Philadelphia school district students’ scores dropped sharply over last year.
The Keystone exams were created in response to ‘No Child Left Behind.’ Jim Scanlon, Superintendent of the West Chester School District, sent a letter to parents recently, criticizing the Keystone Exams.
The tests are the primary way the state evaluates school performance. Some parents say it prevents teachers from doing their jobs effectively.
School district spokesman Fernando Gallard says teachers at Feltonville School for Arts and Sciences gave information and other materials to parents without the principal’s knowledge. He found out after nearly 20% of the school’s parents “opted out” of the state PSSA’s.
A former Philadelphia principal has become the eighth person charged in a sweeping grand jury probe of cheating on standardized tests.
And this so-called “opt out” movement is part of a growing national trend.
This was not your normal pep rally, not by a long shot.
Opting out is extremely unusual in Pennsylvania: Only 260 out of about 932,000 students were excused from the math and reading PSSAs last year; an even lower number opted out of the science exam, according to the state Education Department.
School districts statewide will begin administering new standardized tests next week that eventually all students will have to pass to graduate.
Standardized test scores for Pennsylvania schools are being released today. And, don’t be surprised to see them drop, because of tighter controls to curb cheating.
More than half of the school buildings in the School District of Philadelphia are on the list.
The school district’s chief academic officer, Penny Nixon, says in the wake of reports of cheating on state standardized tests, the district will look into the matter.