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Two of Nine Bensalem Schools Made AYP; State Warns District

The state placed the Bensalem School District on warning status because only two of its nine schools made Adequate Yearly Progress in PSSA standardized testing.

 

According to PSSA results published on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website, only two of Bensalem’s nine school made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in standardized test scores taken during the 2011-12 school year and the Bensalem School District was placed on warning status because of the scores.

In a statement, the school district noted that its students showed growth in Reading and Math, but did not meet the growth expected by the state.

AYP is how the federal law, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), measures the achievement of public schools across the nation.

In Pennsylvania, public school students take standardized reading and math tests known as the PSSA each spring. Students then receive scores of below basic, basic, proficient or advanced based on the results of these standardized tests.

Every year the percentage of students expected to demonstrate proficiency grows. In 2011-12, Pennsylvania called for 78 percent of students in districts and schools to score proficient or above on the math test and 81 percent of students to score proficient or above in the reading assessment. 

Belmont Hills and Valley elementary schools were the two Bensalem schools to make AYP.

Cornwells, Faust, Rush and Struble elementary schools as well as Shafer and Snyder middle schools did not make AYP. Because they made AYP last year, they were placed on “warning” status.

Bensalem High School also did not make AYP. The high school was placed on “corrective action” status. The previous year, BHS was considered to be “making progress.”

A recent PhillyBurbs article explained why each school failed to meet AYP.

The Bensalem Township School District issued the following statement regarding the PSSA scores:

2012 saw significant increases in the levels of performance necessary for schools to demonstrate AYP.  Bensalem Township School District (BTSD) is proud of our schools that made AYP and we are also proud of the growth we made with PSSA performance, even when we did not quite hit the thresholds for Reading (81%) and Math (78%).

As a district, we had several groups that achieved significant gains in performance including our special needs students and English Language Learners at the secondary level.  BTSD has put several new tools in place that will increase our ability to monitor student progress and ensure that we are providing the most appropriate supports and interventions. 

Finally, we need to point out that as a district we are cognizant of the fact that PSSA’s tell only a small part of the story.  We are committed not just to the academic growth of our students, but also to their social, emotional and civic growth.  

School Name AYP Proceeding Level 2012 AYP Proceeding Level 2011 AYP Proceeding Level 2010 AYP Proceeding Level 2009 AYP Proceeding Level 2008 BELMONT HILLS EL SCH Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP BENSALEM TWP HS Corrective Action 2 (fifth year) Making Progress Corrective Action 2 (fourth year) Corrective Action 2 (third year) Corrective Action 2 (second year) CORNWELLS EL SCH Warning Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP FAUST EL SCH Warning Made AYP Making Progress School Improvement 1 Warning RUSH EL SCH Warning Made AYP Making Progress School Improvement 1 Warning SHAFER MS Warning Made AYP Made AYP Warning Made AYP SNYDER MS Warning Made AYP Made AYP Warning Made AYP STRUBLE EL SCH Warning Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP VALLEY EL SCH Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Made AYP Warning

 

Mike Thomas September 25, 2012 at 05:25 PM
According to the school district, they say in the article "Finally, we need to point out that as a district we are cognizant of the fact that PSSA’s tell only a small part of the story. We are committed not just to the academic growth of our students, but also to their social, emotional and civic growth" Since when can you pass to the next grade level based on your social growth? It is based on tests. You give a test to a student to see how much they have learned and basically the AYP is a test of how the teachers are teaching our kids. No Matter what damage control the district wants to do, this is exactly what it is. We continue to raise the teachers' salaries and get mediocre results. We need to base their raises on performance. No teacher should have received a raise until our AYP was at or above performance. By now, the district should know what topics are being tested and ensure that the teachers are coordinating a lesson plan that will focus on what will be on the tests. Obviously there needs to be changes at Bensalem HIgh School since this is the 5th year (with the exception of last year) that they have received a warning. To our School Board: WE NEED ANSWERS!! START ASKING QUESTIONS!!
AidanJ September 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM
If you click on the link to the PhillyBurbs story, it explains how the schools failed. Very interesting.
P2YA September 26, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Apparently high salaries don't equate to superior performance. I realize there are extenuating factors related to demography, but in the private sector mediocre performance would be viewed as exactly that and employees would either be replaced or eliminated for not meeting expectations. They certainly wouldn't get rewarded as teachers do simply by showing up (and being in a union). Naturally, administrators also share in the largesse. Bensalem School District has had itself a hell of a year between rampant theft by already well-compensated individuals at the bus garage to now a subpar assessment of the primary education product.

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