New Castle News

Schools

September 1, 2013

New Castle takes action on PSSA erasure issue

NEW CASTLE —  The New Castle Area School District has taken steps to reduce the number of erasures on its PSSA tests.

A matter of eraser marks noted on the 2012 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests was called to the district’s attention in a notification sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Superintendent John Sarandrea refused to provide a copy of that correspondence this week, saying he does not consider the notice to be public information.

The New Castle News has filed a formal request for information, seeking a copy of the notification.

In an interview late last month, Sarandrea said that contrary to a rumor, the district had not been accused of cheating on tests.

Rather, it was one of many school districts receiving notice from the state education department about multiple erasure marks on PSSA tests, which could be considered a flag.

“They wanted to let us know that in moving forward, they want to have protocols in place,” Sarandrea said, “that no teacher who instructs students at a particular grade level or course can proctor that test.”

That means the teacher of a specific grade and subject cannot be in the room while the students are taking their assessment tests in that subject.

The New Castle district remedied the problem by shifting teachers to different classrooms so they cannot proctor their own students, Sarandrea said.

“The department of education checked that, and sent someone in as a monitor,” he said. “They said they were very impressed with what they saw.”

Sarandrea said there were districts with more significant data showing erasures, and those were investigated. On that level, some educators and principals were dismissed.

“I suppose you could call it a heads up to make sure this isn’t a recurring pattern year after year.”

Sarandrea said the district has been notified of its “raw scores” for the 2013 PSSA tests and there are areas that still need to be addressed.

Attempts to reach a Pennsylvania Department of Education representative who receives reports of violations were unsuccessful.

Terence P. Meehan, administrative assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the notice was not a curriculum concern and he had not seen it. He said it is an administrative matter.

Last year, the district did not make adequate yearly performance on its PSSA tests.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Schools
  • money.jpg Up through the ground comes education cash

    Democrats running for governor seem to be competing to convince voters they will dip deepest into the pockets of gas drillers to replace $1 billion that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut from education spending.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg Charter school petitions court with signatures

    The New Castle Arts Academy Charter School has petitioned the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas for an appeal.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Schools wait years to receive state’s share of construction bills

    More than 200 school building projects are awaiting money from the state — in some cases months and years after they cleared all other hurdles of Pennsylvania’s approval process.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vo-tech staffers receive Pride and Promise awards

    The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s joint operating committee has presented Pride and Promise awards to two employees.

    April 1, 2014

  • Rich.jpg Official sorting out vo-tech finances

    Second of two parts: The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center is plowing through a financial quagmire with help from the Laurel School District.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Rich.jpg Overtime pay the crux of vo-tech forensic audit

    First of two parts: Lawrence County Career and Technical Center’s former assistant business manager allegedly logged overtime while on vacation, an audit report shows.

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Audit report details alleged discrepancies

    Forensic auditors examining Lawrence County’s vocational-technical school funds focused on overtime pay of the assistant business manager.

    March 26, 2014 1 Story

  • Audit shows more than overtime issues

    A forensic audit of the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center finances turned up more than alleged unauthorized overtime pay.

    March 26, 2014

  • Letter.jpg Our Opinion: Recording executive sessions will limit abuse

    Whenever governing bodies have public meetings, they often opt to conduct executive sessions.This is perfectly legal under Pennsylvania law — so long as the basic purpose for the executive session is explained to the public and so long as officials refrain from discussing matters in private that are required to be addressed in the open.

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • State sponsoring dog license poster contest

    The state Department of Agriculture is inviting  students to enter a poster contest about the importance of dog licensing. The contest is open to all Pennsylvania students of grades 1 through 6, enrolled in public, private or home schooled children. The entry deadline is April 30.

    March 20, 2014

House Ads
Poll

When will you start mowing your grass?

Been there, done that
Probably this week
Not until May
You mean, when will I HIRE someone to mow my grass?
     View Results