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Canon-Mac School Board Discusses PSSA Scores, Director Blasts No Child Left Behind

During discussion, one board member criticized the standards set under No Child Left Behind.

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.”

cecil resident October 10, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Maybe the district should worry more about basic education stop trying to be creative and really teach math, reading, science, writing in the elementary school . The school spend more time worring about the food our kids eat and denying a child a lunch because the parents forgot to put money in their lunch account. I know of one incident personally in the intermediate school and one I was told in the high school. We don't let a prisoner go without a lunch maybe it is time go back to the education business and let the parents do the parenting. Since no child left behind is Presidents Bush's program like the president lets blame the past administration for our failure .
GetItDone October 10, 2012 at 05:28 PM
These tests are usually outrageous! I was a military wife & after retirement we decided to return to this area for a more solid education for our daughter. In VA these types of tests were called SOL's. I understand wanting to make sure that a districts teachers are teaching, BUT these tests leave little room for students to really learn. There is no room for the teachers to spend in areas that students may not understand or need more time learning. They now have to teach inside a box & no time to explore what's outside the box which may help them understand the subject better or more in depth. So basically what all these tests are doing is forcing teachers to teach an entire year for a test. THIS is not teaching our children! This is going to hurt our children in the long run. My time in VA school system with my child & the countless days & hours of volunteering, speaking with teachers & parents... None of them liked the testing in the manor it was set. It tied their hands on what & when they could teach. These will eventually fail our schools & our children. Makes me consider homeschooling or the online schools. All children learn at a different rate & way. Let our teachers teach our children & not fail them!
cecil resident October 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Getitdone you are right thinking back the teachers I remember where teachers that made their subjects interesting and you learn that subject because you could relate to the way she was teaching. These kids shouldn't be studying for these test they should be learning the whole year and at the end take the test. If the sudents did well then we would learn that those teachers where doing their job if they were below the national average then maybe that teacher should be teaching.

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