Waynesboro school test results put district on warning list

September 11, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.con

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Waynesboro Area School District had mixed results from the latest round of statewide standardized testing, with the district overall failing to make “adequate yearly progress” as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Preliminary results are in for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests administered in the spring. The state will finalize the results later this month.

Based on evaluations like test scores and graduation rates, the education department determines whether each school and school district makes “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP. The measurements are tied to the federal No Child Left Behind initiative calling for all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Districtwide, Waynesboro did not meet AYP and is now on a warning list, Superintendent Sherian Diller told the school board Tuesday.

That failure to make AYP is because of graduation rates from a subgroup of 18 special needs students, Diller said. Six of them took five years to graduate from high school instead of four, she said.

School board member Billie Finn questioned the wisdom in having the district’s overall classification affected by the subgroup’s graduation rates.

“You don’t want to move people along (in grade levels) just to meet some arbitrary goal,” she said.

Some individual schools fared well. Waynesboro Area Middle School made AYP, as did Hooverville and Mowrey elementary schools.

Hooverville Elementary School’s math performance well exceeded the 2011-12 benchmarks, which sought to have 78 percent of test-takers ranked “proficient” or “advanced” in math classifications. Hooverville had 89.1 percent of its students reach those classifications in math.

Waynesboro Area Senior High School, which was on a warning list twice in five years, will now be placed into “school improvement I” status. It failed to meet both math and reading benchmarks, and had the problem with the graduation rates of special needs students.

“What that means is we need a comprehensive plan put together for the high school because we’re in ‘school improvement,’” Diller said.

The PSSAs were administered in grades 3 to 8 and 11.

The high school had 58.8 percent of its 11th-graders reach proficiency in math and 68.4 percent in reading. The benchmarks were 78 percent and 81 percent, respectively.

Fairview Elementary School is in “warning” status for its special needs students’ performance in math and reading. Summitview Elementary School will be under the same status for reading scores from its economically disadvantaged students.

The benchmarks change for this academic year to 91 percent proficient in reading and 89 percent proficient in math.

Assistant Superintendent Wendy Royer said district administrators remain unsure how the new Keystone Exams will affect PSSA scores. Those exams will be subject specific and administered to the 387 high school juniors in lieu of PSSA tests.

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