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York Suburban has highest PSSAs in county
York Suburban schools achieved the highest scores in the county on the most recent battery of state tests.
Individual schools' Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam scores were released recently, and for the second year in a row schools were subjected to the more rigorous common-core standards that were enacted during the May 2015 tests.
Schools across the county varied on whether their student's scores improved or declined. The York Suburban School District saw more students score as advanced on the math PSSA, but English Language Arts scores declined slightly. The schools' scores did not differ drastically from the previous year, though, and all of the district's scores were still among the highest in the county.
"We feel really good about our achievement," said Assistant Superintendent Patricia Maloney. "We had very high achievement last year as well. We know how hard our students and teachers work. It's a community effort."
For the math PSSA exam, the district had approximately 38 percent of its students score as advanced in the subject, up a few percentage points from 35.6 percent on the 2014-15 PSSA math exam. The district had fewer students score as proficient or basic on the exam than in 2015: 31.2 percent of students were considered proficient on the 2016 exam, compared to 34.5 percent on the previous year's exam.
There were 18.7 percent of students scoring as basic on the math exam in 2016, which was down from 21.8 percent in 2015. Finally, more students scored below basic on the math exam in 2016, falling at 12.1 percent of students, while only 8.2 percent of students scored below basic on the exam in 2015.
For ELA, PSSA scores declined slightly for students who scored as advanced or proficient on the exam in 2015. In 2016, 35.8 percent of students were considered advanced in ELA compared to 38.2 percent the year before. Students who scored as proficient only declined slightly: 44.4 percent of students achieved that score in 2016 compared to 44.5 percent in 2015.
More students scored as basic on the ELA exam in York Suburban School District in 2016, with 16.6 percent of students achieving that score, while only 14.1 percent of students achieved the same score on the 2015 exam. Only 3.3 percent of students scored below basic in 2016, just a slight increase from the 3.2 percent who received the same score the year before.
Because the district did so well the first year the new standards were applied, it's not surprising to see some slight declines, Maloney said. She also said that the district is working to close its achievement gap, for which the high school recently was named a National Blue Ribbon School. The award is given to select schools by the Department of Education for their academic excellence or work in closing achievement gaps.
Indian Rock Elementary had more students score as advanced on the math and ELA exams in 2016 than East York Elementary. The district's middle school achieved similar scores on the ELA test from 2015 to 2016. On the math exam, the middle school had a few more students score as advanced in the subject — 32.4 percent in 2016 compared to 27.3 percent in 2015 — but also had more students score below basic — 15.6 percent of students in 2016 compared to 10.6 percent of students in 2015.
The district hopes to continue to align curriculum with the new PSSA core standards in order to see more high scores on the May 2017 tests. Maloney also explained that the scores are just a single measure, and a single snapshot in time, of how Suburban's students are doing academically, so the district will continue to look at other measures of student achievement.
Information for each of the schools at each grade level and for each subject can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website. Information on scores from previous school years can be found there as well.