West Virginia fact of the day (from the comments)

by on April 18, 2017 at 1:34 pm in Data Source, Education | Permalink

West Virginia’s average ACT score and percentage taking the test are almost identical to the national average.

That is from Slocum, here is the comment and link.

1 Skeptic April 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Surprised it’s not higher, given the racial composition.

2 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm

I imagine the people who sit for the ACT are overwhelmingly white in general.

3 Well, April 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm

You would be, wouldn’t you.

4 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 1:47 pm

He’s one of those deal with the facts rather than virtue signal types? Screw him.

5 Indeed April 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Priors be priors

6 Careless April 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Sam, it’s a name joke. Let it rest.

7 libert April 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Sam is easily offended. Try not to trigger him.

8 Ray Lopez April 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Sam Fulsome also drives his net worth and wears it on his back. But he once was deck hand for a yacht worth about as much as my family’s net worth (> $9M) which he’s proud to mention.

9 Jan April 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm

>$9 million!! Do they wash their underwear, or just throw it away and wear a new pair each day?!

10 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz April 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm

For only $8M you can buy solid gold underwear that is self cleaning, it has an on-board reservoir of universal solvent which it recharges from the condensation of air using energy in a nuclear battery. I also heard can also combine them with silver and bronze underwear to make a big metal “unit” to protect you from getting Rochambeaued.

11 Student April 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm

WV has few Asians Americans to bring up their average…

12 Troll Me April 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm

I wonder if an extra hour or two a day of study for 12 years affects anything.

13 ladderff April 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Me too! Someone should really study these things.

Nathan, you’re an idiot.

14 chuck martel April 18, 2017 at 10:01 pm

If Asians are so intelligent why do they seem to be the dominant racial group of casino gamblers?

15 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz April 18, 2017 at 11:50 pm

They are laundering money. The only way to get money out of China is to go to Macau and pretend to lose it there.

16 chuck martel April 19, 2017 at 6:25 am

Is that the way it works in Las Vegas?

17 kevin April 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

Its a consumption good not investment. More money=more consumption

18 Student April 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

1.) there is no association with being dumb and gambling (aside from slot playing).

2.) what evidence is there that the majority of gamblers are Asian?

3.) gambling is entertainment .

19 other derek April 18, 2017 at 3:13 pm

This comment is an accurate stereotype of MR comments.

Here’s a different explanation: Real incomes in WV are not so far off the national average. Therefore, it would be reasonable that WV’s population actually is about as smart as the national average given that someone pulling $50,000 in WV has perhaps made a better financial decision than someone earning $70,000 in NYC.

As far as WV lacking a concentration of urban poverty, WV is also certainly not lacking in rural poverty, so I think that the IQs implied by achievement (ie real incomes) are more or less a wash compared to an average state.

20 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Personal income per capita in WVa is about 21% below national means. Assessments of living costs incorporate a consumption bundle which may not be your preferred consumption bundle. As for ‘housing costs’, location location location.

21 David E April 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

This fact would be more useful if broken down by race. The disparity between the races is so large that a huge chunk of what you see with this is influenced by the racial breakdown of a state.

22 aMichael April 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm


For instance, Utah looks great on K-12 tests, until you break it down by race, and then you realize that white Utahns do worse than whites nationally as do Hispanic Utahns compared to HIspanic nationally.

23 Thomas April 19, 2017 at 9:42 am

Yeah but have you heard that sanctuary cities have less crime and more 9/11s than racist cities? The (bad social) science is settled, nazi!

24 Anonymous April 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

That escalated quickly.

25 Gimlet April 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Do we have a feel for how accurate their population statistics are in comparison to other states? I.e., are there material numbers of people “off-the-grid” who may not be included (as compared to other states)?

I’d also like to know the distributions and variances among states (and really among metro areas). Average is all fine and good, but if you look at metro areas driving innovation, I believe you see clusters at the top driving it, and clusters at the bottom as well.

26 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

I’m curious if a surprisingly postive stat relating to a favored minority group were reported if you’d be so fussy and tendentious.

Survey says don’t bet on it.

27 Gimlet April 18, 2017 at 3:08 pm

I wouldn’t rely on that survey – must be internet based.

28 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 6:16 pm

I.e., are there material numbers of people “off-the-grid” who may not be included (as compared to other states)?

Gimlet saw Deliverance.

29 RH April 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

They’re among the lowest scoring whites, which puts them at about the national average.

30 Darwin April 18, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Selection bias probably explains this. Only the more qualified students in West Virginia are encouraged to take the SAT/ACT, while in higher achieving states everybody takes them.


31 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Wrong has already been dealt with. But your bigotry towards poor whites is blinding.

32 The Cuckmeister-General April 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

I also hate poor whites, despite being white myself! I want to see our national cycling continue!

33 The Cuckmeister-General April 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Damn! I meant cucking

34 Careless April 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm

It was really hard to read all 16 words in the OP that blew up your point before you made it, huh

35 The Cuckmeister-General April 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm

We’re all missing the BIG Story here: the guy who commented is named “Slocum” – Slow Cum. Why does he cum so slowly?

36 other derek April 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm

No, because the percentage taking the test is about the same.

37 DanC April 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Many states on either cost have a bias toward the SAT. The Midwest tends to use the ACT. I suspect that the reason West Virginians take the ACT at a national average rate is because of the national split in who takes the SAT and ACT.

For example only 15% of West Virginians take the SAT. Adjusted for who takes the test they are last in SAT scores and 44th in ACT.

I think the participation rate data might overstate the issue. West Virginia has some very smart kids. But it is very hard to overcome the destruction of some families and communities from drug use and welfare, regardless of race.

38 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 5:53 pm

You’re not from around there, are you? West Virginia has an astonishingly high census in it’s public higher education. system quite apart from its community college network. A state with that population and level of affluence you might expect to have shy of 40,000 enrolled. There are 70,000 enrolled as we speak. It’s a reasonable guess that about 85% of the population of Morgantown is attributable to the presence of the state university there. The place is like Blacksburg (Va), State College (Pa), or Ithaca (NY). If they’ve benefited from this aggressive promotion of higher ed, you don’t see it in the headline numbers. Vis a vis the rest of the country, the place is more affluent than it was in 1929, but it’s still 20% under par. Net increase in population since the Depression has been nil, and there isn’t one city with more than 100,000 people in it.

39 prior_test2 April 19, 2017 at 2:24 am

Come now, no mention of the pivotal role of Morgantown’s transit system in expanding WVU’s enrollment dramatically? – ‘In fact, the PRT is part of the reason why WVU went from a student enrollment of approximately 10,000 in the late 1960s to nearly 30,000 today, according to Haven Sions, a mechanic supervisor who has been working on the system for 34 years. “In the pre-PRT days, we relied on shuttle buses to move students,” he recalls. “Because of traffic, the university had to schedule classes as much as two hours apart so the students wouldn’t be late.” Once the PRT was built, schedules tightened up considerably, making it possible to schedule more classes, which meant enrolling more students.

The Morgantown PRT began in 1975 as a transportation research project funded by the federal government and developed by Boeing. The project cost $120 million and relied on computer technology that can be described as primitive by today’s standards. However, virtually every aspect of the PRT was original when it was built. Consider the four-wheel steering system for each vehicle (the cars run on rubber tires), or the special heating system, powered by four boiler plants that pumps a mixture of chemicals and hot water through pipes to clear the guideway of snow and ice during the winter.’ http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/personal-rapid-transit-system-morgantown-west-virginia.html

Or is that the sort of thing that MR commenters would decry as a government boondoogle using federal funds for the benefit of a state that had a former KKK recruiter so successfully representing it in the Senate?

40 Jared P April 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm

While the composite score seems to be similar to the national aveage, West Virginian students underperform the national average on Math and Science (-9% and -3% respectively) and outperform on English and Reading (+6% and +2%). Given West Virginia has the smallest portion of residents that speak a language other than English at home (at 2.7%), the stronger performance on English and Reading is unsurprising.

If the goal is to assess the quality of education being delivered, I would suggest isolating Math/Science scores (to indirectly account for some heavy demographic influence on English proficiency scores) or directly controlling for these variables.

41 PD Shaw April 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

The goal is to assess the thickness of people’s bubble.

42 Travis Ormsby April 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

That is interesting, because according to this site: http://blog.prepscholar.com/average-sat-and-act-scores-by-stated-adjusted-for-participation-rate WV’s ACT scores, when normed for participation, are 44th out of 51, and they are dead last for SAT scores.

Demographically adjusted NAEP scores put WV second from the bottom http://educationnext.org/how-do-states-really-stack-up-on-the-2015-naep/), which is not consistent with the notion that they produce roughly average high school graduates.

43 PD Shaw April 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm

As pointed out in the linked comments, West Virginia’s participation rate on the ACT (67%) is almost identical, and actually higher than the national participation rate (64%). I don’t see how normalization for participation changes anything; besides mostly what that study does is reduce the range of state averages. Normalizing the ACT scores cuts the difference between Massachusetts and West Virginia almost in in half.

44 anon_prof April 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Given the size of the Black/White achievement gap, state by state comparisons are meaningless unless one normalizes for the racial composition of the state.

I don’t have ACT data broken down by race, but the NCES data on 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores illustrates the point. Take for example, grade 8 reading scores. The national average for blacks is 244 and for whites is 270. Black 8th graders do best in Massachusetts with a score of 253 and the worst in Wisconsin with a score of 231 (black students in WV come in at 241). White 8th graders range from 278 in Massachusetts to 256 in West Virginia.

Overall the national average is 261 (Massachusetts is the highest at 273 and DC is the lowest at 241). West Virginia is slightly below average at 255. In other words, the white students in WV do particularly poorly relative to white students elsewhere, but there aren’t many black students in the state to pull their overall average as low as say Mississippi (250).

45 Joe In Morgantown April 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm

The ACT reports by race and by state & race. http://www.act.org/content/act/en/research/condition-of-college-and-career-readiness-2016.html

Nationally, the black average is 17.0, Hispanic is 18.7, white is 22.2, Asian is 24.0.
Among WV kids, black average is 17.7, Hispanic is 20.0, white average is 20.8, Asian average is 24.5.

These suggest that WV schools in the most rural parts of the state are bad and those in the towns are above average nationally.

In WV the male:female ratio is 58:42, nationally it is 52:48. This goes some way to explaining WV’s under performance on math & science relative to English & reading as noted by Jared above.

Alas, I can’t anything in there on student SES.

46 Joe In Morgantown April 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Sorry female:male ratio is 58:42 and 52:48, no the other way around.

47 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Over 90% of the population is exurban, small town, and rural. The Census Bureau puts 55% in metropolitan commuter belts, but the vast majority of such people are living in morphologically rural areas.

48 Joe In Morgantown April 18, 2017 at 6:54 pm

The minorities tend to live in places like Charleston, Morgantown and the tip of the Eastern Panhandle.

That is to say, the places the Census calls metropolitan— they certainly aren’t what a West Virginian would call rural. I conjecture these places have better schools than the rest of the state.

49 Jan April 18, 2017 at 9:11 pm

How would you explain Randy Moss, a black man from Rand, WV?

50 rayward April 18, 2017 at 2:16 pm

I am less surprised that West Virginians are average than I am that Virginians are below average. Intelligence-wise. How many religious fundamentalists are there in Virginia? We expect to find snake handlers in West Virginia but one is more likely to find one in Virginia – because there are so many of them. Snake handlers, not snakes.

51 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

These kind of comments scream I grew up poor and haven’t gotten over it.

52 Whodathunk April 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Your kind of commenting screams of penis envy.

53 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Unlikely. I’m packing a full Inch, well above average according to my sources

54 Cucks 'n stuff April 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Really? We poled your ex wife and she said comparisons were frowned upon.

Pun intended.

55 Sam Haysom April 18, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Typical leftist Coward hurling Insults at the White working class.

56 The Rage April 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm

lol, you support the “white working class”? Typical hiding “Ashkenaz” eh Haysom. The white working class keeps on voting for globalists like Sheldon Adelson, you get what you deserve.

57 Thanatos Savehn April 18, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Isn’t this accounted for by SES? The kids who go to school near the refineries are a bit below the average while the River Oaks kids are well above it. Been that way since before the EEOC made the unions and thus the refineries open the apprenticeship/hiring process to minorities. Maybe the kids of men who aspire to little more than turning valves and monitoring gauges just aren’t that bright. No need to drag race into it when there are better explanations (like WV’s blue collar ethos).

58 Standardized Test Expert April 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Average SAT score, participation adjusted, ranked by state. Unfortunately, WV is last in the country.


59 Joe In Morgantown April 18, 2017 at 5:12 pm

It is implausible that the smartest kids in WV take the SAT, as that blog’s analysis supposes.

60 Educational Attainment Expert April 18, 2017 at 3:35 pm

According to Wikipedia, the only and best source on such things, WV is 42nd in the country in HS graduation. It is last in the country in share of 25+ year olds with bachelors degrees and last in graduate degrees as well.

**This is not adjusted to take into account the relatively low performing demographic group (you know what I mean) that makes up most of WV’s population.** The adjusted stats may be much better.

61 asdf April 18, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Scotts Irish have an average IQ around 95, which is pretty close but a little below the general white average. Does anything in this data differ from what you would expect given that.

62 chuck martel April 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm

Why don’t you prove that?

63 TMC April 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm

WV’s top ethnicity is German

64 Amigo April 18, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I had no idea that the ACT was administered to virtually all (100%) high school students in 17 states.


65 Jan April 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Yeah, it’s not true. Under 70% of WV graduates take the ACT in any given year.


66 Jan April 18, 2017 at 4:42 pm
67 Todd K April 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm

It states “graduates” not high school students.

68 Jan April 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm
69 Amigo April 18, 2017 at 8:44 pm

I looked up KY and they give it to all 11th graders, so I stopped short of saying all graduates as the link states. I possibly incorrectly suspect some non-graduate stats might be mixed in even though the original link says stats are for graduates.

“The ACT assessment is administered each spring to all Kentucky public school grade 11 students.”

70 asdf April 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm

BTW, thanks to Tyler for speaking nice of the deplorables.

71 The Rage April 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Interestingly, part of my Anglo-Saxon family history comes from Grafton, WV. My Grandparents could not wait to get out of the “shit hole” and moved to Ohio in the late 30’s. This is nothing new. WV has always been considered backyard mesh like Virginia, which is also a sewage center. Not the best Caucasian dna.

72 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

West Virginia’s population grew rapidly when it was a frontier zone (pre-1810). When the frontier moved westward, it grew more slowly than the national mean. When the frontier was finally closed (1890) it grew at the national mean for nearly five decades. It was only around 1937 that the population hit a plateau where (with some flux) it has stood ever since.

73 Jan April 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Have you read Hillbilly Elegy? It’s in large part focused on the migration of “trashy” but hardworking folks from the hollers of KY, WV and the the like to places like Ohio, Michigan, etc.

74 anon April 19, 2017 at 10:19 am

Like Virginia??

75 asdf April 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm

BTW, one thing I’ve noticed is that all of the problems in WV (and KY) are all located in the corner of the state. The part of WV up near NOVA is like a whole other world.

76 Dick the Butcher April 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm

WV up near NOVA is close enough to DC that (over-paid) Federal employees can commute and a number (with outlandish Federal pensions) retire there – low cost, yet close to DC.

Overall, WV is a relatively high-tax state and on track to insolvency.

A number of other US states have more favorable economic/tax aspects and proportionately fewer Obama-worshipping imbeciles.

Stay deplorable my friends.

77 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 6:06 pm

WV up near NOVA is close enough to DC that (over-paid) Federal employees can commute and a number (with outlandish Federal pensions) retire there – low cost, yet close to DC.

It’s over 70 miles from Martinsburg, Wv. to Arlington or Rockville, and you have the glorious NoVa commuter traffic to contend with as well (mean velocity from Alexandria to Fairfax at the wrong time of the day is 13 mph). I tend to doubt you’ve got many federal civil servants making that run 5 days a week. The West Virginia panhandle has about 260,000 people living in it, or < 15% of the state's total population. The big town therein is Martinsburg, which doesn't have 20,000 people in it.

78 mavery April 19, 2017 at 9:43 am

There aren’t a lot of folks that make the commute, but some do. Hell, some people commute to NoVA from Pennsylvania! People do crazy shit with their commutes. Makes no sense to me personally, but to each their own.

79 Jan April 18, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Underpaid for DC real estate prices, but overpaid for WV prices. I know a couple people (not federal workers) who live in WV and spend well over an hour and a lot of $ on the train fare commuting to DC daily. They love it, but i think it’s way too much time to be worth it. Also they don’t have young kids, so that is a factor.

80 Careless April 19, 2017 at 12:33 am

long single train commutes sound bad, but if you have to do work outside of the office, they can be pretty peaceful places to get your stuff done.

81 The Rage April 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Don’t forget the Jews moved into the old South starting in the late 1700’s as they were the planters biggest advocates and trade partners for slaves. Every wonder why down south, there are so many pointy noises………… and why the WASPs up north ‘heard the call’? I would love a national call for a total dna census. Lets all air it out.

WV sadly while not as badly invested, got invested by the Jews more than say Ohio or even Penn. On the plus side, the mostly ashkenaz dna mixture did provide some “smarts” but mongrelized personality which leads toward mental illness.

82 Dick the Butcher April 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Interesting, a few weeks ago a “Jeopardy question” was, “The first non-WASP US president.”

Additionally, you should be ashamed of yourself.

FYI – Who was Martin Van Buren?

83 Art Deco April 18, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I think he’s supposed to be a parody of asdf

84 Seth Green April 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Hello Tyler et al.,

So, looking over the data, I noticed a remarkably strong correlation between percent of population that takes the test and average score; so I wrote up some code to explore the relationship, which you can check out here

Basically score is absurdly well predicted by just knowing how many students in a state take the test. R^2 is 0.7119 in a univariate regression.

85 JWatts April 18, 2017 at 7:09 pm

Great Work!

86 Amigo April 18, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Yes, nice graphic.

87 Yancey Ward April 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

What I found interesting is that no state which had 100% of graduates tested made it over a 21 composite score- the highest for such a state was Colorado at 20.6.

Every state above a composite score of 23 had fewer than 40% of their graduates even taking the test, and every state above 22 had fewer than 60% taking it except for MN, OH, KS, and IA.

All in all, WV scoring 20.7 with only 67% taking the test doesn’t look all that bad.

88 Alvin April 18, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Another possibility – Bob Byrd was king of pork and helped funnel a lot of money to his home state to set up jobs there. Federal employees have at least basic, minimal intelligence in most cases.

89 Mark Thorson April 19, 2017 at 1:47 am

WV is an island of obesity surrounded by overweight but normal people.


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