Academic skills data shows mixed gains, drops for county students at start of year – The Morgan Messenger


by Kate Evans

Student data at the start of the year showed academic gains and losses as the Morgan County school system operates during the pandemic.

Primary Education Principal Kandy Pentoney and Secondary Education Principal Beth Golden gave a PowerPoint presentation at the Morgan County School Board meeting on November 16, which included STAR’s reading and math skills , pre-kindergarten data, Camp MoCo and Camp Alpha data. The two talked about ways to fill the learning gap.

Pentoney noted that the last regular school year for the county’s students was the 2018-19 school year and that kindergarten, first and second graders had not yet had a regular school year.

Pentoney said the school system had raised the skill test. A score of 40% or more was originally considered a skill for students, but they raised the bar. Last year it was changed to 50% or more for skill and this year the skill is measured at 60% or more. At the start of the year, the STAR competence went from 2020 to 2021.


Some 20% of students in Morgan County achieved proficiency levels (achieved at least 60%) on STAR reading assessments in early 2021. Some 36% of students in the county were proficient (achieved 50% or more) to the same test in 2020.

STAR ratings were just added this year at Berkeley Springs High School, Pentoney said.

The average proficiency of Paw Paw Elementary was 38%, Warm Springs Intermediate School – 35%, Widmyer Elementary – 22%, Berkeley Springs High School – 18%, Warm Springs Middle School – 17%, Pleasant View Elementary – 15% and Paw Paw High School -10%.

In 2020, the County Skill Average at the beginning of the year (BOY) with 50% or more considered competent on STAR reading assessments was 36%. Academic skills were Widmyer Elementary-85%, Paw Paw Elementary-50%, Warm Springs Intermediate-39%, Pleasant View Elementary-35%, Warm Springs Middle-32%, and Paw Paw High School-21%.


Some 27% of Morgan County students achieved proficiency levels (scored 60% or higher) in the early 2021 STAR math assessments. at 50% or more) on the same test in 2020.

Academic skills were Widmyer Elementary-44%, Warm Springs Intermediate-31%, Paw Paw Elementary-30%, Pleasant View Elementary and Berkeley Springs High School-27%, Paw Paw High School-23% and Warm Springs Middle-16% . Mathematics proficiency in grade one was over 50%.

In math assessments for STAR students in early 2020, the county schools’ proficiency average of 50% or above was 44%. School skill averages were Widmyer Elementary-63%, Warm Springs Intermediate-53%, Paw Paw Elementary-48%, Pleasant View Elementary-42%, Paw Paw High School-33%, and Warm Springs Middle-32%.

Summer camp data

Golden said she was very happy with the STAR data they had from students at Camp MoCo and Camp Alpha summer camps. A majority of children have maintained or acquired skills in English / language arts and math.

In most classes, at least 55% to 60% of students in the camp were maintaining or acquiring math skills and 50 to 55% maintaining or acquiring English / language arts skills during the start-of-year STAR assessments. The seventh grade reading percentages were about 85%, with eighth grade reading about 70% and seventh grade math about 75%.


Pre-kindergarten assessments for math and science showed that scientific research, geometry and measurement, classification and algebraic thinking, and numbers and numerical operations had declined slightly since last year. Pentoney said they needed to improve digital operations such as addition and subtraction.

Pre-kindergarten English / language art skills such as writing, print awareness, phonological awareness and oral language also decreased slightly compared to the 2020-2021 school year. Pentoney said rhymes, rhythm, alliteration, and phonological awareness need to be taken into account.

Pre-K socio-emotional skills such as play and self-regulation were high. Pre-kindergarten physical health and development skills like gross and fine motor skills need work. Pentoney said skills like throwing and catching balls were the kids’ biggest weaknesses, along with hand-eye coordination.


Their presentation also included a breakdown of West Virginia math domain groups – number operations, algebra and geometry – and skills covered and overlapped from preschool to algebra 2. They also discussed the stages of the math journey. – particularly difficult skills that can trip students on the learning staircase.

“Not all stages are created equal. Some skills are harder to master, ”Pentoney said.

There are also prerequisite skills that need to be taught and mastered before children move on to the next grade, she noted. For reading, the skills of concentration are vocabulary and fluency.

Closing the Gaps

Pentoney said school officials monitor student engagement in testing and teach testing best practices. They also monitor children who are on the cutting edge and offer intervention programs. Free entry to school events has dramatically improved adolescent mental health, she said.

Other strategies included level 1, 2 and 3 support, focusing on absenteeism and absenteeism and constantly monitoring children’s socio-emotional health.

MC After 3 Jr. begins in December and an after-school program begins at Paw Paw. Golden said they are in the process of implementing an online tutoring program.

School superintendent Kristen Tuttle said there are new tools available with STAR assessments that offer lessons targeted to individual children to help fill learning gaps.

Board of Directors comments

Board chair Aaron Close raised staff concerns about teaching four to five different groups in the classroom. He also wondered what standards are taught to a third grader.

Board member Eric Lyda suggested that parents could help if they knew the standards their children are learning.

Vice-chairman Pete Gordon said fractions don’t end in grade five. Re-teaching, the ringing of the bells, and the constant weaving of travel stages into a variety of issues and mini-lessons would help.

Laura Smith, a board member, said she sees a lot of positives and loves the idea of ​​online tutoring, especially as a grandparent.

Board member John Rowland noted that his students said they forgot the fractions because he had not reviewed them enough. Revision is crucial. Rowland said he teaches five to six different groups in his class.

“It’s not ideal, but it can be done,” he said.


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