The Philadelphia Inquirer ( http://bit.ly/R9PceF) says its analysis indicates that all but two of the 53 city district schools and all three charters under investigation showed declines in reading and math. Seventeen district schools and two of the charters had passing rates at least 30 points lower than last year, the paper said.
Results were released Friday from the 2011-12 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests which determine whether students in third through eighth grade and 11th grade are performing at grade level. Officials said unprecedented security measures were put in place for the administration of the tests following the cheating allegations.
The paper said student performance on the tests got worse in the district, not better, for the first time in a decade. Fewer than half of all city public school students were reading on grade level, and only half could do math on grade level. Scores were down in every tested grade, with bigger drops in the lower grades.
The number of city schools that met state standards plummeted 68 percent, with just 33 of the district's 239 schools hitting their mark, down from 102 of 249 last year. And almost half of the schools that made "Adequate Yearly Progress" under the federal No Child Left Behind law are special-admissions schools able to select only academically talented students, the paper said.
The Philadelphia district's new superintendent, William R. Hite Jr., said "some of these results raise immediate alarm, obvious alarm. There have been such dramatic drops from one year to the next."
Former superintendent Arlene Ackerman said she was "saddened" to hear of the test-score drops. But she told the paper in an email that millions were invested in teachers, counselors and school support services during her tenure and much of that had been cut, so she wasn't surprised that student achievement had dropped.
The investigation into alleged cheating stems from a 2009 report. Of the 48 school districts and charter schools targeted initially, 30 were cleared of wrongdoing. Investigations of nine others have been closed or scaled back to monitoring by the state.
Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.philly.com