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Gateway officials pleased with new assessment system

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

In the wake of the partial release of school-assessment data, Gateway officials are optimistic the district's performance will be better represented by a new system of evaluating Pennsylvania schools.

The new system — which replaced the “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP, benchmark of the federal No Child Left Behind program — should provide a more accurate depiction of academic progress at Gateway High School, said Nancy Hines, director of curriculum and instruction.

“Unfortunately, Gateway High School had been assigned ‘corrective action' status for several years via the former AYP model, despite having shown through the value-added system strong evidence of documented, academic growth,” Hines said. “We are especially proud and satisfied that this method of using multiple measures helps to showcase the performance of our secondary schools.”

Gateway school director Skip Drumheller — who often voices his opinion at school board meetings on statewide issues — said he agrees with Hines.

“It does appear to be a little bit more fair,” Drumheller said.

The scores for the Gateway middle and high schools — which were listed as “suppressed” — weren't available Tuesday.

The state initially suppressed scores for 626 schools where administrators said the state collected incomplete or inaccurate data regarding the last school year's Keystone Exam scores.

Gateway officials said they expect scores for remaining schools by January.

State education department spokesman Tim Eller said scores should be updated by mid-December.

Carolyn Dumaresq, the state's acting education secretary, said last week that the new profiles are not the only way to judge schools.

“It's absolutely correct that this isn't a total view,” said Dumaresq, citing differences in arts programs and technology initiatives. “We encourage parents to go to district websites and check out exactly what their schools have to offer.”

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