Changes looming in Pa. school districts

April 01, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Changes pending at the state and local levels could eliminate graduation projects in the Waynesboro Area School District.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, governor and state legislators are considering eliminating the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment standardized exams for reading, math and writing. In their place would be Keystone Exams tailored to specific content areas.

That changeover could eliminate graduation project requirements, according to Evan Williams, assistant superintendent of the Waynesboro Area School District.

Waynesboro’s schools are facing other adjustments in anticipation of new state exams.

The school district might replace its 4Sight tests with ones in the Study Island program, Williams said. Both are tests used by teachers to determine how students meet benchmarks similar to the ones set forth by the state, he said.

With Study Island, teachers could expect faster feedback because of its computerized aspects.

“As soon as you enter the information, you can get a graded score for the student. ... It’s a fairly real-time event,” Williams said last week.

He expects discount packages offered for the Study Island tests would add little cost to the programs already purchased from the software provider. All together, the bill for the Waynesboro Area School District for 2012-13 could be about $17,500.

The price for 4Sight is increasing because the state no longer controls those costs, Williams said.

Grades three to eight will use Study Island for benchmark testing if the purchase is made in late April as expected, Williams said.

“We’ll have the option to do Study Island in the high school,” he said.

Study Island has the potential to share timely information with parents through a website login, Williams said.

Waynesboro school officials continue to follow developments at the state level regarding Keystone Exams, he said.

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