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MSPAP postings prompt concern

January 23, 2001

MSPAP postings prompt concern



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer


A Washington County School Board member is concerned that posting MSPAP scores in the front of every school could have a negative impact on future scores.

Board Vice President Bernadette Wagner said schools that perform lower than other schools are forced to look at the results every day, which could lower morale for staff and students.

It doesn't mean they're working less, Wagner said. "It hurts the community."

School officials at the state and local level have said posting the scores holds schools accountable for how they perform on the tests. Deputy Superintendent Theresa Flak said that while Washington County Public Schools are not required to post the results, it is standard practice throughout the state.

"It's not meant to be a report card, or meant to be a problem," Flak said. "The information is to see how your school stacks up."

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Wagner, on the other hand, thinks a constant reminder of the results could be detrimental to the attitude of a school that received low scores.

"School accountability is very important, but I question whether the information needs to be posted day in and day out," Wagner said.

She suggested that instead of posting a school's results and comparing them to other schools, each school should be compared to its own results from previous years. That way, students and staff at lower-performing schools won't feel like they're being ranked with the rest of the county.

Board member Paul Bailey said that the issue should be left up to the school system's School Improvement Team to decide.

Richard E. Gehrman, principal of Springfield Middle School, said he's never had any complaints from staff, students or parents about posting MSPAP results. He said he thinks posting the scores is a good idea. He also said the scores are printed in the school's newsletter.

"It's important that parents know how we're doing and that the kids know it," he said.

"I don't even look at it negatively," he said. "I look at it as, there's one area we can work on. I look at it from a positive viewpoint."

Joetta Palkovitz-Brown, principal of Old Forge Elementary, said she hasn't received any complaints about the results being posted, but she agreed with Wagner's comments. She said that Old Forge's results have been "pretty good."

"My only hope is that we would not be compared to other schools," she said. "We need to look at our own school and see if we are improving. That's the only part of the posting that people might have a concern about."

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