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