The Wilson Area School Board on Monday got a preview of the school district's
2012 PSSA scores, due to be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education later this month.
The results were mostly encouraging, according to school officials, with students meeting this year’s higher state benchmarks and achieving No Child Left Behind's adequate yearly progress (AYP) status at all district schools.
"I think overall our students in mathematics scored exceptionally well," said Dave Wright, the district's director of curriculum and instruction. "Almost all of our grades were above-90 percent scoring proficient or advanced.”
At the same time, Wright says the district can’t rest on its laurels.
“The [state] targets have gone up,” he said. “Next year we need to have 89 percent of our students proficient or advanced in math, and 91 percent in reading. Those are higher numbers than we’ve earned in previous years.”
There were some weak spots. Last year’s third grade at Wilson Borough Elementary (now in fourth grade) scored only 75 percent in reading proficiency, six percentage points under target and a major decline from last year’s 89 percent.
Still, Wilson Borough Elementary and the district as a whole continue to demonstrate scores comparable with wealthier localities in Northampton County that remain well above state averages. Financially, Wilson seems also to do more with less.
For example, the fourth grade at Saucon Elementary in Hellertown achieved 98 percent proficiency in math on its 2011 PSSA’s (2012’s scores have not been released), an excellent score by almost any state or county standard.
By comparison, Wilson Borough Elementary’s fourth grade scored 97 percent on the newly released 2012’s PSSA.
But Wilson ASD spends some $2,000 less per pupil annually than Saucon Elementary’s district, and Wilson Borough Elementary has a profoundly more economically disadvantaged student body, with nearly 50 percent of children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches compared with 15 percent at Saucon.