Riverview Officials Strategize to Meet PSSA Targets

School principals presented plans to the school board that they hope will help better students' PSSA scores.

Riverview School District officials and administrators are setting strategies and plans that they hope will help students perform better in this school year's Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.

Earlier this week, officials discussed last school year's scores in depth and presented the strategies they hope to have in place this school year to improve scores.

This year's state target was to have at least 81 percent of district students proficient in reading and 78 percent proficient in math. The targets are set to jump to 91 percent in reading and 89 percent in math.

and the economically disadvantaged group reading targets. A school must have 30 or more students in a specific subgroup for it to be analyzed. The district as a whole, however, made adequate yearly progress—AYP.

According to district data, this is how students performed on the test:

Grades 3 to 5 (and Verner Elementary)

Mathematics—90.3 percent proficient
Reading—83.6 percent proficient

Economically Disadvantaged Subgroup (Verner)

Mathematics—83.1 percent proficient
Reading—70.1 percent proficient

Grades 6 to 8 (Tenth Street, Verner and Riverview High)

Mathematics—74.9 percent proficient
Reading—79.7 percent proficient

Economically Disadvantaged Subgroup

Mathematics—49.2 percent proficient
Reading—57.4 percent proficient

Grades 9 to 12 (Riverview High School)

Mathematics—56.3 percent proficient (school made AYP using the "safe harbor" provision, in which a school must move 10 percent of students in its two lowest performing subgroups into proficient or above.)
Reading—70.4 percent proficient

Lynn Black, the district's director of student achievement, said officials can see in what sections students specifically struggled on the test using the On Hand Schools program. For example, the data determined that students in fifth grade at Tenth Street struggled with answering questions that can be addressed with data and analyzing data.

Measurement, geometry and understanding concepts of non-fiction text also are some areas that need improvement throughout the different grade levels.

Principals said they are going to implement several strategies in their school buildings this year to give students that extra push toward proficiency. Some of those strategies include:

  • Targeted assistance classes for students who need help in reading and mathematics.
  • Focusing on "bubble kids"—those who are on the low-end of proficiency or are on the brink of reaching an advanced proficiency score.
  • Using 4Sight testing data, student grades and teacher feedback to create specific plans for students.
  • Implementing learning goals and objectives in a way that is easy to understand for students.
  • Addressing some students' personal issues by using district guidance counselors and other contracted services.

"All of this data helps us look at students' needs," said Superintendent Peggy DiNinno. "We need to look at what it's telling us and determine what we are going to do with it."

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