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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Local Proficiency Measures are Lacking in PA

A new study from Penn State reveals that local school districts' assessments, allowed as an alternative to the 11th-grade PSSA exam to demonstrate proficiency for Pennsylvania students before graduating, are not as rigorous as the state standards. See stories in the Inquirer and the Post-Gazette.

In 2007, about 56,000 high school juniors did not pass the PSSA and graduated the next year because they were judged proficient on local assessments.
It should be noted that the state standard is itself weak - as our analysis of school performance highlights, the PSSA inflates "proficiency" at a grade level by over 80%, versus the national test, the NAEP. In other words, a large number of students are graduating from Pennsylvania high schools without the skills they should have learned while in school.

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