October 25, 2004 Extra Credit
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October 25, 2004

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October 22
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Middle Schoolers Show ‘Dramatic’ Rise in Scores

The following is a recent article in The Record Herald (Waynesboro, Pa.) highlighting the dramatic increases in test scores by offering various measures for students and to ensure that No Child is Left Behind:

"Waynesboro Area Middle School students have shown dramatic increases in Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test scores when compared to the 2002-03 school year, Principal Larry Bricker told the school board Tuesday night.

"As part of the No Child Left Behind initiative, all students in the nation must be classified as ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ in reading and math by 2014. Pennsylvania uses PSSA scores to measure students’ proficiency.

"To be on target for the 2014 goal, schools need to have 45 percent of students testing at ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ in math and 54 percent testing at the same levels in reading during the current school year.

"Bricker reported that test scores from the 2003-2004 school year showed 65 percent of local middle-schoolers in the advanced/proficient categories in math and 74 percent of them in reading. Reading scores increased 10 percentage points from the previous year, and math scores increased 22 percent. ‘That’s what we feel particularly good about: a dramatic increase,’ Bricker said.

"‘That’s some really nice progress over the years,’ School Board President Larry Glenn commented…

"Among the measures taken to improve PSSA scores on the local level: Math problems assigned in PSSA format, Targeted vocabulary in language arts classes, Improved test atmosphere, After-school remediation, Principal presentation to classes emphasizing test importance.

"One of the new steps designed to increase scores for the 2004-2005 school year is the start of a reading academy. Bonnie Shockey, communication arts coordinator, said the academy is an individualized computer program that fills in learning gaps by starting at each student’s level.

‘If the students don’t read well, they don’t do well in any of their subjects,’ she said. "The reading academy is funded through an accountability block grant. Consultants visit the school every two to three weeks to make recommendations for the academy….Students strive for mastery of four components: fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics and comprehension.

"Shockey said the reading academy is a finite program. ‘There’s a beginning for each student and a finish,’ she said.


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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 04/09/2008