Students do well on state assessment test

Most Northgate School District students are ahead of the grade when it comes to Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test results.

Assistant to the superintendent Kathleen Gallagher told school board members at their regular meeting on Monday that Northgate surpassed the state required percentages of students that are proficient or advanced in reading and math on the 2008-09 tests.

The state target for reading was 63 percent, and it was 56 percent for math, Gallagher said. She reported that, overall, 77 percent of Northgate students were proficient or advanced in reading, while 76 percent scored at the proficient or advanced level in math.

By 2014, the state wants 100 percent of students to be proficient or advanced in both subjects, according to Gallagher.

Gallagher, in a later interview, said that the district did have some trouble making the required percentages with special education students. She said that almost every district struggles in that area, noting that special education students take the same tests as all other students.

Gallagher said that Northgate special education students' scores improved last year, though, so that the district qualified for what the state calls a "safe harbor." She said that the safe harbor applies to schools that may not meet the state percentage requirements, but at least make a 10 percent increase in scores from the previous year.

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