At the end of the February 18 School Board meeting, Mr. Ganow asked Dr. Newcome if he could furnish a report for next month’s meeting on the graduation rate for the Octorara District and salaries comparing Chester and Lancaster Counties. That was two of my points, another was value of the taxes we pay, and the premium we pay our teachers, when we compare Octorara’s scores to other schools?
For statistical data, even though Octorara straddles two counties, we are identified as a Chester County school district. I pulled the following data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education website. It comes from the 2011-2012 PSSA data.
Octrorara had the lowest math scores, 1313, compared to the next lowest Pheonixville, which scored 1751. The highest was Downingtown with a score of 6264. In second place was West Chester, with a score of 6112. Do we see the big disparity?
Octorara students scoring “Advanced” in math was 48.1%. We were the second lowest. Coatesville had only 44.9%. The #1 spot went to Unionville-Chadds Ford who had 78.3% of their students testing as “Advanced,” followed by Tredyffrin-Easttown with 73%.
Our school district also had the second highest percentage of students scoring “Below Basic” at 9.1%. The #1 spot went to Coatesville with 11.8%. The two schools with the least number of students “Below Basic” in math were, as one would expect based on other data, Unionville-Chadds Ford (4.1%) and Tredyffrin-Easttown (5.3%).
With reading scores, Octorara again finds itself in last place with a number score of 1312. The second lowest was Pheonixville with a number score of 1741. The schools with the highest number scores were Downingtown (6251) and West Chester (6066).
We are seeing the same trend with reading. Octorara has the second lowest percentage of students identified as reading at an “Advanced” level, only 35.7%. The lowest was again Coatesville, with only 33.1%. Again, the #1 spot went to Unionville-Chadds Ford who had 68.4% of their students testing as “Advanced,” and Tredyffrin-Easttown with 67.2%.
Octorara again holds the distinction of having the second highest percentage of students at “Below Basic,” this time with reading. We scored 13.9%. The worst was Coatesville with 16.2% “Below Basic.” Unionville-Chadds Ford and Tredyffrin-Easttown had the lowest percentages of students scoring “Below Basic,” 2.0% and 1.7% respectively.
Science & Writing Scores
I didn’t have the heart. I didn’t want to see. We are doing so poorly, I did not want to add insult to injury. The only school district worse than Octorara is Coatesville. Talk to different people, and you will get a range of opinions about Octorara from horrible to excellent. Listen to Lisa Bowman, School Board President, and Octorara provides a quality education that will motivate people to pay higher taxes.
I understand now why Mr. Ganow did not include comparisons of test scores with other Chester County schools in his request. He knows the answer, and he knows what the response will be if the school district put it in black and white.