Temple Times Online Edition
    November 1, 2006
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Partnership Schools show improved test scores

Partnership Schools

In February this year, students from Temple’s Partnership Schools — which are Duckrey, Dunbar, Ferguson and Meade elementary schools — visited the African American History Museum in Philadelphia during Black History Month. While keeping a focus on improving student achievement in reading and math, other programs help Partnership students grow in the context of family and community.

(Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg / University Photography)

The folks in Temple’s Partnership Schools group have something to celebrate: the improvement in student scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests.

According to the PSSA numbers, the four Partnership Schools — the Tanner G. Duckrey, Paul Laurence Dunbar, General George Meade and Joseph C. Ferguson schools — increased the percentage of students showing proficiency in reading by 8 points and in math by 18 points in the 2005-2006 school year.

When the University launched its reform initiative in the 2003-2004 school year, only 6 percent of Partnership students were proficient in math and only 10 percent were proficient in reading, said John DiPaolo, executive director for the Partnership Schools.

Now, 35 percent of the students are proficient in math, according to the most recent PSSA tests, and 24 percent of the students are proficient in reading. 

Students in the third, fifth and eighth grades took the PSSA tests, and it’s in the third and eighth grades that students showed the most improvement, DiPaolo said. It’s the first year that all four schools of the Partnership Schools have had eighth graders.

The School District of Philadelphia closed two neighborhood middle schools a year ago, so the Temple elementary schools grew to include sixth through eighth grades.  This first class of eighth graders performed better than they had in the middle schools, DiPaolo explained.

Much of the reason for this turnaround in test scores is that the teachers have hit their stride using Temple’s educational plan for its partnership schools, DiPaolo said.

“School staff have learned a lot and worked hard over the last three years,” he said.

“[The new scores] are the result of a steady application of our reform program for the schools.”

Since fall 2003, the percentage of students showing proficiency in math has increased by 29 points and the percentage of students doing the same in reading has increased by 14 points, DiPaolo said. Among Philadelphia’s Education Management Organizations, this improvement represents the highest increase in math, and one of the highest in reading, he said.


By Denise Clay




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