Excerpted:Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
The number of Pennsylvania students who scored “proficient” or “advanced” on state standardized tests in 2014-15 fell precipitously compared with the previous year.
And it marks a fourth straight year of test score declines.
Analysis shows that the proficiency rates in grades 3 through 8 dropped by an average of 35.4 percentage points in math and 9.4 percentage points in English language arts on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exam.
Department officials attribute the declines to the increased rigor of the state standardized tests.
Last week, based on the new standards, the Pennsylvania Board of Education voted to readjust its expectations for how the more difficult tests would be scored – setting new cutoffs for “advanced,” “proficient,” “basic” and “below basic.” This process is known as setting the “cut scores.”