LEON — There is controversy over one elementary school’s West Virginia Educational Standards Test (also known as the WESTEST) testing procedures and therefore results for the 2012-13 school year.
According to a press release from the Mason County Board of Education and Superintendent Suzanne Dickens with approval from the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), the latter recently concluded an investigation of the Spring 2013 WESTEST results at Leon Elementary based upon standardized testing anomalies present at the school.
The release states the Testing Integrity Team from WVDE visited Leon Elementary this fall and using data obtained from CTB/McGraw Hill, the testing company that provides the WESTEST annual assessment instrument, the team analyzed information relative to the validity of the results and the integrity of test administration procedures. Based upon its analysis, the Testing Integrity Team concluded that a breach of testing procedures required the invalidation of the results of the WESTEST annual assessment, the release states.
Dickens said she has reviewed the findings of the Testing Integrity Team and concurs with its conclusions. In light of this, Dickens said Mason County Schools has undertaken proactive steps to prevent a reoccurrence of conduct that would require the invalidation of standardized test results in future assessments.
Dickens stressed that Leon Elementary School has “good students, dedicated teachers and supportive parents.”
The investigation performed by the Testing Integrity Team indicates the responsibility for the breach of testing procedures was likely limited to the actions of a single employee and was not the product of widespread misconduct, according to the press release.
Dickens expressed confidence that “the Leon Elementary School community will rise above this distraction and provide a quality education to its students.”
The Point Pleasant Register was unable to contact officials at WVDE after normal business hours for further explanation of the “breach of testing procedures” and what this means for Leon Elementary which was one of only two local elementary schools that received the WESTEST’s highest designation rating for the 2012-13 school year. The other elementary school receiving this highest rating was Roosevelt Elementary. Both elementary schools continually peform well on the WESTEST. Also, receiving this designation for the 2012-13 school year, Wahama High School and Point Pleasant High School. To be clear, the test results of Roosevelt, Wahama and PPHS have not been called into question.
As for any action taken against the employee accused in the breach, Dickens had no comment at this time, citing protecting the right of disclosure for personnel.
A beloved school to many in its community, earlier this year, students, their families and staff, all rallied to help defeat a possible proposal that might’ve closed Leon Elementary and consolidated it with a school in Putnam County.
More will be published on this story as further details become available.