CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The number of West Virginia schools failing to make "adequate yearly progress" under the federal No Child Left Behind act has risen significantly over the previous year.
The standard is measured by schools' performance on the 2011 West Virginia Educational Standards Test, or Westest 2.
A press release issued by the state Department of Education on Monday begins by saying, "West Virginia students are headed back to class with strong school improvement numbers."
It says the majority of schools showed improvement in the 2010-11 school year.
However, the release goes on to say that of the 692 schools affected by the 2001 law, only 329, or 48 percent, met the "adequate yearly progress" standard.
The other 363 schools, or 52 percent, did not make the cut.
This is down from 81 percent of schools meeting "adequate yearly progress" in 2009-10, according to Liza Cordeiro, a spokeswoman for the education department.
So how can test scores rise and the number of schools meeting the federal standard drop?
The standard is a rising target that becomes more difficult to hit each year. The ultimate goal of the federal law is for all
To meet "adequate yearly progress" this past year, schools had to increase the number of students in each grade level achieving proficiency-level scores on the Westest 2 by 16 percent in every subject area.
Students in grades 3-11 take the test.
The press release notes that a third-grader needed to score 557 on the math section of the test to be considered proficient in 2009-10. That jumped to 581 points in 2010.
The release says that 55 percent of schools showed some improvement in math scores and 77 percent had higher reading and language arts scores.
State Superintendent Jorea Marple says in the release that while a number of schools did not meet "adequate yearly progress," some gains were made.
"What we value in West Virginia is constant improvement and student academic growth," she said.