New data from the 2021 West Virginia General Summative Assessment tests shows West Virginia students are struggling with math and science during COVID-19.

According to the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE), 28% of students were proficient in mathematics and 27% were proficient in science in the 2020-2021 school year. By comparison, 38% of students were proficient in math, while 32% were proficient in science in the 2018-2019 school year.

Results also showed 40% of West Virginia students were proficient in English language arts in 2020-2021, a decrease compared to the 46% in the 2018-2019 school year.

The State Department of Education (WVDE) will use these results to focus efforts and resources on addressing learning gaps and improving individual student achievement throughout the state.

Despite the results, State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch has advised against making a direct comparison to previous years.

“Without a doubt, we know that such factors as participation rates, learning modes and learning disruptions over the past 18 months varied by school and likely affected student performance,” said Superintendent Burch. “Our goal now is to use the results to focus on COVID-19 recovery efforts and address individual student needs.”

Though school officials did not administer statewide summative assessments in 2020, they say the state did administer tests to 91% of students in public school last spring, giving data to districts and schools. This data will be used to help address achievement gaps for individual students.

A study released on July 26 named West Virginia as one of the states with the worst school systems.

According to the study by WalletHub, more than half of educators reported significant learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key measures of quality and safety in order to determine the best school systems in the United States. The data set ranges from pupil-teacher ratio and dropout rate to median standardized-test scores.

The Mountain State's overall rank is 44th (1 best-50 worst). struggling to keep or hire new teachers, the state ranking low in teacher pay.