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Preston Schools superintendent says third benchmark test results show ‘significant improvements’

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Board of Education got some good news at its most recent meeting.

The third and final benchmark test of the year showed significant improvements in scores across the county.

“We’re definitely headed in the right direction,” Superintendent Stephen Wotring said. “And actually, some of our scores have doubled, and a couple even tripled from where they were last year.”

Wotring provided board members a chart showing the scores from the iReady benchmark broken down by school and grade.

“What we obviously want to see is green and blue and not very much red. If you can remember charts I’ve given you in the past, there was a lot of rash. There is very little red on this chart. And in fact, every single school in kindergarten is in the green, which is the highest level. … We have blue in every grade level except fifth and eighth in reading language arts, which would also be a proficient level. So we’ve made real gains.”

Looking at how much the scores have improved is very exciting, Wotring said.

The school district was in the middle of state testing last week and Central Preston already completed theirs, Wotring said. The benchmark scores lined up very closely with the school’s results and in fact, test scores in reading and language arts were about 10 points higher because the benchmark doesn’t measure writing.

“Vanessa Hayes has done a lot of work with writing with our teachers across the county. And Central was one of those places she really worked,” Wotring said. “And their scores were 10 points higher on average than what’s reported here.”

The last time Wotring gave the BOE a chart, math scores were almost all red.

“When you look at the green and blue in math, that is exciting. In fact, all the kindergarten is green or blue, “But we actually have more blue in math than we do in reading.”

There are some schools that are really low and need work, Wotring said. Those are Rowlesburg and West Preston.

“But other than that, there have been some real gains in reading and math,” Wotring said.

Wotring, who is retiring at the end of June, said he will be long gone by the time the official state test scores are released. He questioned why in the digital age scores weren’t released until November or October.

“That makes no sense to me,” he said. “But we’ll be able to get some preliminary numbers, by the end of this week, actually, and know how things are panning out.”

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