CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 75 percent of Kanawha County's public schools have shown some progress since last year, according to standardized test data released Wednesday.
Under the state's new accountability system, more than 40 percent of Kanawha County schools classify as "success" schools -- the highest designation given by the state Department of Education.
Just over a quarter of schools statewide met the success school criteria.
About 33 percent of Kanawha County Schools are ranked as transition schools, meaning a majority of students have exhibited growth in either academic goals or on the WESTEST 2 and in other areas such as graduation rates.
About 5 percent of the county's schools have been labeled as "priority" schools, which is the lowest ranking and requires intervention. Those schools include J.E. Robins Elementary, Watts Elementary and Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary.
The state's unique new system gives each school a score and takes into account more than just reading and math scores on standardized tests. Individual student growth is another factor, and each school is put into one of five categories to distinguish their academic status.
In May, the state Department of Education was given approval to break free from No Child Left Behind laws. That waiver gives schools more control over funding and rewards all students for progress, regardless of what their scores are on standardized tests as long as they're better than the previous year.
The new system's reliability on more than just test scores was clear Wednesday, as schools and parents were held accountable for issues they've never faced before.
George Washington High School, for example, earned the second-highest WESTEST 2 scores in the state, second only to Harrison County's Bridgeport High.
The historically high-achieving school had the best reading and language arts scores in the state and the third best math scores.
However, the school was labeled as a "support" school -- the second-lowest designation. That's because the school had poor WESTEST 2 participation rates among students in the low socioeconomic "subgroup."
George Washington Principal George Aulenbacher said Wednesday that he had worked to narrow the issue down to a possible discrepancy with one or two GW students, and the status was likely to be changed to a success school.