QCSD Superintendent Dr. Lisa Andrejko is getting ready for a "tidal wave" of high state test scores to come barreling through the district soon. During the most recent board of school directors meeting, Andrejko showed some of the highlights from last year's Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests. Andrejko presented several of the notably high scores, and how they compared to other schools and districts in the county and state. She presented a series of facts that caused the room to erupt into applause several times."I can't tell you how proud I am to show this to you tonight," she began her presentation. She reported that Strayer Middle School ranked 19 out of 866 middle schools in the state for eighth grade Math. Pfaff Elementary students came in fourth out of 205 schools in Bucks, Montgomery and Lehigh counties for their fifth grade Math scores. She reported that all of the students in fourth and fifth grades at Haycock Elementary met state goals on the Math section. Statewide, only about 75 percent of all students met the goals. Trumbauersville came in first of 88 schools in Bucks for fourth grade Reading scores. Quakertown Elementary had scores far above state averages for Economically Disadvantaged and Limited English Proficient students; 100 percent of LEP students in grade five met state goals, while the average passing rate for the state is just 34 percent. Tohickon Valley's fifth grade math scores placed them 18 out of 88 schools in Bucks County. Milford Middle School had the overall best percentage of students who passed the tests in any school in Upper Bucks County. Neidig Elementary saw increases in passing scores as big as 14.7 percent in grade four Math, and 13.7 percent in grade five Reading. She noted a significant jump in the high school's passing rates, that have grown from 59 percent to 80 percent for Reading in the past five years. Math scores have gone up from 52 percent to 67 percent. Director Nancy Tirjan, commented on rising scores in Mathematics over the past three years, and expressed concern that perhaps Integrated Math got an early axe because it was unpopular more so than being a failure in and of itself.
"When you implement a program or a goal, it takes two or three years before it starts showing up," said Tirjan.
"Certainly it is having results," replied Andrejko, "I feel very positive when you see trends like this."
"There are many other components to student achievement," said Andrejko, "This particular presentation is only dealing with PSSA." And Director Paul Stepanoff felt that it was only showing one piece of the PSSA puzzle. He felt that trends showing growth in specific grades only gave one side of the story, and that a graph showing the scores lower from elementary to middle, and from middle to high school would paint a very different picture of achievement.
"As you progress through the grades, you end up getting less and less proficient," said Stepanoff, who addressed that while it is a general trend, he saw the gaps between QCHS and neighboring high schools to not instill the same sense of pride that the gaps between local elementary schools and neighboring ones did. Andrejko refuted Stepanoff's stance, "It is not a trend at all, actually what you're seeing is a tidal wave coming through, of high performance students."
"You will see these scores continue to rise," said Andrejko. Director Manuel Alfonso expressed his concern about SAT scores, which he reported are not rising at nearly the rate of PSSA scores, and he requested that Andrejko give the board a similar presentation about SAT scores in the future.
"It is not a significant down-ward trend," said Andrejko about the SAT scores, and said that a report would be coming in the future. The district has posted Andrejko's PSSA presentation on the QCSD website, please visit www.qcsd.org for the presentation.
David P. Anderson is the editor of The Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.