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Palmerton School District ranks high in state assessment

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

Palmerton Area School District continues to stack up well with its educational counterparts throughout the state.

The results of the 2009 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment were shared with members of the school board's Curriculum, Athletics, Personnel, and Policy Committee on Thursday.

Sherrie Fenner, director of curriculum and instruction, said the district's attendance rate was 95.23-percent, compared to the 90-percent target rate, and its graduation rate 96.85-percent, compared to the 80-percent target rate, to meet Adequate Yearly Progress.

Based on the results, Fenner said the overall percentage of students proficient and advanced in the district is higher than the state average in math, reading, science, and writing.

Fenner said the district's third and fourth-grade scores in reading and math were higher than the state average, its fifth-grade scores were identical with the state, and sixth grade scores slightly higher in reading and on par in math.

But, the district's seventh-grade scores in reading and math were lower than that of the state average. Its eighth-grade reading scores were slightly higher, while its math scores were lower. And, it's 11th-grade reading scores were slightly higher, but math scores lower.

The district's fifth and eighth-grade writing scores were higher than the states, while its 11th-grade scores were lower.

Also, the district's fourth and eighth-grade science scores were higher than the states, while its 11th-grade scores were lower.

"We knew we met AYP," Fenner said. "Overall, our scores went up higher than the state average."

In July, Superintendent Carol Boyce informed the school board that the district made AYP for the fourth straight year.

A part of the federal No Child Left Behind, AYP is an individual state's measure of yearly progress toward achieving state academic standards, or, the minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and schools must achieve each year.

In order to meet AYP, a school or district must meet three target areas: attendance or graduation rate depending on the level of the school; participation rate, and performance on the PSSA.

At least 63 percent of students must score proficient in reading, and 56 percent in math on PSSA standardized tests.

Schools are evaluated for test performance and test participation for all students. Each subgroup represented by 40 or more students in the school must meet the AYP targets.

District targets are assessed in grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. To meet AYP goals in academic performance or test participation, the district needs to achieve all targets for both subjects in one grade span only.

Also on Thursday, Fenner suggested that the committee should recommend an Honors World Culture reading selection for approval to the school board later this month.

Fenner said the material is for high school junior honor students.

However, Fenner cautioned that the material may not be suitable for all students.

"I would only recommend the book to honors level students," she said. "The content is for more mature readers."

Finally, Fenner announced that the district saved $37,998 through Erate during the 2008-09 school year.

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