CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Preliminary results from new standardized testing of West Virginia public school students showed higher-than-expected scores in English/language tempered by significant drops in math.

MORE: Read test results outline

The results of the West Virginia Statewide Assessment were released at the state Board of Education meeting Wednesday. The Smarter Balanced Assessment measured student achievement using the state’s new Next Generation standards, which are based on Common Core, the controversial national standards designed to improve education.

West Virginia students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 scored higher in English and literacy proficiency than a national test group of students from 18 states including West Virginia using the Smarter Balanced Assessment the previous year. However, the majority of state students failed to meet the test group standard in math.

State education officials pointed out that third-graders, who are the first students to undergo four years (K-3) of the new standards, scored higher than expected in math and English.

“Because those students have been taught the standards for the longest periods of time, that’s why we’re pleased to see that in ELA and math those students are outperforming what the projections show,” said Vaughn Rhudy, the state Department of Education executive director of assessment.

Those results may be used by supporters of Next Generation/Common Core who want to give the new standards time to work.  State Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead have said they plan to introduce legislation to repeal Common Core.

The state board is currently taking public comments on the standards with plans to make adjustments that board members hope will satisfy critics.

Outside of the third grade, math scores were dismal. Only 18 percent of ninth-graders, 15 percent of 10th-graders and 20 percent of 11th-graders were rated “proficient.” West Virginia high school juniors were 13 percentage points lower than the 2014 Smarter Balanced field test standard.

Executive Director of Communications Kristen Anderson said state Superintendent Michael Martirano knows the challenges.

“We have work to do in the areas of math and science,” she said. “Overall, our superintendent and our board are committed to pushing these proficiency levels higher. It’s definitely something you’re going to hear the superintendent talk about over the next year.”

Science is a problem as well. Students in fourth, six and 10th grades saw scores decline by an average of 2 percent from the previous year. (There is no Smarter Balanced science test. Students were measured using the Westest, which Smarter Balanced replaced in other disciplines.)

While education officials worry about students not taking the testing seriously, Rhudy said 11th graders have cause to be motivated. The state Higher Education Policy Commission is now using test results to determine whether students can avoid remedial classes in college.

“When they go away to school, they can point to that score when they enter the college or university of choice in West Virginia,” Rhudy said. “They can use that score and the college won’t schedule them into a remedial course.”

“The important thing is that in order for us to see how things go, we need to have the same assessment for an extended period of time. If we change assessments again, we have to start with a new baseline and do something else.”

The statewide assessment results were made available earlier than in years past, something that Martirano thinks should be an advantage for both teachers and students.

“I’ve been very clear that I want those results out early,” Martirano said Tuesday. “I’ve been very transparent in my superintendency about all of our information. And I want those results into the hands of our teachers, principals and parents so good instructional decisions can be made about those.”