Editorial: Students’ success measured many ways

York Dispatch, York Dispatch

Educators and students continue to navigate the world of standardized performance tests for subjects including math and English language arts.


Anecdotally speaking, most believe that we must ensure our children are leaving high school prepared for further training, whether in tech and vocational fields or in a four-year university.

We want our students to be avid, passionate learners who become workers who compete nationally and internationally. And the digital and technological advances over the past two decades have accelerated the necessity for students to be proficient in science, technology, engineering and math.

Truth is, many so-called heavy-lifting manufacturing jobs that have gone away have been replaced by high-tech machinery that now requires certified technicians and computer-science professionals to operate.

Today’s educators, such as the ones education reporter Alyssa Pressler spoke to for our Friday report on student and school performance measures, “As exams shift, students struggle,” are trying to navigate the rapidly shifting educational landscape.

This century’s employers demand a workforce that is highly trained and versatile.

Middle-schoolers across Pa. struggle with new exam standards

We believe the state Department of Education and York-area administrators are doing a good job of trying to understand how standardized testing and student proficiency affect overall school ratings, such as the School Performance Profile  scores given to each individual school in a district.

The school report cards rely on a number of factors but most heavily on standardized test scores. And in 2016, middle school students struggled statewide under new, more rigorous testing standards.

That meant middle school performance scores were affected, as well.

“Right now, it’s heavily reliant — and overly reliant — on standardized tests, and it should factor in more assessments and be weighted a little differently,” Department of Education spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman told us.

That’s why Gov. Tom Wolf has asked the Department of Education and administrators and others involved in student success to solicit feedback that can make the school performance report cards more representative of all factors that contribute to a student’s success.

We commend our educators and advocates who are working double-time to keep up with the ever-changing pace of technology to ensure our students can be competitive workers in a global market.

We also laud them for their hard work in an era when many students are transient and have other socioeconomic and family challenges that affect their ability to learn.

It’s not easy work, but it is necessary work. Our kids’ future success depends on it.