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How Philadelphia’s District schools fared on the PSSA exams

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

In late September, addressing last spring’s results on the state’s annual standardized tests, Superintendent William Hite said that, districtwide, students performed at a level similar to the previous year.

That was after a year of a thousand cuts, and in the early months of 2013-14, District schools were running short on staff after the loss of teachers, nurses, counselors, aides, and other support professionals. Students were learning in spartan conditions.

Hite took a rosy view of the scores, saying he was "surprised we didn’t see a more significant decline, considering how we started the year."

"No one is satisfied, but I also want to acknowledge the fact that if someone were to look at our District and predict scores based on how we started and what resources we started without, [they] would predict significant declines across the board," he said.

As reported in September, the number of students districtwide scoring at or above the proficient level dipped slightly overall, but mostly was on par with 2013’s results, when there was also a decline in proficiency. The number of students scoring proficient or advanced on the 2014 Keystone science exam did, however, rise by 5 points.

The District made that announcement seven weeks ago. With only a snapshot of District performance available, results for individual schools were unknown.

Last week, after a release of scores by the state, the District posted the raw results for its schools, showing how each school performed on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone exams.

Shown in the charts below are school-by-school proficiency rates for 3rd through 8th graders on PSSA reading (ELA), math, science and writing exams.

Note: Reading and math exams are taken by students in grades 3 through 8, writing in grades 5 and 8, and science in grades 4 and 8. David Limm

@limmdavid David is a former online editor of the Notebook.

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