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District Makes PSSA Benchmarks, Some Schools Do Not

The Central Bucks School District overall did well on the latest state tests, but special education students at seven schools did not meet federal mandates for proficiency in reading or math.

 

Seven of the Central Bucks School District's 23 schools did not meet student benchmarks set under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The 2011-12 PSSA test results show that four of the district's 15 elementary schools, one of its five middle schools and two of its three high schools did not make Adequate Yearly Progress. The state released the test results on Friday.

Passed in 2001, No Child Left Behind required that all U.S. students score proficient or higher in reading or language arts and mathematics by 2014. In Pennsylvania, scores on the PSSA tests are used to determine proficiency.

Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, measures whether a school is making sufficient progress towards the goal of 100 percent proficiency, according to the state. Each year, the percentages of students who must meet that standard increases.

For a school to achieve AYP for 2011-12, 78 percent of its students had to test proficient or higher in math and 81 percent in reading.

An individual school is judged as not making AYP if any subgroup of students does not meet the proficiency standard. Students are broken down into nine subgroups, including economically disadvantaged, non-native English speakers, special education, and racial groups, such as white, black, Asian or Latino.

At all seven Central Bucks schools that did not make AYP for 2011-12, most students met the academic benchmarks but special education students did not.

Doyle Elementary, for example, hit 16 out of the 17 targets for attendance, test participation and academic performance. But only 51.25 percent of special education students scored proficient or above on the 2011-12 PSSA math tests, below the 78 percent target.

At Cold Spring Elementary, in Buckingham, the students overall tested at 94.2 percent proficient or advanced in reading and 95.4 percent in math. But only 64.3 percent of special education students tested proficient or better in reading and 59.5 percent in math.

The seven schools and the subgroups of students that did not make AYP this year are:

  • Barclay Elementary – special ed reading
  • Bridge Valley Elementary – special ed math
  • Central Bucks South High School– special ed reading and math
  • Central Bucks West High School – special ed reading
  • Cold Spring Elementary - special ed reading and math
  • Doyle Elementary – special ed math
  • Tamanend Middle School – special ed math

Click here to see the summary AYP results for all schools in Central Bucks. To see results for another school district, click that same link, then find the district in the drop down menu in the top left.

Schools that met all AYP measures last year but did not meet them this year are put on "Warning" status, according to the state. All seven Central Bucks schools that did not make AYP this year are on that status. They would have to meet AYP targets next year to be considered "on-track" to meet the federal goal of 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

And next year, the standards will be even tougher. For 2012-13, the goals increase to 89 percent of students proficient or higher in math and 91 percent in reading.

The Central Bucks School District overall made AYP for 2012, as it has every year since 2004.

Click here to see the state's compilation of 2011-12 PSSA data.

Click here for the 2011-12 "report card" on Central Bucks School District.

EJ September 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Central Bucks does an outstanding job across the board. It is the PSSA testing for Special needs that needs re-evaluating. There is NO stock test for special ed.EVERY CHILD LEARNS in a different way and at their own speed. You need to meet these children and see what they can accomplish and see the effort they put in. The teachers I meet and have met, worked with for my children, were outstanding. Tests represent a small fraction of a child's actual progress and effort. Congratulations to Central Bucks, Doyle, West, South, and others. Stay focused on our children not inadequate test systems like PSSA.
Sarah Larson (Editor) September 23, 2012 at 03:34 PM
@EJ, I'm going to follow up this week on the special ed testing aspect. I've been told that some special ed students have been allowed to take a modified PSSA in the past, but that next year, that will not be an option. I didn't know enough about that to put it in this story, but will find out more. Thanks for your comments. If you want to chat with me directly about your own experience, feel free to contact me at sarah.larson@patch.com or 267-772-7036.
lvnnbuckingham September 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Well said. This is a perfect example of how PSSA testing does not properly assess the educaton of all students.
Krby September 23, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Well said EJ. I know from experience that the special ed programs at CB are one of the bests around. Children who need these services are all so different that even modified tests do not depict accurate results. I also think that too much focus has been put on these tests as a whole. Teaching to the test has become normal which is a shame.

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