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Dallastown sees improvements in PSSA scores
Individual school's Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam scores were released Sept. 29, 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 students' scores improved or declined. Dallastown Area School District saw improvement in English language arts scores and math scores. All students in grades 3 through 8 take the tests. Districtwide scores were found by averaging together all schools in the district.
Dallastown Superintendent Ron Dyer said he was very proud of the strong team effort that went into raising scores on the exams.
"We are a large district, and I am very pleased to see the scores increase," Dyer said, adding that the new standards have been tricky to work with but the students are handling them well.
For the ELA exams, more students scored as advanced in 2016 compared with 2015, with 33.1 percent achieving this score in 2016 compared to 28.7 percent of students in 2015. There were 49.6 percent of students who scored as proficient on the exam in 2016, while 53.6 percent of students achieved that score in 2015.
There were 13.6 percent of students in the district who scored in the basic region of the exam scoring system, compared with 13.2 percent in 2015. Students who scored below basic were down in the district this past year: 3.7 percent of students were below basic in 2016, while 4.5 percent of students received that score in 2015.
Dallastown Area School District saw an even greater jump in students considered advanced in 2016 compared to 2015 on the math PSSA exam. In 2016, 32 percent of students were considered advanced, compared with 24.7 percent the previous year. In the district, 31.2 percent of students were considered proficient on the exam while 35.3 percent of students received that score in in 2015.
In 2016, 23.5 percent of students scored as basic on the math exam in 2016, while 26.2 percent achieved that score in 2015. Finally, 13.3 percent of students were considered below basic on the math exam in 2016, down from 13.8 percent in 2015.
Despite the bigger jump in students who scored as advanced on the math PSSA exams in 2016, Dyer said the district still has work to do with mathematics testing and will continue to focus the subject as students prepare for the PSSA exams in 2017.
Dyer pointed to Dallastown Elementary and Ore Valley Elementary, both of which had only third-graders take the PSSA exam and had some of the biggest jumps in scores on the math and ELA exams in the district. Dallastown has an intermediate school for grades 4 through 6.
In 2015, 34.8 percent of students in Dallastown Elementary scored as advanced on the ELA exam, but in 2016 that number jumped to 54.8 percent. The school had no students score below basic in 2016, compared with 2.2 percent in 2015. On the ELA PSSA exam this past year, 97.7 percent of students in the school were either proficient or advanced .
Likewise, on the math exam, Dallastown Elementary jumped from 34.8 percent of students scoring advanced in 2015 to 56.1 percent in 2016. Just like the ELA exam, none of the students in the school scored below basic in 2016, compared with 6.5 percent of students scoring below basic in 2015.
For Ore Valley Elementary, there also was a fairly large jump in scores on the ELA exam, with 22.6 percent of students scoring as advanced in 2015 compared with 37.2 percent this past year. On the math PSSA, students at the school jumped from 24.2 percent scoring as advanced in 2015 to 41.4 percent in 2016.
On the other hand, Leaders Heights Elementary School students decreased a bit in their ELA scores in 2016. In 2015, the school had zero students score as basic or below basic. All students were considered proficient or advanced in ELA in the school. In 2016, 2 percent of students scored below basic and 9.8 percent of students scored as basic. Overall, 21.6 percent of students were considered advanced, and 66.7 percent of students were considered proficient.
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.