Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Pssa Test Scores Released with New Standards Put in Place for Exams, Fewer Students Are Scoring in Proficient Range

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State Pssa Test Scores Released with New Standards Put in Place for Exams, Fewer Students Are Scoring in Proficient Range

Article excerpt

With new academic standards in place and new tests reflecting them, many expected lower scores on state tests given in math and English language arts in spring 2015.

But the overall numbers from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests - coupled with school-by-school results released by the state Tuesday - paint a fuller picture of the difficult task ahead to move students toward the new standard.

Statewide in grades 3-8, 39.6 percent of students were proficient or advanced in math. In English language arts, it was 50 percent.

In 2014, 73.3 percent were proficient in math, and 69.3 percent in reading. The new test combines reading and writing.

The results released Tuesday also contained figures for historically underperforming groups - including special education, economically disadvantaged and English language learners. On average, the results were lower than the overall results. In math, 22.2 percent were proficient; in English language arts, 40.7 percent.

In Pittsburgh Public Schools, the percentage of students proficient or advanced in math, including special needs students taking the Pennsylvania Alternative System of Assessment tests, ranged from 18.2 percent in seventh grade to 36.6 percent in third grade.

In English language arts in Pittsburgh, the percentage ranged from 39.5 percent in seventh grade to 49.9 percent in third grade.

"These results do not mean our students are learning less," said Pittsburgh Superintendent Linda Lane. "The heightened difficulty and increased rigor of the PA Core has resulted in fewer students scoring proficient or advanced."

The 2015 PSSA was based on new standards, known as the Pennsylvania Core, which is the state's version of the Common Core State Standards. Many states have found significant drops in scores as the new standards were put into place. …

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