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Quakertown district’s state test scores still below pre-pandemic levels


Quakertown Community School District administrators and staff are scrambling to reverse a decline in state test scores from where they were before COVID closed schools across the country in March 2020.

While there were improvements among some grade levels on the PSSAs in English, math and science in the 2022-2023 school year compared to the previous two years, the overall scores for grades 3 to 8 are still significantly down from where they were before the pandemic.

Quakertown was one of the few public districts in the region that reopened in the 2020-2021 school year for in-person as well as online learning. Despite the hybrid model, scores are down significantly in math and language arts for grades 3 to 8 compared to pre-COVID results.

For the 2022-2023 school year, third-grade was the only grade that had a majority of test-takers (51%) rated proficient or advanced in math. English results were better, with a slight majority (51-59%) in grades 5 to 7 achieving proficient or advanced.

Only 28% of eight-graders scored proficient or advanced on the math section of the PSSA.

Prior to the pandemic, all grade levels from 3 to 8 were consistently 70% or higher proficient or advanced in the years 2016 to 2019.

District administrator Michael Zackon and others did note some bright spots: cohort growth in English and math scores from grades 3-6, and a 7% increase in English scores on the high school Keystone exam — but even that was 14% to 24% below pre-pandemic results.

Superintendent Matthew Friedman and Zackon told the Education Committee the district would be much more proactive, with quarterly meetings scheduled to review data. Zackon said Tang Math as well as small group instruction would be implemented to assist the lowest-performing students.

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Hoffman underscored students would be receiving interventions and specific groups would be targeted.

“If we can get some students who have historically been on the cusp, we can see some success there,” she said.

The district’s average SAT score was 1149 for the 2022-2023 year, well above the national average of 1050 but well below the 1500 or higher score most top universities require.

The district did not respond to a request for data comparing Quakertown to other Bucks districts.

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