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Report Identifies 30 PA Districts with the Greatest Gains and Losses on the 11th Grade PSSA Math and Science Test from 2004 to 2010

December 13, 2010
21PSTEM NewsDecember 13, 2010: While overall passing trends on the 11th grade PSSA have slightly improved over the past six years, there are some school districts that have far exceeded the state average. At the same time, there are other districts whose 11th grade PSSA scores have plummeted far below from where they were in 2004.

Using data from Pennsylvania Department of Education, 30 districts were identified that had most improved and 30 districts that had most regressed on the 11th grade PSSA math and reading tests out of a total of 497 districts. Educational spending per pupil was analyzed for both groups of schools. Using data from Pennsylvania Department of Education, 30 districts were identified that had most improved and 30 districts that had most regressed on the 11th grade PSSA math and reading tests out of a total of 497 districts. Educational spending per pupil was analyzed for both groups of schools.

The most improved district in Pennsylvania on the 11th grade PSSA math test over the past 6 years was Washington School District whose students rose over 59 percentage points. The district that lost the most was Newport School District whose average dropped almost 30 percentage points on the same test.

On the 11th grade reading test, the most improved district was Duquesne City, increasing almost 36 percentage points. The most regressed district was Northern Potter, dropping over 27 percentage points in reading.

No association was found between educational expenditures per pupil and either large gains or losses in scores. In some cases, expenditures were actually found to be higher in districts that had lost the most ground. There are no documented reasons at present that would account for the large gains or losses.

“The large gain or loss in many of the districts, whether negative or positive, cannot be explained by school spending per pupil as no difference was found,” said John Baker, one of the authors of the report. According to Baker, “we need in-depth studies of these particular districts to understand what actually happened and why. All school districts in the state have something to learn from both groups of districts – what worked and what didn’t.”“The large gain or loss in many of the districts, whether negative or positive, cannot be explained by school spending per pupil as no difference was found,” said John Baker, one of the authors of the report. According to Baker, “we need in-depth studies of these particular districts to understand what actually happened and why. All school districts in the state have something to learn from both groups of districts – what worked and what didn’t.”

An earlier released companion report that analyzed all 498 Pennsylvania districts from 2007 to 2009 showed that overall there is little to no relationship between educational expenditures per pupil and student achievement on the 11th grade PSSA and SATs.

The current report entitled, THE MOST IMPROVED AND MOST REGRESSED DISTRICT IN PENNSYLVANIA ON THE 11TH GRADE PSSA FROM 2004 TO 2010, was conducted by researchers from The 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education, a independent non-profit education research organization. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The companion report was carried out earlier by the same organization, and entitled, ARE EDUCATIONAL EXPENDITURES ASSOCIATED WITH 11TH GRADE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS? The companion report was carried out earlier by the same organization, and entitled, ARE EDUCATIONAL EXPENDITURES ASSOCIATED WITH 11TH GRADE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL DISTRICTS?

The reports were compiled with public data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Download the Study Here!
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