Peters Township school students scored well on standardized tests across the board in 2011-2012. The school district education committee saw the results at a meeting Monday night. Peters Township School District Director of Staff Development Dr. Mara Linaberger reviewed the findings during a presentation to the committee and said the district should be proud of students' scores.
The results presented range from SAT and ACT college admission test scores for high school students to PSSA results for students in elementary, middle and high school. SAT scores for the past year were above the state and national averages in all of the categories including math, verbal, critical reading and writing. Statewide, PTSD students ranked either 22nd or 23rd statewide in their SAT scores and have shown improvement over each of the last four years. ACT scores also showed a very slight increase over the past three years and composite scores are above the state and national averages.
Peters Township High School students scored well on advanced placement tests in subjects from Calculus to English to Music Theory. Eigthy-five percent of PTSD exam takers scored a 3 or higher which is the number most colleges and universities look for to grant credit to students who wish to "test out" of taking those courses in college.
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test results were also good district-wide for 2011-2012. All PTSD schools shows Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Linaberger said very few school districts in the region can claim that. All elementary schools tested above the state average in math and reading scores. The only area of concern was McMurray students' scores in writing trending downward from last year. However, the numbers are still above the state average. Linaberger says staff is looking at ways for students to improve those numbers.
Peters Township School Board members say they are pleased with the test results. But Board Education Chair Sue Smith hopes that Pennsylvania will follow other states and apply for exception to a pending national No Child Left Behind requirement. Its goal is to have 100 percent of students proficient and advanced in all subjects in the next two years.
"I personally believe that is an impossible goal because children are not like raw materials in a factory. They come to us with different backgrounds and abilities and the teachers are required to take all of those different abilities and give them knowledge as best they can," Smith said.
She added, "I personally believe it's impossible to get to 100 percent. But you can see that in some of the areas we're already at 98 and 99 percent, so we're already doing a good job ... better than a good job, a great job."
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