Ephrata board briefed on PSSA, AYP status Two district buildings fall short of target

By on October 3, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

With only two exceptions, Ephrata Area School District school students are performing well according to the latest Adequate Yearly Progress (or AYP) scores.

Likewise, recently reported Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (or PSSA) standardized test scores reflect good progress.

"When examining the PSSA proficiency levels in the Ephrata Area School District from 2011 to 2012 in the areas of Math and Reading, it can be seen that in most grades the proficiency levels are maintained or increased over time," commented assistant district superintendent Dr. Brian Troop.

The AYP’s are targets set up by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to evaluate results for attendance, PSSA participation and PSSA performance (in math and reading) of students, groups of students, individual school as well as overall performance in these areas by school districts.

Fulton Elementary School just missed its target by one point in reading among economically disadvantaged students. Similarly, Ephrata High School missed its target by one point in reading among all students, white students and the economically disadvantaged students.

"Fulton missed one of the reading targets due to the performance of a subgroup of students, while the High School missed the 2012 reading target of having 81 percent proficiency for its 11th graders," added Troop.

Results of the PSSA score seemed to be a mixed bag of results. In figures reported by Troop, data was provided tracking grade level performance for each year since 2008. This information tracked not only grade level but tracked the performance of individual graduating classes and show that some grades and classes would improve while others remained stable or dipped.

Those same results showed overall district growth in proficiency in both math and reading. For the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, the overall levels were at 56 percent and 63 percent respectively. However, in 2011, those levels jumped to 67 percent and 72 percent and improved even further in 2012 reporting 78 percent and 81 percent respectively.

"Some of these results identify areas where we can do better while others reinforce that we are on the right track with improvements," commented Troop. "This year, for example, we have reached several five-year highs in math and reading proficiency levels."

Troop commented on plans to ramp up performance at both Fulton and EHS.

"Each year we look at the student performance on the PSSA and combine that information with other data about our instructional programs in order to make improvements," said Troop. "This year will be no different."

Troop also commented on the overall meaning of the AYP and PSSA scores to EASD’s approach to effective education.

"While the PSSA is an important measuring stick on how well our students are learning, it is not the only one," explained Troop. "We believe it is important to examine the effectiveness of our instructional programs through multiple measures to get a more comprehensive view prior to making decisions. Insights gained through these PSSA results will enable teachers and administrators to continue to provide exemplary academic programs that inspire all students to reach their full potential."

For additional information on EASD visit easdpa.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More SCHOOL BOARD, page A16

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