More on test scores at district Accelerated Learning Academies | Slag Heap

More on test scores at district Accelerated Learning Academies

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In City Paper's news feature this week, we took a look at how the Pittsburgh Public Schools' highly-touted Accelerated Learning Academies have performed since they were created by former Superintendent Mark Roosevelt back in 2006. The specialized schools, which feature longer school days and years, were designed to accelerate the learning curve of struggling students.

To date, district officials say, the ALAs are performing as promised. According to district stats, just 36.4 percent of all ALA students scored "proficient" or "advanced" on PSSA reading exams in 2007. By 2011, that percentage had jumped to 51 percent. In math, the percentage of ALA students scoring at least proficient increased from 45.1 percent in 2007 to 61.5 percent last spring.

But at individual ALAs, the longitudinal results -- those that track students as they travel from one grade to the next -- are largely a mixed bag. To illustrate, we've posted below how students at the district's seven ALAs have progressed (or regressed) on state reading and math exams over between 2007 and 2010.

(Note: Some students may leave, and others be added, to a school over the years. So the population of students being tested at the fifth grade level in 2010, for example, will not necessarily be exactly the same as the population tested in second grade in 2007.)

Arlington PreK-8: In 2007, 46.5 percent of Arlington's second-graders scored proficient or advanced in reading, while 60.5 scored the same in math. When those students reached fifth grade three years later, the percentage of students who scored at least proficient in reading dropped to 35.7 percent -- but the percentage of students who scored the same in math jumped to 81 percent.

Colfax K-8: In 2007, 55.2 percent of Colfax's fifth-grade students scored proficient or better in reading, while 74.6 percent scored the same in math. Three years later, when those students reached eighth grade, the percentage of students who scored at least proficient in reading improved to 71.2 percent. But the percentage who scored the same in math dropped to 60.3 percent.

Fort Pitt PreK-5: Students at Fort Pitt showed some gains and some losses as they went from second to fifth grade. In 2007, for example, 39 percent of Fort Pitt's second-graders scored proficient or advanced in reading on the state exam, while 30.5 percent scored the same in math. When those students reached fifth grade, their reading proficiency went down, but their math went up drastically. In 2010, 32.6 percent of Fort Pitt's fifth-graders scored at least proficient in reading, a less than 7-percentage-point drop from 2007. But the percentage of fifth-graders scoring the same in math went up to 60.5 percent, doubling the proficiency rate among students from three years before.

King PreK-8: The percentage of King students scoring proficient or better from second grade to fifth grade, between 2007 and 2010, dropped in both reading and math. In 2007, 31.8 percent of second-graders scored at least proficient in reading. Only 20 percent scored the same in that subject when those students reached fifth grade in 2010. In math, meanwhile, 40.9 percent of King's second-graders scored proficient or better in 2007. But when those students reached fifth grade, just 5.9 of them reached that mark.

However, during that time the percentage of King students who scored at least proficient from fifth grade to eighth grade increased drastically in both reading and math. In 2007, only 9.4 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient or better in reading, while 18.7 percent scored the same in math. At the eighth grade level in 2010, 61.4 percent of King students scored at least proficient in reading, while 42 percent scored the same in math.

Murray PreK-8: In 2007, 28.2 percent of Murray's fifth-graders scored at least proficient in reading, while 53.1 percent scored the same in math. Three years later, that same group of students improved significantly in reading but digressed significantly in math. In 2010, PSSA scores show, 75 percent of Murray's eighth-grade students scored at least proficient in reading, but just 37.5 percent scored the same in math.

Northview PreK-8: At Northview, the percentage of students scoring at least proficient dropped in both reading and math from the time students attended second grade in 2007 to the time they took the PSSA exams as fifth-graders in 2010. In 2007, for instance, 43.1 percent of Northview's second-grade students scored at least proficient in reading, but by the time that class reached fifth grade in 2010, only 32.1 percent reached that mark. The percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced in math, similarly, also dropped by 10 percentage points from second grade to fifth grade.

Weil PreK-5: In 2007, 34.3 percent of Weil second-graders scored at least proficient in reading, while 54.3 percent scored the same in math. When those students reached fifth grade in 2010, 47.8 percent scored proficient or better in reading, a decent jump, while 50 percent scored the same in math, representing a slight decrease.

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