West Virginia House Bill 4566 (HB 4566), which will take effect on July 1, 2016, removes the “minimum of one day of appropriate in-service training . . .” As such, beginning on July 1, 2016, county boards of education will no longer be required to provide one day of appropriate in-service training to employees to assist them in preparing to take the competency test.

Other relevant guidelines to remember about competency testing are as follows:

  • The state board develops and makes available the competency tests for all of the classification titles;
  • The cafeteria manager class title is included in the same classification category as cooks and has the same competency test;
  • The executive secretary class title is included in the same classification category as secretaries and has the same competency test;
  • The classification titles of chief mechanic, mechanic and assistant mechanic are included in one classification title and have the same competency test;
  • Competency tests may not be used to evaluate employees who hold the classification title in the category of their employment;
  • Competency tests consist of an objective written or performance test, or both. Applicants may take the written test orally if requested. Oral tests are recorded mechanically and kept on file. The oral test is administered by persons who do not personally know the applicant;
  • The performance test for all classifications and categories other than bus operator is administered by an employee of the county board or an employee of a multicounty vocational school who serves the county at a location designated by the superintendent and approved by the board. The location may be a vocational school that serves the county;
  • A standard passing score is established by the state Department of Education for each test and is used by county boards;
  • Achieving a passing score conclusively demonstrates the qualification of an applicant for a classification title;
  • Once an employee passes the competency test of a classification title, the applicant is fully qualified to fill vacancies in that classification category of employment as provided in 18A-4-8b and may not be required to take the competency test again;
  • An applicant who fails to achieve a passing score is given other opportunities to pass the competency test when applying for another vacancy within the classification category;
  • Competency tests are administered to applicants in a uniform manner under uniform testing conditions. County boards are responsible for scheduling competency tests, notifying applicants of the date and time of the test. County boards may not use a competency test other than the test authorized by this section;
  • When scheduling of the competency test conflicts with the work schedule of a school employee who has applied for a vacancy, the employee is excused from work to take the competency test without loss of pay; and
  • Once an employee holds or has held a classification title in a category of employment, that employee is considered qualified for the classification title even though that employee no longer holds that classification.