Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pssa Results Come Up Short Warning Labels Take Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park by Surprise

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pssa Results Come Up Short Warning Labels Take Mt. Lebanon, Bethel Park by Surprise

Article excerpt

Two school districts in the southern suburbs are pointing to positives after disappointing state test score results: Mt. Lebanon for its high school, which failed to make adequate yearly progress, and Bethel Park for the district as a whole, which missed the mark on graduation rates and high school math scores.

The preliminary PSSA results first released to school districts this summer show Mt. Lebanon met graduation and reading targets districtwide. But it fell short in math at the high school because of low scores among its special education students.

The official results will be released at the end of September.

Of the 44 special education students in 11th grade last year, 19 did not make adequate progress in math; as a group, their proficiency rate in that subject was 56.8 percent.

Superintendent Tim Steinhauer noted that because 40 or more students comprise this "subgroup" their scores are considered separately. If there were only 39 students in this group, he said, their results would be folded in with the rest of the students.

The high school recorded 92.8 percent proficiency overall in reading and 88.1 percent in math--above the state targets of 81 and 78, respectively. The nine other schools in the district made adequate progress.

School officials were clearly upset by the "warning" label now attached to the high school in a district that remains among the top 5 percent in achievement in the state.

The designation does not include penalties but means the school fell short of adequate progress targets and has another year to achieve them. No Child Left Behind legislation calls for state government oversight and possible control of districts that don't reach 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

At the Monday night school board discussion meeting -- where Ron Davis, secondary education assistant superintendent, explained the preliminary results -- school board President Josephine Posti had harsh words for the 2002 No Child law. …

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