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Philadelphia public school students improve PSSA scores

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

For the first time, more than half of Philadelphia public school students are proficient or better at reading and math. That’s according to preliminary results from this year’s Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam.

Math scores are up 4.4% from last year, and reading scores are up 3%. The results marks eight years of consistent improvement in school testing in the city, but they still leave nearly half of students at basic skill levels or below.

Elliot Weinbaum is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and Senior Researcher at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

Having only half of your students performing at a proficient level is, probably to all stakeholders involved, unacceptable.

Still, Weinbaum says few districts can boast even modest positive gains over such a long period of time.

Even with the improvement, Philadelphia Schools are not on track to meet proficiency by 2014 as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.


  • Peggy Marie Savage says:

    Good morning,
    Here’s the thing Shai – Ben many dedicated teachers and students didn’t get any information in June other than , “I think we made it.” Wow just think an entire year summed up in one long lasting statement. I find it interesting that so many folks want to weigh in when we as teachers haven’t seen the “results.’

    All of this information should be made public. Many of our students didn’t even get the parent reports at the end of the school year. They were sent late.
    Hey and since you are so interested as a stakeholder why don’t you investigate the interesting way the state “attributes” special education students to our schools and counts them in toward our AYP status. This is a very interesting practice especially since the students have never set foot in our building .

    If you are going to report about something have all the facts. When you get your information please e mail me about the results for the Richmond Elementary School in Port Richmond . I have a special stake in that school !

  • gwendolyn dorsey says:

    I think the pre-k students at the Frederick Douglass school will have an advantage come September. The students were engaged in learning. the program was right on, hats off to all who put such a wonderful program together. The parents express their liking also.Hope to work next year for the porogram.

  • Ed Stem says:

    The article leaves out that the 3rd grade reading scores declined.

    Given the hundreds of millions in spending Pennsylvania has focused on Early Childhood programs: Full Day K, PreK Counts AND Head Start, I expected a significant INCREASE in reading scores and math scores in third grade. Philly children have been in all these programs.

    The decline of these scores calls into question the lofty claims of the Governor, the PDE and the early childhood education mandate advocates that these interventions will yield stellar growth results.

    While there may indeed be some value, for some children, in providing taxpayer funded early childhood education, it is NO UNIVERSAL PANACEA to the challenges public education faces.

    Last summer Gov Rendell put out a big press release pointing to the fact that 50 PA school districts achieved improvements of 21.5% to 33.7% from 2002-2009. Over 50% of these schools are populated with large numbers of low income kids and are in economically struggling communities.

    Improvement is VERY possible when the $$ is used for effective interventions and the faculty is focused squarely on student academic achievement as the #1 goal. Higher spending does not assure academic achievement. Increases in sports and extracurricular spending does not improve student academic achievement. More administrators does not improve student achievement either. Far too many $$ are diverted from classrooms to other superfluous spending. Many of the districts that have the highest administration spending have lackluster student achievement.


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