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PSSA scores for District, charter schools: Philly students struggled in math

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

As has happened across the state, math scores in grades 3-8 for both District and charter schools in Philadelphia sank this year on the new, tougher PSSA exam, which was aligned for the first time with Pennsylvania’s more rigorous core standards.

The School District released test score results for each school weeks ago, but charter school results on the 2015 PSSA were released for the first time today by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Both statewide and in Philadelphia, English language arts proficiency rates were also down this year, though not nearly as low as rates on the math PSSA. Officials have advised not to compare this year’s results to previous years because of the new exam.

School-by-school results show that only 10 public schools in the city, seven of them District schools, managed to have a majority of their students score proficient on last spring’s PSSA math test. In six of those 10 schools, economically disadvantaged students are in the minority.

A Notebook analysis of the scores found that the median proficiency rate in math was under 11 percent among charter schools that have at least 10 students in grades 3-8. That slightly bested District schools’ median proficiency rate in math, which was 9 percent.

For charter schools, median proficiency rates on the English and science exams were both at 38 percent. District schools had a median proficiency rate of 32 percent in science and 27 percent in English. (The median proficiency rate is the rate of the school that is in the middle when schools are arranged in order of their scores.)

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