Newsroom PSSA, AYP DATA SHOW PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT by ypm71213

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									Newsroom: PSSA, AYP DATA SHOW PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT CONTINUES TO RISE


PDE Newsroom
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
August 29, 2007       Department of Education
                      Commonwealth News Bureau
                      Room 308, Main Capitol Building
                      Harrisburg, PA 17120

                                       CONTACT: Michael Race (PDE)
                                               (717) 783-9802




        PSSA, AYP DATA SHOW PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
                           CONTINUES TO RISE
          Continued Improvement, New Investments Needed to Increase Achievement

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s schools are continuing to make progress toward
ensuring that every child receives the high-quality education they deserve, Education
Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak said today.

The results of the 2007 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment show student
achievement in Pennsylvania continues to rise. Statewide, students not only met this
year’s proficiency goals, but in most grades already have met next year’s higher goals
as Pennsylvania moves closer towards the 2014 mandate of 100 percent of students on
grade level in reading and math.

On the three tests that have been given the longest - grades 5, 8 and 11 - Pennsylvania
students are doing better today in both reading and math at all grade levels than in
2002, including double-digit gains in 5th grade math, 8th grade reading and 8th grade
math. African-American students, Latino students, low-income students and students
with special education needs all have made strong progress during that period.

Despite an increase in the number of grades and performance targets for which schools
and districts are held accountable, more than nine out of 10 school districts made
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2007. In addition, 77 percent of schools met all of
their AYP targets this year.

 “The student progress we have seen is due in no small part to the aggressive, forward-
thinking education initiatives pursued by Governor Edward G. Rendell,” Secretary
Zahorchak said. “Still, we have much work left to do and our investments in education
must remain strong.”

No Child Left Behind requires Pennsylvania to evaluate all public schools and districts
annually for AYP based on the results of the PSSA and other factors, including test
participation, attendance and graduation. In all, 92 percent of Pennsylvania’s school
districts (460 out of 501) and 77.5 percent of its schools (2,404 in all) made AYP or
were classified as “making progress” in 2006-07.

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Newsroom: PSSA, AYP DATA SHOW PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT CONTINUES TO RISE



This year, 69.2 percent of Pennsylvania’s students were on grade level (proficient or
advanced) in math. In reading, students on grade level reached 67.7 percent.

“The future success of our commonwealth is directly linked to the current success of our
students,” Zahorchak said. “Governor Rendell recognizes that if Pennsylvania intends to
compete in the new global economy, our students must rise to the challenge of being
among the best educated in the world.”

No Child Left Behind requires states to set gradually increasing proficiency levels in
order to reach 100 percent student proficiency by 2014. Pennsylvania’s 2007 target for
math proficiency was 45 percent, while its goal for reading proficiency was 54 percent.
All grades tested surpassed both proficiency goals.

Overall, since 2002, achievement levels have risen across all grade levels, subjects and
demographic groups:

• 71 percent of all 5th grade students were above proficient in math, up from 53.1
percent in 2001-02.
• 59.9 percent of all 5th grade students were above proficient in reading, up from 57.0
percent in 2001-02.
• 67.9 percent of all 8th grade students were above proficient in math, up from 51.7
percent in 2001-02.
• 75.0 percent of all 8th grade students were above proficient in reading, up from 58.8
percent in 2001-02.
• 53.7 percent of all 11th grade students were above proficient in math, up from 49.6
percent in 2001-02.
• 65.4 percent of all 11th grade students were above proficient in reading, up from 59.0
percent in 2001-02.

In addition, all children across all subgroups showed gains. Subgroups are based upon
race or ethnicity, special education needs, limited English proficiency and economically
disadvantaged status. Greater proficiency in subgroups has led to 22,000 more African-
American and Latino students achieving grade level in math and 19,500 more African-
American and Latino students achieving grade level in reading in 2007 compared to
2002 in 5th, 8th and 11th grades.

The achievement gap between student subgroups also has been narrowing since 2002
as the overall performance of subgroups has improved. For example:

• The gap between white and African-American students has closed by 10.2 percentage
points for 5th grade math;
• The gap between white and Latino students has closed by 8.5 percentage points for
8th grade math; and
• The gap between economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged
students has closed by 8.6 percentage points for 8th grade reading.

Secretary Zahorchak said the array of educational initiatives advocated by Governor

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Newsroom: PSSA, AYP DATA SHOW PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT CONTINUES TO RISE

Rendell will help keep Pennsylvania’s school children on a path to academic success.

“This year’s scores confirm that we are reaching higher levels of student achievement in
Pennsylvania, but continued investments in programs that are proven to boost student
achievement are essential as we work towards 100 percent proficiency,” the secretary
said. “Though we are showing progress, more than 2,000 Pennsylvania schools still
need to increase student achievement to meet next year’s higher proficiency targets.

“Pennsylvania must accelerate its progress to meet these higher performance targets
and guarantee that all students graduate prepared for college and high-skill careers,”
the secretary added, noting Governor Rendell has made a more rigorous educational
culture a key part of his effort to prepare our workforce for the challenges of the 21st
Century.

Secretary Zahorchak cited innovative efforts, such as the Project 720 high school
reform initiative that ensures all students have access to college-prep courses in core
subject areas, additional advanced placement courses and smaller learning
environments for better one-on-one, teacher-to-student interaction.

Governor Rendell also has advocated a more rigorous science, technology and math
curriculum through efforts such as Classrooms for the Future, which provides high
school classrooms with laptops and other high-tech learning equipment to bring
Pennsylvania’s classrooms into the 21st Century, and Science: It’s Elementary, which
already has provided 37,000 students in grades K-8 with improved science instruction,
stronger science curriculum and hands-on work that is engaging and fun.

These results-oriented initiatives will continue to be funded in the coming school year,
along with the launch of the $75 million Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts early childhood
education program.

Since Governor Rendell took office, he has increased the state’s pre-K-12 resources by
$2.4 billion. Pennsylvania’s total new investment in pre-K–12 education for the 2007-08
school year alone is $558 million.

Zahorchak said comparing the 2006-07 AYP to previous years is difficult because the
addition of grades 4, 6 and 7 has dramatically increased the number of measurable
subgroups used for determining AYP. On average, there was a three-fold increase in the
number of measurable subgroups from 2006 to 2007. In 2006, for example, 443
schools had three or more measurable subgroups for math. In 2007, that number grew
to 1,224 schools.

“The addition of more subgroups means schools must meet more targets to achieve
AYP,” Zahorchak said. “Simply put, our schools now face a higher hurdle for making AYP
than they have in years past. While this is a challenge for our schools, the addition of
more subgroups is good for our students.

“When we examine these results by subgroups, it enables us to focus our attention and
direct more resources towards children who might be struggling and in need of


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Newsroom: PSSA, AYP DATA SHOW PENNSYLVANIA STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT CONTINUES TO RISE

additional help, rather than run the risk of overlooking these students and having them
fall further behind,” he said.
Information on this year’s PSSA and AYP results, including results for districts and
schools, can be found at www.paayp.com.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s education initiatives, please visit the
Department of Education Web site at www.pde.state.pa.us.

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Content Last Modified on 8/29/2007 9:28:51 AM




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