones.
    • Remaining on track to graduate, by completing 12 course credits across grades nine and 10, with at least two credits in each of the four primary content areas
    • Achieving postsecondary readiness by
      • Scoring 3 or higher on an AP exam, or scoring 4 or higher on an IB exam
      • Completing dual credit or advanced career coursework, with a “C” letter grade or above
      • Completing four required courses in a career and technical education program of study

Read about this expectation below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation and English language proficiency for English learners.

West Virginia established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2029-30, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – not reaching proficiency on West Virginia’s English language arts and math assessments will decline by 50 percent.
  • By 2029-30, 74 percent of students will be proficient on West Virginia’s English language arts assessment and 67 percent will be proficient on the math assessment.

Graduation rate

  • By 2029-30, 95 percent of all students – and each student subgroup – will graduate from high school in four years.

English language proficiency

  • By 2029-30, 85 percent of English learners will demonstrate annual progress on West Virginia’s English language proficiency assessment, in order to reach proficiency within six years of identification as an English learner.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

West Virginia established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – Council of Chief State School Officers English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century

School quality or student success:

  • Attendance – rates of student attendance at least 90 percent of instructional days during the school year
  • Behavior – out-of-school suspension rates

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Weighted achievement on state English language arts and math assessments – West Virginia General Summative Assessment

Other academic indicator: Within-year student growth on state English language arts and math benchmark assessments 

High schools

Academic achievement: Weighted achievement on state English language arts and math assessments – SAT exam

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success: Course credits

  • On track to graduation: Completion of 12 course credits across grades nine and 10, with at least two credits in each of the four primary content areas
  • Postsecondary achievement
    • AP exam score of 3 or higher, or IB exam score of 4 or higher
    • Completion of dual credit or advanced career coursework, with a “C” or above letter grade
    • Completion of four required courses in a career and technical education program of study

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

West Virginia established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups.

Framework for differentiating schools in West Virginia

West Virginia will not assign overall school ratings. West Virginia will identify schools as CSI and TSI as required by ESSA. On an annual basis beginning in 2018-19, for each indicator schools will receive one of four descriptive ratings with an associated color-coding: distinguished/green, accomplished/blue, emerging/yellow or unsatisfactory/red. Schools will also receive a “checkmark” or an “X” to reflect whether they make adequate progress on the academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency indicators.

Weights assigned to each indicator in West Virginia

Weights assigned to each indicator in West Virginia - Elementary and Middle Grades (29% School Quality or Student Success / 28% Academic Achievement / 28% Other Academic Indicator / 14% English Language Proficiency Progress) and High Schools (37.5% School Quality or Student Success / 25% Academic Achievement / 25% Graduation Rate / 12.5% English Language Proficiency Progress)

Note. At the elementary and middle level, each measure (versus indicator) weighs approximately 14.3 percent, and at the high school level, each measure weighs 12.5 percent, so the indicator weights above may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

Student subgroups in West Virginia

  • Subgroups: For state accountability, West Virginia will focus on 10 student subgroups:  economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, multi-racial students, Pacific islander students and white students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 20 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator. In instances in which a school has an n-count of fewer than 10 students in a subgroup, the subgroup results will not be reported publicly.
  • Use of subgroup data in school ratings: West Virginia uses subgroup performance data to identify schools for targeted support and improvement (TSI, see below) and publicly reports subgroup performance data for each indicator, as required by ESSA.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

West Virginia established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, schools that meet any of the following criteria. 

    CSI schools:

    • Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, based on the following criteria.
      • Receiving an unsatisfactory rating on all indicators, followed by:
        • Receiving an unsatisfactory rating on the academic achievement, other academic, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress indicators, and either an unsatisfactory or emerging rating on the attendance measure, then followed by
        • Receiving an unsatisfactory rating on the academic achievement, other academic and English language proficiency progress indicators
    • Title I schools that do not exit Additional Targeted Support status after three years

    CSI high schools: Any school with less than a 67 percent graduation rate for all students 

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing the following assistance and tools.

    • Support with data collection, addressing student access to effective educators, and developing local West Virginia Support for Improving Professional Practice plans
    • Needs assessment, stakeholder survey tools, and on-site diagnostic visits
    • Liaisons to provide leadership support and technical assistance on a monthly basis
    • Technical assistance with planning, aligning resources, developing professional learning and monitoring progress, based on the West Virginia Standards for High Quality Schools, throughout the period of CSI status and continuing one year after exiting CSI status
    • Engagement with an improvement network of schools that will receive recommended evidence-based strategies and educator professional learning academies
    • Collaboration with an assigned partner school with complementary strengths and weaknesses

    After three years, for schools not exiting CSI status, the state will collaborate with local education agencies to determine a more rigorous plan of action, including a review of district and school annual strategic plans, an accreditation and diagnostic review based on the Standards for High Quality Schools, additional technical assistance with similar schools to share best practices, and educator professional learning academies.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After three years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • No longer meeting CSI identification criteria
      • Demonstrating a three-year average improvement on the indicators leading to CSI identification
      • Submitting, along with their local education agencies, written assurances outlining their commitment to continued improvement
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        • TSI schools: Identified annually beginning in 2018-19, any school with a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup that has received an unsatisfactory rating on all indicators for three consecutive years
        • Additional TSI schools: Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, any school with a student subgroup, which on its own meets the above CSI identification criteria in a single academic year, that has not been previously identified as CSI or TSI

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies in supporting their schools by providing the following assistance.

          • Support with data collection, addressing student access to effective educators, and developing local West Virginia Support for Improving Professional Practice plans
          • Optional participation in improvement network of schools and partner schools, and in action research projects focusing on interventions for student subgroups
          • Optional participation in statewide educator professional learning academies, and district administrator collaboratives

          Criteria for exiting this category

            • TSI schools: Not defined in plan (not required by ESSA)
            • Additional TSI schools: After three years, schools can exit additional TSI status by
              • No longer meeting identification criteria
              • Demonstrating student subgroup improvement on the indicators leading to TSI identification
              • Submitting, along with their local education agencies, written assurances outlining their commitment to continued improvement

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.