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No more Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks at Gateway schools

| Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Gateway schools, as well as schools across the state, no longer will get AYP report cards.

Pennsylvania last week became the 41st state to receive a waiver from federal No Child Left Behind mandates that require all students — regardless of ability — to meet proficiency goals on state standardized tests.

Instead of having to meet Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks, schools will be required to decrease the percentage of students not meeting state standards in math and reading by half.

Gateway High School failed to meet benchmarks established by the state Department of Education in 2012 and became one of 55 schools in Pennsylvania to require a second consecutive year of corrective measures.

As a result, Gateway officials were required to submit a plan to the state that outlines how they would improve student performance.

The state evaluated the performance of not only the entire student body but of categories of students, as well.

Five such subgroups — black students, multiracial students, economically disadvantaged students, special-education students and those for whom English is a second language — failed to meet standards at the high school during the 2011-12 school year.

Gateway School Director Skip Drumheller said this week that students should be judged on more than just test scores.

“A fair evaluation system is more than just a written test,” Drumheller said.

“Are they employed, are they doing OK at work, are they going on to school, are they going to the military?”

Linda Hippert, executive director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, is critical of how Pennsylvania judges student achievement.

“In Pennsylvania, we are still looking at how students grow based on a single test. There is no other factor placed in that.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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