Education, Latest News, Monongalia County

Going to school (or not) in a pandemic: Mon district to look at how COVID shaped its proficiency scores

Like getting a test back from the teacher and already knowing the grade, Donna Talerico said.

Talerico, the deputy superintendent of Monongalia County Schools, was talking about those pandemic-assessment numbers that came out last week from Charleston.

Those totals from the state Department of Education didn’t tell anyone anything they didn’t already know, she said.

“All of us knew scores were going to be down,” she said. “Kids weren’t in school.”

The 2021 numbers in the state show 40% of West Virginia students showing proficiency in the English language arts, with marked slides in math and science after that.

Just 28% of the state’s students showed a math proficiency, according to the report.

The science scores were one notch lower at 27%.

No assessments were given last year at the height of the pandemic, and state School Board President Miller Hall told parents and educators alike to be patient and positive with in-person learning around the bend for the start of the 2021-22 academic year this month.

The most-recent results, he said, will show where the people in front of the classroom have to dig in.

“The information gained from these results is crucial for us moving forward to best support learning and overall development,” said Hall, who began his career in education as a teacher and coach.

State school superintendent Clayton Burch echoed Talerico.

“Without a doubt, we know that such factors as participation rates, learning modes and learning disruptions over the past 18 months likely affected student performance,” he said.

The state report was released last Wednesday, and Talerico said the day after started a post-modern look at how Mon fared. The local numbers were being compiled and analyzed.

“We were down, too,” she said.

Even so, she said, proficiency results in county classrooms here still came better than other districts.

“That’s gratifying news,” she said.

“Now we start our deep dive. We’re going to make sure we improve where we need to. Whatever’s right, we’ll keep doing.”

Mon’s students go back to school Aug. 24.

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