Assessment is a critical part of the education process.
From exams throughout the year in the classroom to the annual standardized tests, the goal is to measure what students have learned and how they can apply this knowledge. Information gained is valuable for the students, and teachers and administrators benefit as well in developing the most effective teaching strategies.
Marion County is seeing significant change in the assessment process.
County students took the WESTEST online for the first and last time this year. In 2015, the Smarter Balanced Assessment, designed to measure college and career readiness and aligned with a new set of Common Core State Standards, will replace the WESTEST. West Virginia put these standards within its current framework of educational standards to create the West Virginia Next Generation Content Standards.
“When they changed the content standards to align with the Common Core in English/language arts and math, the assessment, of course, would have to change with that,” said Randy Farley of the county’s Central Office.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment will be fully functional in the 2014-15 academic year, and it will be administered online to students in grades 3-8 and high school juniors. It’s testing that continues to go beyond measuring command of facts.
Unlike the WESTEST, the assessment will incorporate a performance task section, during which teachers will conduct a classroom-based lesson about a certain concept, and then students will respond to that lesson to show their level of understanding.
Marion County got a head start with the new assessment.
East Park Elementary, Watson Elementary, East Dale Elementary, West Fairmont Middle, Pleasant Valley Elementary, Monongah Middle, East Fairmont High, Fairmont Senior High and Rivesville schools participated in the pilot program.
“(Teachers) taught the lesson in the morning, and in the afternoon (students) took a test on that lesson that was taught,” said Jessica Whaley, assistant principal of East Park.
“I think it went really smooth,” Lisa Lister, principal at West Fairmont Middle, said. “Our teachers loved it, and our counselor was involved with it. We had the proper training. It’s all based on the support you get, and we had the support and we had the technology at West Fairmont Middle School.”
Whaley doesn’t feel the transition from the WESTEST to the Smarter Balanced Assessment will be difficult next year, since students have already been introduced to taking online tests.
“Smarter Balanced seems to be more oriented to the curriculum than the WESTEST was,” said Whaley. “We have the Common Core goals now, and it focuses more on strategies of learning those common standards.”
The Common Core State Standards are academic standards in English language arts/literacy and math that carry across states to create consistent learning goals.
The standards build on the existing state standards and lay out expectations of what students should learn at each grade level in order to be college and career ready, according to the core standards initiative website.
We’re confident Marion County, after effectively changing to the online WESTEST this year and conducting a pilot project with the new assessment, will fare well with next year’s change.
“One thing about Marion County, we always have the necessary training to implement these new strategies, so that’s why I think they go so well,” Lister said.
That’s critical. Success means turning out students better prepared as they move on to the workforce or higher education.
Assessment is a critical part of the education process.
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
“Preventable, but not curable.”
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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