The Education Alliance is dedicated to ensuring parents, community members and civic leaders have easy access to educational research and resources. We hope these resource links will help you in quest to be well-informed about the educational issues in West Virginia schools.


Early Literacy

The Importance of Early Learning

“This brief discusses the importance of early learning for all students, particularly those students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. ”

Education Week

“Many of the stresses associated with poverty exact a lasting toll on children's health and learning.”

A Problem in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency

“"A Problem Still in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency" provides a framework to help state leaders and policymakers create more effective policies that will result in improved reading performance. ”

Five Steps Every Civic Leader Can Take To Improve Early Literacy

“Reading proficiently by the end of third grade is a key predictor of high school graduation, yet too many students - especially children in high-poverty schools and from low-income families - are failing to attain this critical milestone. Here are five ways all of us can help. ”

Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators

“The United States lags behind most of the world's leading economies when it comes to providing early-childhood education opportunities to young children, according to an OECD study. The United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary education programs. The United States also invests significantly less public money in early learning than its counterparts. (Education Week, premium article access compliments of”

Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Preschool Enrollment

“The United States lags behind most of the world's leading economies when it comes to providing early-childhood education opportunities to young children, according to an OECD study. The United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary education programs. The United States also invests significantly less public money in early learning than its counterparts. (Education Week, premium article access compliments of”

Campaign aims to improve third-grade literacy

“Supporters of a campaign to improve literacy in Arkansas said their goal is for all the state's children to be reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade by 2020. The coalition launched their campaign with the release of a report titled "The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: A Call to Action." The report ranks Arkansas 36th in the nation in 4th-grade reading proficiency. (Arkansas News Bureau, 09/04/12)”

Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

“Supporters of a campaign to improve literacy in Arkansas said their goal is for all the state's children to be reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade by 2020. The coalition launched their campaign with the release of a report titled "The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: A Call to Action." The report ranks Arkansas 36th in the nation in 4th-grade reading proficiency.”

Reading on Grade Level in Third Grade: How Is It Related to High School Performance and College

“A repport to the Annie E. Casey Foundation that looks at the impact of third grade reading levels on high school performance and college enrollment. ”

Third Grade Literacy Policies: Identification, Intervention, Retention

“This document gives examples of practices and policies other states are using to ensure more students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade. The document also provides guidelines for policy makers at the state and local levels interested in improving students’ literacy levels in pre-k through third grade. ”

Double Jeopardy:How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High Scool Graduation

“This revised study finds that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave without a diploma than proficient readers. It is notable in breaking down for the first time the likelihood of graduation by different reading skill levels and poverty experiences. It also updates a 2011 research brief with new data on graduation rates for students living in concentrated poverty. ”

Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters

“The 2010 KIDS COUNT Special Report makes the case that reading proficiently by grade three is a fundamental benchmark in developmental success and overall childhood well-being. ”

Early Childhood Education: Policy Implications

“In recent years, the intersection of two significant developments has dramatically changed the national context for raising children, providing related services and the development of early education policy. ”

Extended Time for Learning

Summer Learning Loss: The Problem and Some Solutions

“Discusses the merits of various approaches to provide more instructional time for students. ”

Facts About Summer Learning Loss

“Two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).”

Know the Facts

“Presents research summaries on the impact of of summer learning.”

Time to Succeed Coalition

“A great web site to inspire action on the issue of more and better learning time for students.”

National Center on Time and Learning

“Resources for parents, educators and policymakers interested in higher student achievement. ”

180 Days: Simply Not Enough

“How much instructional time do students really receive? This short video may surprise you!”

Preventing Brain Drain: Summer Learning Programs

“The importance of summer learning!”

Education Commission of the States

“THE TIME AND LEARNING CONNECTION. Several decades of research have suggested a meaningful relationship between time and learning, where the amount of time students spend engaged in learning is strongly associated with their level of achievement. Among schools that have expanded the day and/or year, researchers have found that such a strategy can be quite effective, especially with at-risk students.”

Time and Student Achievement

“There is a substantial amount of research describing the pivotal role of learning time in achieving various student outcomes. Here you will find some of the more significant pieces in the field of time and learning for quick reference. ”

Summertime and Weight Gain

“More and more children in the United States are obese—and overweight children tend to become overweight or obese adults, leading to a host of health problems. Many people blame schools, but research shows the opposite. In fact, children gain weight three times faster during the summer months, gaining as much weight during the summer as they do during the entire school year, even though the summertime is three times shorter. The National Summer Learning Association spoke to Ohio State University statistician Paul von Hippel about the research, what we can learn from it, and what it means for children and society as a whole. ”

Teacher Quality

Good Teachers Linked to Test Success

“A study found that effective teachers can boost the test scores of students who had struggled under low-performing instructors, marking a new salvo in the national debate over teacher performance. The three-year study by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published Tuesday, is the first large-scale research to show, using random student assignment, that some teachers can produce test-score gains regardless of the past performance of their students, according to foundation officials.”

Varying Teacher Expectations and Standards: Curriculum Differentiation in the Age of Standards-Based

“The development of academic standards in each state creates the context where common educational experiences and academic outcomes exist for all students regardless of the school they attend, the teacher they have, or the learning group placed. However, while the standards-based reform has the potential to ensure more equitable educational experiences for students, its impact can be compromised by the deficit beliefs that exist about low-income students and students of color and their families. ”

Report Backs Evaluating Teachers on Test Scores

“Linking teacher job evaluations to student achievement, which Louisiana is starting this year, is a solid indicator of how effective teachers will be in the future, according to a Manhattan Institute report. Under Louisiana's plan, half of the annual review will be connected to the growth of student test scores. The other half will be tied to classroom observations by principals and others. (Baton Rouge Advocate, 09/06/12)”

The MetLife Survey of the Teacher:Teachers, Parents and the Economy

“A survey of teachers, parents and students conducted for MetLife. ”

The Irreplaceables

“The Irreplaceables documents the real teacher retention crisis in America’s schools: not only a failure to retain enough teachers, but a failure to retain the right teachers.”

The Sheepskin Effect and Student Achievement

“Does an advanced degree ensure teachers are more effective in the classroom? This study responds to this critical funding question. ”

SEEDS Helps Principals Succeed

“Simply put, SEEDS is about relationships and resources for school principals. Our premise starts with the belief that well-supported administrators can effect real change at their schools. With SEEDS, principals receive funding of up to $50,000 for a school initiative, along with expert guidance from an educational consultant and a successful business CEO. Together, they develop and execute an innovative plan to facilitate student achievement.”

Alternative Certification: Policy Recommendations and Best Practices

“In West Virginia and nationally, the need to place highly qualified teachers in the classroom is not only a charged political issue but an important public policy debate. To meet increasing demand for classroom teachers, especially in math and science, states have enacted alternate certification programs for educated individuals who did not complete a traditional teaching preparation program but who have answered the call to enter the classroom. In recent years, The Education Alliance has taken an active role in effecting change in public education by supplying research and recommendations to advocacy groups, parents, business leaders, teachers, legislators and school administrators. This research summary supplies needed input to stakeholders, outlines policy action and highlights best practices for alternative certification routes for recruiting new teachers.”

Providing High-Quality Teachers for Low-Performing and At-Risk Schools

“The impact of a highly qualified, caring teacher in every classroom has become the focal point of the continuing evolution and implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The emerging research, coupled with the legislative mandate, has made providing a highly qualified and caring teacher in each classroom a national, state and local imperative”

Recommendations from the Teacher Quality Initiative

“In 2002, West Virginia became one of five national sites to take part in the Teaching Quality Initiative, which emphasized the need for communities to take responsibility for the quality of teaching in their local school systems. The Education Alliance, West Virginia’s statewide education fund, managed the project with assistance from local organizations such as the Family Resource Networks and Economic Development Authorities.”

2012 Research on Teach for America

“Research on the impact of Teach for America .”

About Teach for America

“Provides an overview of the Teach for America program, participants, and impact. ”

Student Achievement

New Vocabulary NAEP Shows Achievement Gaps

“Big gaps exist across racial and ethnic groups and income levels, the first-of-its-kind report from "the nation’s report card" shows.”

Getting from Here to Core: How to launch the program that launches students

“This document gives readers a more concrete grasp on the Common Core State Standards. It also helps readers understand the steps necessary to move forward with confi dence. Links to some of the best resources available to help you get started are also included in this document.”

Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequlity , Schools, and Children's Life Chances

“As the incomes of affluent and poor families have diverged over the past three decades, so too has the educational performance of their children. But how exactly do the forces of rising inequality affect the educational attainment and life chances of low-income children? In Whither Opportunity? a distinguished team of economists, sociologists, and experts in social and education policy examines the corrosive effects of unequal family resources, disadvantaged neighborhoods, insecure labor markets, and worsening school conditions on K-12 education. This groundbreaking book illuminates the ways rising inequality is undermining one of the most important goals of public education—the ability of schools to provide children with an equal chance at academic and economic success. ”

ACT Profile Report_WV

“The ACT Profile Reports provide valuable information about the performance of each state's 2012 graduating seniors who took the ACT as sophomores, juniors, or seniors. The reports focus on student performance, student access, course selection, course rigor, college readiness, student awareness, and articulation to higher education.”

Gender Differences in Reading Achievement

“This piece is a compilation of the field’s most relevant research related to the learning differences between boys and girls. It addresses the psychological strengths and challenges of males and females and what we, as advocates, can do to better understand different learning styles and utilize different instructional strategies to best serve our students’ needs. Gender Differences discusses such ideas as single-sex classrooms and varied reading opportunities for boys.”

Middle School Student Voice

“What actions can West Virginia’s middle schools take to raise student achievement and close the achievement gap between middle-class white students and African-American and economically disadvantaged white students? The Education Alliance today released the results of a study earlier this year that sought the answer from the perspective of middle-school students themselves. Eighth-graders in two urban middle schools and a rural middle school made up 18 guided focus groups whose conversations were compiled to provide recommendations for professional development, school-community dialogue and engagement and policy changes.”

High School Completion and Dropout Prevention

2012 Keeping Pace with Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice

“States are changing the face of education by introducing blended learning models that combine the best of face-to-face instruction with the best of online learning. This review of policies and practices provides concrete examples of how to make blended learning effective. ”

The West Virginia Challenge Academy

“The Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy is designed to train and mentor selected at-risk youth to become contributing members of society using the 8 Core Components in a quasi-military environment during a 22-week residential and one year Post-Residential follow-up program.”

Dropout Prevention in West Virginia: A Guide for Community Dialogue

“This guide provides an easy to follow community dialogue and action process for communities that want their young people to remain in school on track for high school completion.”

Dropout Prevention in West Virginia: A Guide for Moderators of Community Dialogues

“This guide is designed for moderators of Dropout Prevention in West Virginia: A Guide for Community Dialogue. ”

Dialogue to Action Initiative: A Guide for County Leadership Teams

“This notebook is designed to guide county leadership teams through the process of developing community forms and creating an action plan to address the dropout issue in their local community. ”

Grad Nation: A Guidebook to Help Communities Tackle The Dropout Crisis

“This guide is designed give you and your community the tools you need to rally your community to end the dropout crisis, understand the dimensions of the dropout challenge in your region, develop an effective plan to combat high dropout rates and prepare youth, and build strong partnerships to make lasting change happen.”

How Can We Help More Students Finish High School? (DVD)

“A brief 7 minuet conversation starting video designed for communities using the Dropout Prevention in West Virginia dialogue to action process. ”

Student Retention and Dropout Prevention

“Policy Recommendations and Best Practices”

College/Career Readiness

WV eMentoring Teacher's Guide

“The teacher guide explains how to implement WV eMentoring and provides answers to frequently asked questions. ”

2012 College-Bound SAT West Virginia Profile

“SAT Scores Show Slight Decline The College Board released scores for the class of 2012 and reported that 43% of test-takers achieved the SAT College & Career Readiness Benchmark -- the same percentage as last year. On average, students scored 1498 on the exam, down from 1500 in the class of 2011. As in years past, students who took challenging courses continue to do significantly better on the SAT.”

WV eMentoring

“Want to help students learn more about careers from someone whose been there, done that? Check out The Education Alliance's WV eMentoring Program. ”

The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm

“Many of the stories you've heard about the Great Recession often involve the plight of college graduates, or stories about how men and women have fared differently in the recession and recovery. In The College Advantage, the authors agrue that college degrees have served as protection for Americans seeking shelter during a tough economic storm. ”

WV 2012 ACT Scores Now Available

“The ACT scores for the graduating class of 2012 are now available. Although scores in the four content areas were primarily flat compared to 2011, West Virginia's seniors exceeded national averages in English Composition and Social Science. Scores also indicate much work is needed in Mathematics and Science.”

The College Advantage

“Despite the current economic hardships faced by people at all levels of education the value of a college degree remains strong, according to a report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University. The report finds that unemployment and underemployment rates are far lower for college graduates. They also have a strong advantage in obtaining jobs that have been created in recent years.”

Community Resource Guide

“This Resource Guide contains a list of phone numbers for public service organizations in Charleston. It is put together by The Charleston Public Safety Council as a special service. The Resource Guide is divided into 29 sections covering significant issues about the community. The guide is arranged alphabetically by categories ranging from ambulance services to volunteer services for youths.”

Pathways to Prosperity

““A must-read paper that focuses on the need to develop meaningful career training as a part of comprehensive school reform. Career training has been ignored for far too long, but is essential if we’re going to address the “career-ready” piece of the puzzle that, along with the “college-ready” piece, is now all the buzz.” Joel I. Klein, Chancellor, New York City Public Schools (2002-2010)”

Certificates Count

“Completion is the key when it comes to advanced education. To fully enjoy the benefits of higher knowledge and skills, one must graduate. Dropping in for a couple of courses at the local campus rarely makes much of a difference for long-­term student success. Therefore, it is vitally important that states ensure that students have the opportunity to pursue the full range of higher education pathways that not only increase the likelihood of college completion, but also landing good careers.”

West Virginia Center for Civic Life

“The West Virginia Center for Civic Life is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps engage our citizens in community discussions of important public issues that affect our state and nation.”

Roads to Success

“Roads to Success provides a content based curriculum designed to help students figure out what they want from life and how to get it. ”

Alliance for Excellent Education

“The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. The Alliance focuses on America's six million most at-risk secondary school students—those in the lowest achievement quartile—who are most likely to leave school without a diploma or to graduate unprepared for a productive future.”

College Foundation of West Virginia

“West Virginia's free source for college and career planning.”

General Education Issues

Remarks from Elizabeth Mow of WV Professional Educators on SB 359


Full Text of Governor Tomblin's Education Bill (SB 359)


Child Poverty in West Virginia: A Growing and Persistent Problem

“On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) report, this new report revisits many of the same measures of well-being that ARC researchers examined a half-century ago. This analysis, however, focuses its attention on West Virginia, the one state that exists entirely within the federally designated Appalachian region, and, more specifically, on the children of West Virginia.”

2012 W.Va. KIDS COUNT Data Book

“For decades, teen births had been decreasing in We st Virginia and the nation. But, in 2006, West Virginia's rates began to worsen, and the disparity between the state and national rates became much greater. The 2012 West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book, which was released today, focuses on the recent upward trend in the state's teen birth rate and outlines a set of solutions proven to reduce teen pregnancy, including full implementation of the state's comprehensive sex education curriculum. ”

WV Education Policy gets 'F' from StudentsFirst

“StudentsFirst created the State Policy Report Card to evaluate the education laws and policies in place in each state. We hope this helps reveal more about what states are doing to improve the nation’s public education system so that it serves all students well and puts each and every one of them on a path toward success. We believe state policies must empower parents to make the best choices for their children, and they must enable school administrators to recognize, reward, and retain the best teachers and principals. Using common-sense education policies, states must create opportunities for innovation, improvement, and reform. In states with strong, student-centered policies, all stakeholders — parents, students, teachers, and district and school leaders — are able to work together to make schools better for kids.”

School Choice: Vouchers and Tax Credits

“This ECS analysis provides details of the existing voucher, scholarship tax credit, and individual tax credit and deduction policies in the states, presents competing perspectives, briefly summarizes the existing research concerning these policies, and offers key policy questions for state leaders to consider Postsecondary Affordability ”

A Right to Choose Single-Sex Education

“For some children, learning in girls-only or boys-only classes pays off. Authors of this article believe opponents of the idea are irresponsible.”

Moving the Mountain State Forward: 21st Century Education

“The basics of today’s education system—technology, policy, curriculum—are constantly changing. A solid education is a must-have tool for success, and the continual integration of technology into the school system is the key to preparing students for an increasingly competitive global market. For the 2012 Education Issue, West Virginia Executive asked members of the state’s education, government and business sectors to share what they have identified as the challenges West Virginia’s education system is currently facing. A challenge was only the first part of our request, however; we also asked them to provide a solution to the challenge—suggestions that may provide a jump-start to the conversations that will lead to positive change for our students and teachers.”

What Americans said about public schools

“Read what Americans are saying about public education.”

Quality Counts 2012 Highlights Report

“In the Quality Counts 2012 Highlights Reports Education Week ranks the 50 states based on six graded categories. Overall, West Virginia was ranked 9th in the nation receiving a B-. With a score of F (49th in the nation), West Virginia needs to address K-12 achievement to be nationally competitive. West Virginia – State Highlights 2012 captures all of the data you need to assess the state's performance in key areas. The information is presented in a series of charts and graphs, and includes comparisons to national averages. You won't want to miss this data, so download your copy now. ”

Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System

“In 2010, the State of West Virginia initiated a comprehensive review of its primary and secondary education system, which it called “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.” While the word “audit” is used to describe this initiative, the review was not intended as an audit in the strictest meaning of the term. Rather, an “efficiency audit” uses an array of techniques to identify issues, research possible solutions, determine best practices, and develop recommendations – all activities designed to identify opportunities for savings, eliminate duplication, and to work smarter. This review was intended to help the state achieve two goals: 1. Producing the best possible outcomes for its students. 2. Receiving the highest return on the educational dollars it spends. Compared to its sister states, West Virginia has recently scored very well in its expenditures on an income and per-pupil expenditure basis. The state ranks 8th in education expenditures relative to income, even adjusting for anomalies in its current spending levels (which include an annual average of $333,575,000 for pay-down of the unfunded liability of the Teachers' Retirement System, which does not constitute spending on students in the public schools: The state nevertheless ranks 7th, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in salaries exclusive of benefit payments, relative to the state’s income levels, and when total spending is adjusted to exclude the pay-down of the unfunded pension liability, the state still ranks 32nd nationally, ahead of such states as Massachusetts, California, and Virginia).1 In sum, West Virginia, unlike most similarly poor states, cannot be said to stint on education spending. Unfortunately, this considerable commitment of funds has not equated to a high level of achievement: West Virginia students score below the national average on 21 of the 24 indicators of student performance as reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.2 This was the impetus for the state to launch this “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.” In initiating its review of the State’s education system, the State of West Virginia asserted: These statistics suggest that the state of West Virginia is getting a poor return on its investment in primary and secondary education, a total of $3.5 billion in FY2010. For that reason . . . this audit is to locate redundancies and duplication of effort, identify areas where economies of scale can be created, and develop recommendations for ideal ratios for educational, administrative, and other expenses for West Virginia school districts. In May 2011, the West Virginia Governor’s Office retained Public Works and its partner firm, MGT of America, to conduct this review. This resulting report seeks to identify (1) savings and efficiencies, and (2) service-delivery improvements that can be instituted to make the best use of West Virginia’s educational spending and to increase student achievement.”

Middle Childhood Education: Policy Implications and Best Practices

“This piece is a compilation of the field's most relevant research related to the standards-based reform and reinvention of middle level education in the United States. Middle Childhood Education findings support the importance of an academically rigorous curriculum focused on higher order thinking and problem solving skills in an effort to make middle grades students more successful in high school, college and the 21st century workplace. It also offers strategies for improving professional development, educator preparation and the organizational structure of the middle grades.”

Positive Youth Development: Policy Implications and Best Practices

“This piece is a compilation of the field’s most relevant research related to the environmental challenges and risks faced by youth. It offers strategies for facilitating constructive youth programming and youth-related policies. Positive Youth Development findings also support the importance of positive development with a focus on growth rather than remediation and community-based development directed at increasing a community’s capacity to provide such programs.”

The West Virginia Civic Index Report

“The West Virginia Civic Index Report - Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - Embassy Suites Hotel - Charleston, West Virginia - The Release of the First State Civic Index on Quality Public Education in the Nation!”

Through Different Lenses: West Virginia School Staff and Students React to School Climate

“The Education Alliance issued two major recommendations in conjunction with a research report released today, entitled “Through Different Lenses: West Virginia School Staff and Students React to School Climate.” The recommendations include placing greater focus on equity amongst students as part of future school reform efforts, and investigating the characteristics of schools that generate positive student experiences in order to replicate practices within lower-performing West Virginia schools. ”

Closing the Achievement Gap: Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics

“Recent national test results provide continuing documentation of the need to increase the focus on improving student achievement in mathematics. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) recently released the 2005 math scores, which reflected student achievement in the areas of measurement, geometry, data analysis, probability and algebra. Nationally, only 30% of eighth graders were deemed proficient. Although this reflected an increase from previous assessments, only 69% of the eighth graders nationally demonstrated a basic skills level on the NAEP assessment (Olson, 2005). ”

Integrating Technology in the K-12 Classroom

“West Virginia has been a leader in providing computers in the classroom and recognizing that computers can provide specialized tutoring, create group learning environments and provide enriched learning experiences for students. A survey of over 1,300 high school teachers, conducted by The Education Alliance in 2004, revealed that over 72% of the teachers felt they had adequate technology resources.”