Check the English and math scores for your Philadelphia school on the most recent state tests

State test scores for Philadelphia students are slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to new data. However, most students are still not proficient in English language arts, math, and science. The scores also highlight ongoing performance gaps among different student groups.

The latest scores, released on Wednesday, reveal that Philadelphia students continue to perform far below their counterparts in the rest of the state. While there have been small gains compared to last year, the majority of students are still not proficient. The scores also indicate that Philadelphia has a long way to go in meeting the school board’s academic targets.

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) results for grades 3-8 demonstrate significant disparities between white and Asian students and their Black and Hispanic peers in both district and charter schools. These disparities are particularly evident in math, with only 9.3% of Black students scoring proficient or above, compared to 44% of white students. Similarly, only 11% of Hispanic students scored proficient or better, while nearly 53% of Asian students achieved the same.

Additionally, in math, only 15% of economically disadvantaged students, who represent over two-thirds of all city students, scored proficient or better. For the 2022-23 school year, 34.2% of Philadelphia students in grades 3-8 scored proficient or better in English, 20.4% in math, and 41% in science.

In the previous school year (2021-22), the proficiency rates were 34.7% in English, 16.2% in math, and 37.1% in science (excluding charter school students’ science scores).

Despite the challenges, Philadelphia’s scores indicate that students are gradually regaining their pre-pandemic performance levels. In 2019, 21.6% of students scored proficient or better in math, while 35.7% were proficient in English. However, the district and school board have set higher goals for the future. They aim for 52% proficiency in math and 65% proficiency in English by 2026 for students in traditional district schools, grades 3-8.

Statewide, there has been a slight increase in English proficiency from 54.1% in 2021-22 to 54.5% in 2022-23. Math proficiency scores rose from 35.7% to 38.3%, and science scores increased from 54.4% to 58.9%. It’s important to note that 2021 scores may not directly reflect pre-COVID results due to the test administration disruptions caused by the pandemic.

“This year’s assessment results underscore what we have said before — that with each passing year, participation and achievement will continue to improve,” said Secretary of Education Khalid Mumin. “Pennsylvania’s results are well on their way to returning to pre-pandemic rates, and we look forward to helping our students exceed those levels in the years ahead.”

Although a higher proportion of white and Asian students demonstrated proficiency on state exams, there remains a significant disparity in the lowest scores as well. In English, 13.9% of white students in grades 3-8 scored below basic, compared to 29.4% of Black students, 33.4% of Hispanic students, and 9.6% of Asians. The percentages were 14.1% for multi-ethnic students and 27.7% for economically disadvantaged students.

In terms of math, the differences are stark. Overall, 57% of students in grades 3-8 scored below basic. This included 32.6% of white students, 69% of Black students, 66% of Hispanics, 22% of Asians, 45.4% of multi-ethnic students, and 45.4% of economically disadvantaged students.

District officials and board members acknowledged the small improvements from the previous year but emphasized the need for further work. Tonya Wolford, the district’s chief of evaluation, research, and accountability, highlighted the incremental nature of progress, stating that students are unlikely to move from below basic to proficient in just one year. She emphasized the importance of providing students with adequate time, resources, and support.

The district has set a goal for 62% of third graders to achieve proficiency in reading by 2026. However, only 31.2% of third graders scored proficient or above on the PSSA in 2022-23.

Philadelphia students also lag behind their statewide peers on Keystone exams, a standardized assessment for high school students in literature, biology, and algebra. Only 25.1% of city students demonstrated proficiency in algebra, compared to 34.2% statewide.

Carly Sitrin is the bureau chief for Philadelphia. Contact Carly at .

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