West Virginia

Academic Achievement

Student performance in West Virginia is very weak. Eighth graders stand a full 10 percentage points below the national average of 34% in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

West Virginia earns a mediocre grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 14% of African-American 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam. Because the state does not have a large enough Hispanic student population to meet NAEP sampling requirements, West Virginia’s grade is based solely on low-income and African-American students. 

Return on Investment

Student achievement in West Virginia is very low relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living. 

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

West Virginia posts above average marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

West Virginia earns a below average grade preparing its students for college and careers, with only 9 students out of 100 passing an AP exam.

21st Century Teacher Force

West Virginia does an average job of creating a strong teacher workforce. Specifically, the state struggles to identify and retain effective teachers but is a middling performer for preparing effective teachers. 

Parental Options

West Virginia does a very poor job providing parents with strong school choice options. The Mountain State is one of only eight in the country with no charter school law.

Data Quality

West Virginia earns a good grade collecting and reporting high-quality education data. It supports a longitudinal data system and links student academic performance data to teacher data.


West Virginia receives an above average grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. While students have limited eligibility, West Virginia does provide quality instruction and personalized learning. 

International Competitiveness

West Virginia earns a very low grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy. A meager 21% of students are proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard. Only about 4 out of 100 students pass an AP STEM exam.

Fiscal Responsibility

West Virginia receives average marks on fiscal responsibility. While only 63% of the state’s pension is funded, its most recent contribution was more than 100%.