The annual rite of Spring is underway in the school district. Over the next four weeks students will take PSSA tests in Reading, Math, Science and Writing. These tests are meant to reflect what students have learned during this school year. The tests also serve as a basis for accountability measures as laid out in the No Child Left Behind law. Only two of the tests actually “count” toward these accountability measures, Math and Reading. However, the other tests allow the school to compare how our students perform versus other schools in the area. The tests results usually come back to the school district in a “rough draft” form in early June. This allows the school districts to review the data and find any mistakes that may have occurred in the processing of the tests. The public presentation of the tests scores are released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in August. RASD has made many improvements in instruction and curriculum during the past few years and we are confident that our students will continue to do well on any test that is given them. After all, good instruction from a good curriculum will allow students to perform well on any test given to them.
Finally, I want to make sure that RASD is known for more than just test scores. The PSSA tests are important because they form the basis for what the school is publically judged so we cannot ignore them. However, a well rounded education for all of our students involves more than just test scores. In the coming month I will form a committee that will discuss alternative ways for the school district to measure success. Yes, tests are one way to measure success, but we need to develop other measures of success that truly reflect an outstanding education. As our school district starts on the road toward becoming the best school district in the State, the community and district must make sure that there are other measures of success for which to judge the school district.