CASD Analyzes PSSA Results

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area School District Board of Directors analyzed its data from the 2011-12 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams Monday night after hearing a detailed presentation from Director of Curriculum Bruce Nicolls.

Nicolls said the district missed Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and has been categorized in District Improvement for not making the state’s graduation rate target. He said its graduation target was 82.5 percent this year, and the 2011 graduating class had a 78.4 percent rating. In addition, it failed to meet that for the economically disadvantaged student subgroup at 63.37 percent.

Nicolls said that Bradford Township, Girard-Goshen and Clearfield Elementary Schools made AYP. He said that Centre Elementary missed AYP in reading and has been placed on the “Warning” list. If the school doesn’t make AYP next year, he said it will move into “School Improvement.”

He said that the Clearfield Area Middle School and the Clearfield Area High School missed their AYP targets. He said the CMS missed math targets for the economically disadvantaged student subgroup and is in “School Improvement I.” CHS missed AYP targets for math and graduation rate and is now in “Corrective Action 2” for the second year.

In 2012, Nicolls said the PSSA bar rose considerably for the percentage of students who must be scoring proficient or higher in both reading and math. Reading targets went up from 72 percent to 81 percent and math from 67 percent to 78 percent. He said in 2013, the PSSA reading proficiency target will be 91 percent and the math 89 percent. Both will be 100 percent in 2014.

The following district-wide, individual grade level and school results were obtained from the Clearfield Area School District’s report card through the state’s Department of Education Web site.

District-wide Results

Overall, the district assessed 1,218 students in grades three through eight and eleven in math. Of those, 74 percent scored proficient and above, while the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 67 percent.

In reading, the district assessed 1,217 students in the same grade levels. Of those, 69 percent scored proficient and above, while the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 60 percent.

District Proficiency by Grade

In third grade math, 88 percent of students scored proficient or above; this mark is 8 percent better than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 82 percent proficient or above, which was 16 percent better than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

In third grade reading, 71 percent of students scored proficient or above. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 63 percent proficient or above, a 9 percent setback from last year’s test results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area.

In fourth grade math, 89 percent of students scored proficient or above. This mark was 7 percent higher than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area as well as a 5 percent increase from last year.

The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 84 percent proficient or above. This was 14 percent better than the statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area and a 7 percent increase over last year.

In fourth grade reading, 73 percent of students scored proficient or above, a 7 percent increase from last year. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 64 percent proficient or above, which was an 11 percent increase from last year’s results and the same percentage above the statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area.

In fifth grade math, 72 percent of students scored proficient or above. It was an 8 percent setback from last year. The economically disadvantaged students scored 61 percent proficient or above, which was a 12 percent setback from last year’s results.

In fifth grade reading, 59 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was 6 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 44 percent proficient or above, which was a 6 percent setback from last year’s results.

“Grades three and four were very strong in math,” said Nicolls. In reading, they’re right around 70 to 75 percent; their targets keep going up and I think we’ll see that again in the spring.”

In sixth grade math, 78 percent of students scored proficient or above. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 67 percent proficient or above. This mark was a 7 percent increase from last year’s results for this subgroup and 5 percent above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

In sixth grade reading, 60 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was 8 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 48 percent proficient or above.

In seventh grade math, 74 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was 6 percent below the statewide results for this grade level ad subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient or above, which was 5 percent below the statewide results for this subgroup at this grade level and subject area.

In seventh grade reading, 71 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was a 9 percent increase from last year but still 5 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 59 percent proficient or above, a 7 percent increase from last year.

In eighth grade math, 70 percent of students scored proficient or above. This mark was 6 percent below both the statewide results for this year as well as last year’s results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient, which was a 13 percent setback over last year.

In eighth grade reading, 72 percent of students scored proficient or above, a 10 percent setback from last year. In addition, it’s 7 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient or above, a 17 percent setback from last year.

In eleventh grade math, 56 percent of students scored proficient or above, a slight increase of 2 percent over last year’s results. The statewide results were 59 percent proficient or above for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 53 percent proficient or above, which was 13 percent better than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

In eleventh grade reading, 76 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was a 15 percent increase over last year’s results. It was also 9 percent better than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 69 percent proficient or above, which was a 25 percent increase over last year and 21 percent above this year’s statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

District Proficiency by Building

Bradford Township

In grades three and four at Bradford Township, 94 percent of students scored proficient or above in math. However, only 70 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading.

Further, grade three students scored 93 percent proficient or above in math, which was 13 percent better than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. In reading, grade three students scored 67 percent proficient or above, which was 7 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

In grade four, students scored 93 percent proficient or above in math, which was a 12 percent increase from last year and 11 percent above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area this year. In reading, students scored 72 percent proficient or above, a 7 percent increase from last year.

Girard-Goshen

In grades three and four at Girard-Goshen, 96 percent of students scored proficient or above in math. However, only 69 percent of students scored proficient or above in reading.

In third grade math, students scored 92 percent proficient or above, which was 12 percent above last year’s results and this year’s statewide results for this grade level and subject area. In reading, students scored 85 percent proficient or above, which was 11 percent above the statewide results.

In fourth grade math, students scored 100 percent proficient or above. This mark was 18 percent better than the statewide results and 15 percent better than last year’s results for this grade level and subject area. In reading, students only scored 57 percent proficient, a 28 percent setback from last year and 15 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

Clearfield Elementary

In grades three and four at Clearfield Elementary, 86 percent of students scored proficient or above in math. In reading, 75 percent of students scored proficient or above. Overall, the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 78 percent proficient or above in math and 61 percent in reading.

In third grade math, students scored 86 percent proficient. Despite a 6 percent decrease from last year’s results, this mark was still the same percentage above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area this year.

The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 76 percent proficient or above, a 14 percent setback from last year. It was 10 percent above the statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area.

In reading, students scored 72 percent proficient or above, a 9 percent setback from last year. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 57 percent proficient or above, a 19 percent setback from last year for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area.

In fourth grade math, students scored 87 percent proficient, which was 5 percent above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 81 percent proficient or above, which was 11 percent above the statewide results for the subgroup.

In fourth grade reading, students scored 77 percent proficient or above, which was a 14 percent increase from last year. It was also 5 percent above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 64 percent proficient or above, which was a 16 percent increase over last year and 9 percent above this year’s statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area.

Centre Elementary

In grades three and four at Centre Elementary, 82 percent of students scored proficient or better in math. In reading, 65 percent of students scored proficient or above.

In third grade math, 91 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was 11 percent better than the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. It was also a 6 percent increase over last year’s results.

In third grade reading, students scored 64 percent proficient or above, which was 10 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

In fourth grade math, students scored 84 percent proficient or above, an 11 percent setback from last year but still slightly at 2 percent above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. In reading, students scored 72 percent proficient or above, which was a 7 percent setback from last year’s results.

Clearfield Area Middle School

In grades five through eight at the middle school, 73 percent of students scored proficient or above in math. Overall, the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 63 percent proficient or above in math.

In reading, 67 percent of students scored proficient or above. Overall, the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 57 percent proficient or above.

In fifth grade math, students scored 72 percent proficient or above, an 8 percent setback over last year. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient or above, a 12 percent setback from last year.

In fifth grade reading, students were 59 percent proficient or above, which was 6 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 44 percent proficient or above, which was a 6 percent setback from last year.

In sixth grade math, 78 percent of students scored proficient or above. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 67 percent proficient, a 7 percent increase over last year and 5 percent above the statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area this year.

In sixth grade reading, 60 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was 8 percent below the statewide average for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 48 percent proficient or above.

In seventh grade math, 74 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was 6 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient or above, which was 5 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area this year.

In seventh grade reading, 71 percent of the students scored proficient or above. It was a 9 percent increase over last year but still 5 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area this year. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 59 percent proficient or above, which was a 7 percent increase over last year.

In eighth grade math, 70 percent of students scored proficient or above, a setback of 6 percent from last year and the same percentage below this year’s statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient or above, a 13 percent setback from last year. The subgroup equaled this year’s statewide results within this grade level and subject area.

In eighth grade reading, 72 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was a 10 percent setback from last year. It was 7 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area. The economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 61 percent proficient or above, a 17 percent setback from last year.

Clearfield Area High School

In eleventh grade math, 56 percent of students scored proficient or above, which was a slight 2 percent increase over last year. It was 3 percent below the statewide results for this grade level and subject area.

In math, the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 53 percent proficient or above, which was 13 percent better than the statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area. It was also a 6 percent increase over last year’s results.

In eleventh grade reading, 76 percent of students scored proficient or above, a 15 percent increase over last year’s results. In addition, it was 9 percent above the statewide results for this grade level and subject area this year.

In reading, the economically disadvantaged student subgroup scored 69 percent proficient or above, which was 25 percent better than last year and 21 percent above the statewide results for this subgroup within this grade level and subject area this year.

After the presentation by Nicolls, board President Dave Glass identified the fifth grade as the district’s “problem spot.” He sought an explanation of the cause and explained it’s partially why he wants to switch to a Kindergarten through sixth grade configuration.

Middle School Principal Fred Redden said it was the primary area of concern for him, and he’s met with Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto, Nicolls and their instructional coaches.

Redden said he believed faculty had started focusing on students who were struggling and not so much on their better students. He’s begun discussing teaching strategies with the fifth grade staff and their instructional coaches from Everyday Math.

In addition, he attributed part of the problem to faculty turnover. He said they’ve replaced four of the six math teachers in the fifth grade. He said they had two new reading teachers at the sixth grade level and one at the seventh grade level.

“It’s our primary focus area. We’re working at it. We don’t want to be taking a step back,” he said.

Board member Tim Morgan said that they’ve added math tutors at the high school. He asked if the board should be getting middle school students math and reading tutors. Redden said he was willing to look into it at which point Nicolls pointed out the district had lost its grant funding for a middle school math tutor.

Morgan said the board needed to step up and if the state was going to concentrate on this, they needed to as well.

Interim High School Principal Tim Janocko said they were ahead of where they were expecting to be at the high school. He said it has been beneficial having nine-period days, as it allows math, English, social studies and science departments to meet daily to discuss teaching strategies and what is and isn’t working for them.

In struggling classrooms, he said they’ve started “team teaching,” which has been a lot of help in addition to the available tutoring. He said he regularly visits math and science classes, while Assistant Principal Heather Prestash goes into the English and social studies classes.

Otto said they were making strategic efforts to improve the school’s graduation rate and had formed a committee. Janocko said the summer school was a huge success, and he wanted to expand it to include English and social studies teachers. He said it would tremendously impact the school’s graduation percentage.

Otto said that the district has a strong commitment to every student and it’s invested in professional development for its teachers. Janocko said they don’t want any teacher to have a failure rate higher than 15 percent.

“We’re going to re-teach. We can’t accept failure. We’re going to check with teachers two times each nine-week marking period,” said Janocko.

Clearfield Elementary Principal Jamie Quick said their math proficiency had grown, and the school had performed well in the special education subgroup. Still, he said they don’t want to get worse or stay the same; instead, they want to get better.

Quick said reading hasn’t been as strong, so they were shifting intervention staff from math to reading in Kindergarten through fourth grade.

“Our needs are in reading,” he said. He said he and his staff will be working to develop relationships with students who are in the economically disadvantaged subgroup. He wants to help them develop pride, responsibility, preparation strategies and respect.

Bradford, Centre and Girard-Goshen Elementary Principal Mary Michael Sayers said they’re focusing on the needs of the third and fourth grade reading students. So far, she said the students have been buying into their strategy.

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