Education

As PSSA scores improve, educators still work to improve results

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores were released earlier this month.

And the local trend is a similar one to the state as a whole.

The 2016 PSSA data indicates more students scored proficient or advanced than in the previous year, in almost all categories. Those statistics, however, didn’t take into consideration factors such as changing school population.

While Centre County schools also are primarily seeing growth — largely with those students who tested at the advanced levels — many school administrators said there is still room for improvement.

It is our intent to grow each student everyday through quality interactions with our teachers.

Bob O’Donnell, State College Area School District Superintendent

“It is our intent to grow each student every day through quality interactions with our teachers,” State College Area School District Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said. “As students grow in terms of skills and achievement, scores on items such as standardized tests will also improve as a result. Our expectation is that our teachers get to know their students as learners and deliver our curriculum on a daily basis through the use of effective instructional strategies.”

The standardized test scores also attribute to growth of Pennsylvania Value-added Assessment System — a ranking for individual schools based on test scores.

The growth measures, on a 50- to 100-point scale, were derived from state standardized test scores, which include the PSSA and Keystone exams.

A growth rate of 50, according to PDE, “indicates significant evidence that the achievement level of the group of students was not maintained.”

Only eight areas of testing at various schools in the State College Area School District were rated a 50 by PDE.

It included math scores at Easterly Parkway, Ferguson Township, Houserville and Lemont, Mount Nittany and Park Forest elementary schools; and science scores at Ferguson Township and Mount Nittany elementary schools and Park Forest Middle School.

Growth measured on a point scale from 50 to 100

A rate index of a 75 indicates at least one year’s worth of growth, and 100 indicates a significant level of growth, according to the PDE report.

State College Area schools rounded out the growth rates from a 53- to 100-point rating for the remainder of its testing areas at schools.

“Because our mission pertains to the future success of students, we also prioritize understanding results that directly relate to student access to future opportunities,” O’Donnell said. “When cross-referencing this information with our local assessment results, this information helps us to better align curriculum to our local priorities and our state’s standards.”

On the other hand, O’Donnell said he hopes the state would better release data that allows administrators to see the more specific testing items or tasks students struggled with.

The PSSAs

PSSA exams are administered in third to eighth grades in math and English language arts. Fourth- and eighth-grade students are also tested in science.

The test also reflects PA Core Standards defined by the state as a higher level of rigor.

There was an initial dip in scores when PA Core Standards rolled out in the 2014-15 school year, but data from PDE showed an increment of growth since.

We can see with the results and our improvement we have chosen the right curriculum and are moving in the right direction.

Jim Orichosky, Wingate Elementary School Principal

“We can see with the results and our improvement we have chosen the right curriculum and are moving in the right direction,” Wingate Elementary School Principal Jim Orichosky said.

The Bald Eagle Area School District, which Wingate Elementary is one of four elementary schools in, spurred extra training for teachers last school year.

Howard Elementary School teacher Amber Buchanan was one of the teachers in the district who was certified to train others on how to teach to the test in multiple areas.

BEA, overall, according to results from the state, improved in every area of testing.

That included numerous growth levels in the high 80 and 90 ratings, and at least one school that was rated a 100 in growth points for a portion of the exam that attributes to the schools’ PVAAS scores.

Tests results improved at BEA, but having access to quality early childhood education could attribute to improving results more

But one element is still missing at the district.

“One of the biggest things our test scores show is we need to really take serious the need for quality preschools in the area,” Orichosky said. “We have seen studies coming out of Penn State that show quality preschools and early intervention help test scores for elementary students.”

Cen-Clear Child Services offer preschool-type programs at schools in the district but who can join is limited.

Still, a trend among educators at BEA is to “provide well-rounded education,” Howard Elementary School Principal Skip Pighetti said.

It’s a similar theme at Penns Valley Area, which spokesman Nate Althouse said is to “improve learning, not test scores.”

If we can improve the effectiveness with which we teach our content, the natural byproduct should be improved test scores.

Nate Althouse, Penns Valley Area district spokesman

“We do try to ensure that the standards evaluated in the tests are covered in the classroom prior to our students taking the test, so the timing of when we teach each standard during the school year is important,” Althouse said. “We have also recently conducted a curriculum audit to ensure there is a congruence between the content being taught and the methods of delivery and evaluation in our classrooms. If we can improve the effectiveness with which we teach our content, the natural by-product should be improved test scores.”

Still, administrators said they believe test scores are not a full indication of a student’s success or failure.

“Education is much more than an assessment that provides only a snapshot on that particular day or week,” BEA Superintendent Jeff Miles said. “As a district, we strive to focus on the entire child ... to help them become not only successful individuals in the workforce, but also contributing citizens to our community.”

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

PSSA/KEYSTONE SCORES: BALD EAGLE AREA

2015

2016

HOWARD ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

36.4

35.3

% Proficient

36.4

35.3

% Basic

27.3

29.4

% Below basic

0.0

0.0

Math

% Advanced

27.3

52.9

% Proficient

36.4

29.4

% Basic

27.3

17.6

% Below basic

9.1

0.0

Science

% Advanced

45.5

52.9

% Proficient

36.4

41.2

% Basic

18.2

5.9

% Below basic

0.0

0.0

MOUNTAINTOP AREA ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

29.6

33.3

% Proficient

48.1

42.9

% Basic

22.2

23.8

% Below basic

0.0

0.0

Math

% Advanced

11.1

33.3

% Proficient

48.1

28.6

% Basic

37.0

38.1

% Below basic

3.7

0.0

Science

% Advanced

63.0

57.1

% Proficient

37.0

42.9

% Basic

0.0

0.0

% Below basic

0.0

0.0

PORT MATILDA ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

15.8

21.1

% Proficient

31.6

36.8

% Basic

42.1

31.6

% Below basic

10.5

10.5

Math

% Advanced

14.3

36.8

% Proficient

23.8

21.1

% Basic

42.9

36.8

% Below basic

19.0

5.3

Science

% Advanced

42.9

63.2

% Proficient

38.1

36.8

% Basic

14.3

0.0

% Below basic

4.8

0.0

WINGATE ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

7.4

7.5

% Proficient

44.4

31.3

% Basic

37.0

50.7

% Below basic

11.1

10.4

Math

% Advanced

20.4

24.2

% Proficient

25.9

25.8

% Basic

37.0

25.8

% Below basic

16.7

24.2

Science

% Advanced

40.7

34.8

% Proficient

42.6

40.9

% Basic

11.1

15.2

% Below basic

5.6

9.1

BALD EAGLE AREA JR/SR HIGH (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

12.9

22.3

% Proficient

48.5

33.9

% Basic

33.3

32.2

% Below basic

5.3

11.6

Math

% Advanced

2.3

10.7

% Proficient

26.3

23.1

% Basic

42.1

38.8

% Below basic

29.3

27.3

Science

% Advanced

27.3

27.3

% Proficient

34.1

33.1

% Basic

27.3

22.3

% Below basic

11.4

17.4

BALD EAGLE AREA JR/SR HIGH (GRADE 11)

Literature

% Advanced

8.4

9.7

% Proficient

71.76

77.6

% Basic

14.5

10.4

% Below basic

5.34

2.2

Algebra I

% Advanced

4.65

10.9

% Proficient

68.22

70.1

% Basic

19.38

14.6

% Below basic

7.75

4.4

Biology

% Advanced

7.69

17.6

% Proficient

63.85

60.3

% Basic

15.38

17.6

% Below basic

13.08

4.4

BELLEFONTE AREA

2015

2016

BELLEFONTE ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

18.2

21.3

% Proficient

37.9

36.1

% Basic

30.3

36.1

% Below basic

13.6

6.6

Math

% Advanced

24.6

21.3

% Proficient

30.8

39.3

% Basic

27.7

14.8

% Below basic

16.9

24.6

Science

% Advanced

53.8

37.7

% Proficient

27.7

42.6

% Basic

7.7

11.5

% Below basic

10.8

8.2

BENNER ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

39.4

33.3

% Proficient

36.4

39.6

% Basic

15.2

25.0

% Below basic

9.1

2.1

Math

% Advanced

36.4

33.3

% Proficient

42.4

47.9

% Basic

12.1

14.6

% Below basic

9.1

4.2

Science

% Advanced

69.7

62.5

% Proficient

21.2

31.3

% Basic

6.1

6.3

% Below basic

3.0

0.0

MARION-WALKER ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

25.4

32.6

% Proficient

41.3

51.2

% Basic

25.4

16.3

% Below basic

7.9

0.0

Math

% Advanced

22.2

46.5

% Proficient

25.4

39.5

% Basic

34.9

9.3

% Below basic

17.5

4.7

Science

% Advanced

50.8

55.8

% Proficient

38.1

39.5

% Basic

7.9

2.3

% Below basic

3.2

2.3

PLEASANT GAP ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

30.6

21.2

% Proficient

47.2

54.5

% Basic

13.9

21.2

% Below basic

8.3

3.0

Math

% Advanced

21.6

27.3

% Proficient

37.8

51.5

% Basic

27.0

15.2

% Below basic

13.5

6.1

Science

% Advanced

54.1

51.5

% Proficient

32.4

39.4

% Basic

2.7

3.0

% Below basic

10.8

6.1

BELLEFONTE AREA MIDDLE (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

21.9

18.6

% Proficient

47.3

41.0

% Basic

24.9

31.9

% Below basic

6.0

8.5

Math

% Advanced

8.5

8.0

% Proficient

28.9

26.6

% Basic

40.3

34.0

% Below basic

22.4

31.4

Science

% Advanced

36.2

24.6

% Proficient

36.7

40.1

% Basic

16.6

13.9

% Below basic

10.6

21.4

BELLEFONTE AREA HIGH (GRADE 11)

Literature

% Advanced

10.73

7.1

% Proficient

66.1

65.4

% Basic

19.77

23.1

% Below basic

3.39

4.4

Algebra I

% Advanced

21.35

18.0

% Proficient

51.12

47.8

% Basic

22.47

25.8

% Below basic

5.06

8.4

Biology

% Advanced

15.82

22.2

% Proficient

46.33

46.7

% Basic

29.38

22.2

% Below basic

8.47

8.9

CHARTER SCHOOLS

2015

2016

CENTRE LEARNING COMMUNITY CHARTER (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

4.2

33.3

% Proficient

37.5

42.9

% Basic

45.8

19

% Below basic

12.5

4.8

Math

% Advanced

12.5

9.5

% Proficient

25.0

28.6

% Basic

16.7

28.6

% Below basic

45.8

33.3

Science

% Advanced

33.3

38.1

% Proficient

29.2

33.3

% Basic

20.8

19

% Below basic

16.7

9.5

WONDERLAND CHARTER

(GRADE 3)

(GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

18.8

33.3

% Proficient

56.3

46.7

% Basic

18.8

13.3

% Below basic

6.3

6.7

Math

% Advanced

6.3

0.0

% Proficient

25.0

26.7

% Basic

37.5

26.7

% Below basic

31.3

46.7

Science

% Advanced

n/a

53.3

% Proficient

n/a

33.3

% Basic

n/a

13.3

% Below basic

n/a

0.0

YOUNG SCHOLARS OF CENTRAL PA CHARTER (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

13.2

43.2

% Proficient

42.1

21.6

% Basic

39.5

35.1

% Below basic

5.3

0.0

Math

% Advanced

15.8

27.8

% Proficient

28.9

41.7

% Basic

42.1

19.4

% Below basic

13.2

11.1

Science

% Advanced

52.6

61.1

% Proficient

42.1

27.8

% Basic

2.6

11.1

% Below basic

2.6

0.0

PENNS VALLEY AREA

2015

2016

CENTRE HALL-POTTER ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

12.1

22.2

% Proficient

42.4

51.1

% Basic

39.4

22.2

% Below basic

6.1

4.4

Math

% Advanced

18.2

31.1

% Proficient

39.4

26.7

% Basic

24.2

22.2

% Below basic

18.2

20

Science

% Advanced

48.5

57.8

% Proficient

45.5

35.6

% Basic

3.0

6.7

% Below basic

3.0

0

MILES TOWNSHIP ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

5.9

10.5

% Proficient

41.2

31.6

% Basic

29.4

31.6

% Below basic

23.5

26.3

Math

% Advanced

5.9

5.3

% Proficient

47.1

15.8

% Basic

11.8

36.8

% Below basic

35.3

42.1

Science

% Advanced

58.8

21.1

% Proficient

29.4

36.8

% Basic

11.8

21.1

% Below basic

0.0

21.1

PENNS VALLEY ELEMENTARY/INTERMEDIATE (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

45.2

25.5

% Proficient

31.0

37.3

% Basic

19.0

33.3

% Below basic

4.8

3.9

Math

% Advanced

42.9

27.5

% Proficient

31.0

35.3

% Basic

14.3

31.4

% Below basic

11.9

5.9

Science

% Advanced

71.4

56.9

% Proficient

16.7

43.1

% Basic

0.0

0.0

% Below basic

11.9

0.0

PENNS VALLEY AREA JR/SR HIGH (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

11.1

26.5

% Proficient

43.6

35.7

% Basic

35.9

32.7

% Below basic

9.4

5.1

Math

% Advanced

5.2

15.5

% Proficient

21.6

24.7

% Basic

37.1

33.0

% Below basic

36.2

26.8

Science

% Advanced

28.4

27.8

% Proficient

35.3

34.0

% Basic

21.6

23.7

% Below basic

14.7

14.4

PENNS VALLEY AREA JR/SR HIGH (GRADE 11)

Literature

% Advanced

7.95

24.1

% Proficient

84.09

62.1

% Basic

6.82

10.3

% Below basic

1.14

3.4

Algebra I

% Advanced

20.93

32.8

% Proficient

59.3

48.3

% Basic

17.44

12.9

% Below basic

2.33

6.0

Biology

% Advanced

38.37

42.2

% Proficient

34.88

36.2

% Basic

17.44

14.7

% Below basic

9.3

6.9

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA AREA

2015

2016

OSCEOLA MILLS ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

19.5

35.0

% Proficient

39.0

30.0

% Basic

26.8

26.7

% Below basic

14.6

8.3

Math

% Advanced

22.0

38.3

% Proficient

36.6

21.7

% Basic

19.5

21.7

% Below basic

22.0

18.3

Science

% Advanced

39.0

46.7

% Proficient

43.9

38.3

% Basic

12.2

8.3

% Below basic

4.9

6.7

PHILIPSBURG ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

15.4

23.2

% Proficient

33.8

39.0

% Basic

40.0

34.1

% Below basic

10.8

3.7

Math

% Advanced

16.9

20.7

% Proficient

27.7

34.1

% Basic

38.5

26.8

% Below basic

16.9

18.3

Science

% Advanced

30.8

39.0

% Proficient

47.7

40.2

% Basic

18.5

14.6

% Below basic

3.1

6.1

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA MIDDLE (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

1.6

5.9

% Proficient

22.5

39.8

% Basic

58.9

39.8

% Below basic

17.1

14.4

Math

% Advanced

1.6

6.7

% Proficient

13.2

14.3

% Basic

41.9

31.1

% Below basic

43.4

47.9

Science

% Advanced

19.4

20.2

% Proficient

34.1

35.3

% Basic

20.9

22.7

% Below basic

25.6

21.8

PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA HIGH (GRADE 11)

Literature

% Advanced

3.39

9.3

% Proficient

68.64

68.6

% Basic

17.8

12.8

% Below basic

10.17

9.3

Algebra I

% Advanced

5.04

9.2

% Proficient

58.82

58.6

% Basic

29.41

27.6

% Below basic

6.72

4.6

Biology

% Advanced

28.57

39.5

% Proficient

36.97

31.4

% Basic

20.17

20.9

% Below basic

14.29

8.1

STATE COLLEGE AREA

2015

2016

CORL STREET ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

42.9

55.3

% Proficient

42.9

26.3

% Basic

11.4

13.2

% Below basic

2.9

5.3

Math

% Advanced

42.9

55.3

% Proficient

28.6

31.6

% Basic

25.7

5.3

% Below basic

2.9

7.9

Science

% Advanced

65.7

63.2

% Proficient

25.7

28.9

% Basic

8.6

2.6

% Below basic

0.0

5.3

EASTERLY PARKWAY ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

35.7

38.5

% Proficient

35.7

33.3

% Basic

25.0

25.6

% Below basic

3.6

2.6

Math

% Advanced

29.8

28.2

% Proficient

24.6

17.9

% Basic

28.1

35.9

% Below basic

17.5

17.9

Science

% Advanced

44.8

35.9

% Proficient

36.2

51.3

% Basic

13.8

7.7

% Below basic

5.2

5.1

FERGUSON TOWNSHIP ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

36.5

56.6

% Proficient

44.6

28.3

% Basic

14.9

11.3

% Below basic

4.1

3.8

Math

% Advanced

28.4

56.6

% Proficient

37.8

15.1

% Basic

17.6

18.9

% Below basic

16.2

9.4

Science

% Advanced

63.5

64.2

% Proficient

32.4

24.5

% Basic

4.1

3.8

% Below basic

0.0

7.5

GRAY’S WOODS ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

42.2

40.7

% Proficient

43.8

39.0

% Basic

9.4

16.9

% Below basic

4.7

3.4

Math

% Advanced

39.1

42.4

% Proficient

39.1

32.2

% Basic

18.8

16.9

% Below basic

3.1

8.5

Science

% Advanced

68.8

62.7

% Proficient

26.6

28.8

% Basic

3.1

3.4

% Below basic

1.6

5.1

HOUSERVILLE/LEMONT \ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

31.3

42.2

% Proficient

44.8

26.7

% Basic

19.4

28.9

% Below basic

4.5

2.2

Math

% Advanced

37.3

28.9

% Proficient

31.3

37.8

% Basic

22.4

17.8

% Below basic

9.0

15.6

Science

% Advanced

68.7

51.1

% Proficient

19.4

37.8

% Basic

9.0

6.7

% Below basic

3.0

4.4

MOUNT NITTANY ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

32.8

45.1

% Proficient

42.6

33.3

% Basic

16.4

21.6

% Below basic

8.2

0.0

Math

% Advanced

21.3

15.7

% Proficient

29.5

33.3

% Basic

32.8

39.2

% Below basic

16.4

11.8

Science

% Advanced

49.2

45.1

% Proficient

32.8

45.1

% Basic

11.5

5.9

% Below basic

6.6

3.9

PARK FOREST ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

37.9

40.3

% Proficient

43.9

31.3

% Basic

13.6

26.9

% Below basic

4.5

1.5

Math

% Advanced

30.3

16.4

% Proficient

34.8

43.3

% Basic

25.8

25.4

% Below basic

9.1

14.9

Science

% Advanced

61.8

49.3

% Proficient

23.5

32.8

% Basic

8.8

13.4

% Below basic

5.9

4.5

RADIO PARK ELEMENTARY (GRADE 4)

English language arts

% Advanced

35.6

52.7

% Proficient

52.5

30.9

% Basic

10.2

14.5

% Below basic

1.7

1.8

Math

% Advanced

55.0

47.4

% Proficient

33.3

24.6

% Basic

3.3

21.1

% Below basic

8.3

7.0

Science

% Advanced

73.0

66.7

% Proficient

22.2

28.1

% Basic

4.8

3.5

% Below basic

0.0

1.8

MOUNT NITTANY MIDDLE (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

27.9

29.9

% Proficient

46.6

49.1

% Basic

20.1

17.9

% Below basic

5.5

3.1

Math

% Advanced

15.9

23.1

% Proficient

34.1

24.0

% Basic

26.8

28.0

% Below basic

23.2

24.9

Science

% Advanced

40.5

39.7

% Proficient

30.9

34.4

% Basic

15.9

14.7

% Below basic

12.7

11.2

PARK FOREST MIDDLE (GRADE 8)

English language arts

% Advanced

19.6

21.7

% Proficient

54.2

48.2

% Basic

22.2

24.1

% Below basic

4.0

6.0

Math

% Advanced

20.5

27.5

% Proficient

31.1

30.3

% Basic

32.6

20.3

% Below basic

15.8

21.9

Science

% Advanced

40.2

34.0

% Proficient

36.2

36.8

% Basic

13.8

12.4

% Below basic

9.8

16.8

STATE COLLEGE AREA HIGH (GRADE 11)

Literature

% Advanced

14.57

22.1

% Proficient

69.29

65.7

% Basic

12.8

10.0

% Below basic

3.35

2.2

Algebra I

% Advanced

45.28

54.3

% Proficient

39.88

32.7

% Basic

11.95

10.0

% Below basic

2.89

2.9

Biology

% Advanced

45.24

55.6

% Proficient

37.28

34.1

% Basic

12.43

6.3

% Below basic

5.05

3.9

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