Going from bad to worse on the PSSA front

There is bad news and worse news when it comes to standardized education testing in Pennsylvania.

Scores are down, and they’re going to get worse.

That’s what I took out of last night’s ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ our weekly live-stream community affairs broadcast. My thanks to Dan McGarry, assistant superintendent in Upper Darby, and Larry Feinberg, a member of the Haverford School Board and leader of the Keystone Education Coalition, for joining us and offering their views on the four most-feared letters in education.

Those would be PSSA.

If you missed the show, you can watch the replay here.

Not many people know the numbers involving the controversial PSSA better than Feinberg. He remains convinced - and he presents a compelling argument - that we are going in the wrong direction, spending entirely too much time and money on testing that should be put toward early childhood education efforts.

McGarry carries some of the scars of a bruising battle in Upper Darby as the point man for a realignment plan that moved more resources toward dealing with the increased expectations of PSSA testing.

McGarry also noted how the testing works against big, diverse districts such as Upper Darby, where some schools can have as many as 40 subgroups.

Here’s why things are going to get worse: The thresholds to meet AYP go up each year. Next year the expectations are to have 89 percent of students tested proficient in math and 91 percent in reading.

Feinberg went so far as to say that in 2014 when all students are supposed to be proficient, instead he believes 100 percent of districts will instead fail.

The latest PSSA scores that were released last Friday showed eight of 15 school districts failed at least in some schools to hit their marks.

On Sunday we will take a closer look at schools where scores didn’t just go down, they went off a cliff.


Anonymous said…
My daughters school was one that made the grade. Widener Partnership Charter. Why, the teacher go beyond the call of duty to work with each child. When the children now 7 graders in the lower grades they went to Saturday School when they learned how to study and got a ex~ help. Today this has stayed with them and played an important part in there lifes. My daughter has been a straight A student since 5th grade thank to her teachers, school and parents who are sitting there when she does her homework. She isn't in her room watching T.V. but at the diningroom table where she has been for the past 8 yrs. I Believe the delco times should do a story on the schools that make the score. Maybe others will learn from them. Also why don't people stop on Chester Upland school district since most are no better. Delco needs to do as Delaware did go to busing worked there and will here.