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Mon Schools fare better than most in reading, math and science scores

COVID doesn’t grade on a curve.

West Virginia State Board of Education President Paul Hardesty found that out Wednesday in Charleston, as he and his board colleagues convened for their August meeting.

“We’ve got work to do,” he said.

He was referring to the most-recent results from a round of general assessment testing this past school year charting the math, reading and science proficiencies of students in grades 3-8.

While those scores charted a bit of a post-pandemic bump, Hardesty said they still show a school system under siege, of sorts, as teachers and school administrators continue the struggle to get out from under the cloud of the coronavirus.

Besides, the state board president said, those numbers need to be better, anyway — COVID or no COVID.

Especially in a state, he said, that is seeing its first-ever influx of charter schools this year.

That’s on top of the ongoing legal wrangling over the Hope scholarship, and the choices for alternative venues in education — such as charter schools, private schools and home-schooling opportunities — it could bring Mountain State families.

In the meantime, the beleaguered public districts of Lincoln and Jefferson counties are now facing oversight from Charleston as the school year is set to begin this month.

The numbers: Overall, reading scores across the state improved from 42% over the 40% charted the year before schools were shuttered and remote learning ensued, as a response to the then-looming pandemic.

Same for math, inching up statewide from 28% to 33% over that same period. Science scores averaged the same at 28% from the two academic years.

Monongalia County’s school district, meanwhile, continued to outpace the state with a 53% proficiency showing in reading, and overall scores of 47% and 42% in math and science, respectively.

Donna Talerico, Mon’s deputy superintendent of schools, said while the local district always strives to be better, she appreciates those scores — netted as they were, in unprecedented times.

“We’re proud of those results from a very difficult year when we were still re-imaging what school looks like,” she said.

“Our teachers and students work hard.”

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