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Four Pa. schools miss AYP targets

July 20, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH and ROXANN MILLER | jenniferf@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Four schools in Franklin County experienced problems meeting targets in state standarized tests, according to preliminary data released recently.

Public-school officials across Pennsylvania recently received data about student performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, which are a primary component of determining whether schools made "adequate yearly progress," or AYP.

That measurement falls under the federal No Child Left Behind initiative.

Two schools in the Greencastle-Antrim School District could be on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's warning list. Both Waynesboro Area High School and Waynesboro Area Middle School could be in warning status because of missing two targets.

School officials can question or appeal their results before they are finalized and officially released to the public in late August.

Robert Crider, Greencastle's director of educational operations, said the preliminary report shows Greencastle-Antrim High School and Greencastle-Antrim Middle School failed to make AYP. While the school district as a whole met AYP, Greencastle-Antrim's high school and middle school fell short of reaching the benchmark on the PSSA tests in math.

"I'm frustrated because we have what we would consider and what has proven to be a solid school district with solid teachers and students (who) are showing growth in many, many areas," Crider said. "This indicator is from one test on just a couple days, and there are a number of different issues that can impact those scores."

According to information provided by the Waynesboro Area School District, its middle and high schools each missed a target. Waynesboro Area Senior High School did not reach proficiency in math, and Waynesboro Area Middle School students with individualized education plans, or IEPs, missed a reading target.

The PSSA tests are given in third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and 11th grades. The tests apply to a school as a whole, but also to subgroups such as economically disadvantaged students, IEP students, racial/ethnic categories and English-language learners.

The state required 67 percent of the students to be "proficient" or better in math to meet the AYP target for 2010-11. The benchmark was 72 percent for reading.

Waynesboro Area Senior High School's overall math performance was 59.5 percent and its reading was 69.8 percent. The middle school had 74.2 percent for math and 75.4 percent for reading.

Crider said preliminary numbers for math are 54.6 percent for Greencastle-Antrim High School. In the middle school, Crider said students achieved 82.9 percent in math, but the IEP subgroup's score was 54.7 percent.

Crider said the Greencastle-Antrim School District is working on a possible appeal for the middle school.

By 2014, the state requires 100 percent of students to be proficient in math and reading.

Tuscarora School District Superintendent Rebecca Erb said preliminary results from the education department show that the district and all of the schools in the district made AYP for 2010-11.

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