CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While a national education publication gives West Virginia a failing grade for K-12 achievement, it ranks the state's school system in the top 10 in the country based on other factors such as policy efforts and assessments.Education Week's annual Quality Counts report, released today, ranks the state as ninth-best in the United States. West Virginia schools earned an overall grade of B-minus, higher than the nationwide average of a C-plus.West Virginia ranked as third-best in the country when it comes to standards, assessments and accountability, in which the report measures state policies to ensure students' progress is being appropriately evaluated.All schools' standards are grade-specific and the state provides adequate assistance to its low performing areas, according to the report.The state received an A-minus for school finance analysis, ranking it the second-best in the country in that category. West Virginia's money for schools is spread evenly among districts more so than in any other state, according to the report.However, West Virginia has received a failing grade when it comes to achievement by kindergarten through 12th graders for the third year in a row.West Virginia has some of the lowest test scores in the country -- ranking dead last in fourth- and eighth-grade reading proficiency tests. High school graduation rates have increased by 1.4 percent, but are still ranking low on a nationwide scale at about 71 percent students passing.The current national average for students with high Advanced Placement scores is about 22. West Virginia's is about 9.Based on overall performance, improvements over time and achievement gaps between poor students, West Virginia ranks as the third-worst state in the country when it comes to academic achievement. Only two states -- Mississippi and D.C. -- scored lower.
In addition, West Virginia students' "chance for success" ranked in the bottom tier of the country, according to the report. On the other hand, West Virginia ranks in the top ten best in categories "transitions and alignment" and "the teaching profession."West Virginia supports beginning teachers more so than most states and provides incentives to teachers and principals working in targeted schools, according to the report.The report also says that high school courses are closely aligned with the postsecondary system."Most of the indicators that appear in Quality Counts are based on original analyses and state survey data from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, supplemented by information published by other organizations," the report states.Reach Mackenzie Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org