At the Canon-McMillan School Board meeting Monday, administrators
discussed the 2012 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment data and the high school's 79 percent score in reading.
Though higher than the state’s average, it is below the PSSA’s target by 2 percent.
PSSA measures the Adequate Yearly Progress. It charts results and sets targets for the following years. The target for mathematics was 78 percent for the year, and the high school fell slightly short of that with 74 percent—but it was
within the state's parameters. The reading goal was 81 percent and the high school scored 79 percent—just under the acceptable parameters.
PSSA rates districts on attendance, graduation rate, performance and testing.
“It should be noted that the state reading average was even further below Canon-Mac’s achievement level, and the school is not really in the warning zone yet,” said Grace Lani, director of curriculum and instruction.
It was also noted that Wylandville's third-grade classes' assessment was above average in reading, scoring 95 percent. The target was set at 81 percent. More importantly, the elementary school scored 100 percent in the mathematics category, well above the acceptable parameters.
Wylandville was not the only school to exceed the recommended levels. Many of the elementary schools had exceeded the targets; Hills-Hendersonville also scored 100 percent in mathematics in its fourth-grade class. Muse, South Central, First Street, Cecil and Borland Manor all scored in the high 90s percentage-wise in mathematics, and had equally impressive reading scores— meeting and exceeding the target goal.
Only the high school reading scores rode the line, but still were above the state average.
Lani said, “There’s room for improvement in the PSSA reading scores.”
She accentuated the large number of successful scores to the school board, highlighting the perfect scores that Wylandville and Hills-Henderson received.
Lani discussed preparations for the Keystone Exams—end-of-course assessments designed to evaluate proficiency in academic content. The Keystone Exams are part of the No Child Left Behind Act. Beginning in 2017, students must demonstrate proficiency on the algebra 1, literature and biology Keystone Exams to graduate.
School Director Joseph Zupancic criticized the No Child Left Behind Act.
“The government is setting impossible standards to meet," he said. "They want 100 percent in the next three years. It's worse for under-privileged school districts. They are punishing schools that need the most help. They’re getting the short end of the stick.”
He added: “The public schools suffer the most. Only one cyber school qualifies [under the PSSA scores] and there are no negative repercussions for the ones that don’t.”