Students in the Easton Area School District topped their counterparts across the state in terms of being proficient or advanced in reading, math, science and writing, according to school test results released Thursday.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education released the results of the 2011 Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA), administered in the spring, and for the Easton schools, the news was encouraging.
In math, of 4,407 students tested, 80.7 percent were considered advanced or proficient compared with state averages showing 77.1 percent proficient or advanced in the subject, according to an analysis of the test scores.
For reading, while 73.5 percent of the students in the state were found to be proficient or advanced, 73.2 percent of the 4,415 EASD students tested were deemed advanced or proficient, just shy of the state mark.
Writing is the subject where EASD shined the most. While 8.8 percent of EASD students scored as advanced in writing, 72.5 percent were considered proficient. The state's findings were 75 percent proficient and advanced in that subject.
For science, the EASD average was 61 percent while the state average was 60.9 percent.
Easton superintendent Susan McGinley could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
More than 2.6 million tests were completed by students across the state. The state scores were relatively similar to last year.
As required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the PSSA is Pennsylvania's statewide standards-based assessment. The math and reading tests are given in grades 3-8 and 11th grade; the writing test is given in grades 5, 8 and 11, and the science test is given in grades 4,8 and 11.
The goal is for all students to be proficient or advanced by 2014 – meaning that they have mastered Pennsylvania's assessment content standards at their grade level.
Another area of concern is how the Easton Area School District fared with Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
A school or district's performance on statewide math and reading assessments is the primary factor in determining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), which is also required under NCLB. Student participation and attendance/graduation rate are also factors in making this determination.
Performance targets for AYP were 67 percent in math and 72 percent in reading.
While the district received a passing grade overall, Easton Area High School and the grades 7-8 middle school fall under corrective action, while Cheston Elementary and the grades 5-6 middle school received warnings.
Of the 3,096 school buildings in Pennsylvania, including charter schools and comprehensive career and technology centers, 2,326 schools, or 75.1 percent, made AYP.