WESTEST: CALHOUN HIGH FAILS PROGRESS STANDARDS - Four Of Last Five Years, "Optimistic About Making Improvements," Propst Says


By Bob Weaver

Calhoun Middle-High School has failed to meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2009-10, according to a report released by the WV Department of Education this week.

West Virginia superintendent Steve Paine says state students did better on this year's annual assessment test known as Westest II, than last year, despite tougher tests and stricter standards.

Not so for 131 schools in the Mountain State that failed to meet the standards, including Calhoun High School.

Calhoun High School has failed to meet AYP four of the last five years. The middle school is included with the high school in considering outcomes.

The county's elementary schools, Arnoldsburg and Pleasant Hill, met the Average Year Progress thresholds.

"We did better than we thought we would in the elementary schools," said Superintendent Roger Propst, alluding to the increased standards with Westest II.

"We're analyzing the scores and will be meeting with school administrators Monday. We're preparing a report for the school board," Propst said.

Propst says critical cut-off numbers sometimes give schools a problem. "Sometimes one student thrusts us into failing. The NCLB is a grading system that in many ways does not adequately recognize progress," he said.

"I agree with the rigorous standards, but consistent improvement should be part of the criteria," Propst said.

Calhoun, according to the statistical report, got a failing grade because of problems with two sub-groups - Special Education and the SES group, related to students who fall in the lower socio-economic scale, reflected by those receiving free or reduced lunch. About 70% of CM-HS students fall in that category.

Calhoun Middle-High School had been in trouble with the state's Office of Performance Audits, and was put on probation regarding the school's credentialing, but the local system rebounded with a number of improvements within the school, and was eventually given a commendable audit.

"We're moving forward, and remain optimistic about making improvements," Propst said.

State officials say Westest 2 is used to assess students' proficiency in math, reading and language arts, science and social studies.

The test was revised in 2008 to measure students on several new skills, including critical thinking and problem solving. Earlier this year, the minimum scores were raised, according to State Superintendent Paine.

Calhoun High School did not fare well with the increased standards.

In 2008-09 48.73% of students indicated proficiency in math, with 27.39% on the latest test.

In 2008-09 48.21% of students indicated proficiency in reading, with 21.60% on the latest test.

To review the statistics compared to other regional schools, see wveis.k12.wv.us/nclb


CALHOUN SCHOOLS HAVE MAJOR TURN-AROUND - One Of Only Three WV Counties Meeting Standards, Audit Returns CM-HS To Full Accreditation

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