Teacher union leader has explanation for low math scores

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia students spent four hours less on average than students in other states who took the Smarter Balanced assessment test.

One leading education official believes there’s an explanation for the difference.

“Many students didn’t take this test seriously,” West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ Thursday. “When you’re spending 3.5 hours to do a test that should take 8 hours? That’s not an example of taking it serious.”

The scores, released Wednesday, are unacceptable, Lee said.

The numbers show West Virginia students spent less time on the tests for English/language arts and math than 16 other states who took the tests the year before. West Virginia did well on ELA but not in math. Only 25 percent of 8th graders were proficient, 18 percent of 9th graders, 15 percent of 10th graders and 20 percent of 11th graders.

High school juniors did better on the college exam ACT, Lee said, which is under different circumstances.

“It (Smarter Balanced) has no ramifications on their grades or anything like that,” he said.

The WVEA has long said teachers need more time to plan so they can better prepare the students for the tests.

“Teachers need different training, more training in how to prepare the lessons, how to get the lessons across and secondly, they need more planning time and more collaboration time,” he said.