District tops in reading in ’09-10 PSSAs, strong SAT scores revealed
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — The numbers are in from the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests and again the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District has come through some of the best scores in the entire commonwealth — rating tops in Pennsylvania in reading, fourth in math while ranking second overall.
According to test scores announced during Monday night’s school board meeting at Unionville Elementary School, the 93.3% of the district’s students are either proficient or at an advanced level in math, while 94.2% of the district’s students are proficient or at an advanced level in reading. The tests are given to third, fourth, fifth, eighth and 11th grade students to measure competency and progress as part of the federal No Child Left Behind program. Additional writing and science testing is done for fourth, fifth, eighth and 11th grades, as well.
Superintendent of schools Sharon Parker expressed some satisfaction at how well the district is faring, noting that the district could still learn things from the top district in the state, Upper St. Clair, as well as from Masterman High School in Philadelphia, the top math high school in the state.
And it isn’t just the PSSA numbers that suggest academic success, either, school officials say. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Ken Batchelor revealed new SAT test score — the typical college assessment tests taken by 11th grade students seeking college admission — being up as well. The average Unionville student got a 1731 (of a possible 2,400) on the test, placing the average student in the school in the nation’s top 25 percent of test takers. The national average for the test is 1509, while Pennsylvania students average only 1475.
Batchelor also ran through the district’s advanced placement program — which allows high school students to earn college credit. He said 828 students took AP courses, and 69% percent of those students took the exams required to earn credit. Of those students, 85% earned a grade of “3” or better, the level required to earn college credit. He said 50% of those participating earned college credit, up from 41% in the year prior.
While the PSSA scores were uniformly good across the district, officials highlighted some of the numbers from the elementary schools — including a perfect math score of 100% proficiency for Hillendale third graders. On averaged, 96.6% of the dirtsict’s third grade students met or exceeded state standards for math, while 93.0 made the grade for reading. Averaging out the test scores for third, fourth and fifth grades, Pocopson Elementary edged out the other three elementary schools and managed to exceed the district average in every single test.
These scores come just three years after the district had one school, Unionville High School placed on warning status because a subgroup sample failed to meet criteria, even though the school’s overall test scores were high. In 2008, Unionville High had the highest PSSA scores in the state.