LIBERTY - A 23-point difference in math scores for North Penn High School in its Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests presented at last Monday's Southern Tioga School Board meeting is being explained by Superintendent Keith Yarger as a "mistake" he made in providing the preliminary scores to one of the two other people working with him on the presentation.
"It was the graphs that were incorrect in the report," Yarger said in a written statement.
One high school is set to close next year, either North Penn or Liberty. The latter consistently has scored higher than North Penn in its PSSA scores. The initial report was startling for 17-year-old senior Amanda Zeafla, who is at the top of her class at Liberty.
According to Zeafla, almost three-fourths of the scores had been changed to make North Penn's higher than the other schools, and only 29 percent were left the same.
The math score for North Penn was especially troubling, Zeafla said, showing a discrepancy of 23 points higher than it should have been - going from 34 to 57 percent.
Zeafla said her father, Ron, figured out that 51 scores could be verified as having been changed.
"Out of those 51 scores, only 15 were not changed or about 29 percent; 36 were changed, meaning a total of 71 percent of the scores originally presented were inaccurate; Eighteen out of the 51 were off by 1, making a total of 35 percent of all scores off by 1 and there was also 18 out of the 51 that were off by more than 1. One was off by as much as 23. I got all of my information from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. If you go to their site, you can find report cards for each school that breaks everything down by grade and subject, except for writing," she said.
According to Yarger, "what happened was that when compiling the reports, the information that was recorded in the graphs was the PSSA pre-final release by PDE, which is what many other school districts reported at their board meetings.
"This information I had at the same time the other superintendents had it, but knew that it would change with the PDE final release as it always does for the Southern Tioga School District. When compiling the information, I had two people make the report for me. I mistakenly gave the person making the graphs the pre-final release report and the person putting the information in the charts the final release report from PDE. In doing that, the pre-final release and the final release were and are different."
But it didn't take long for two seniors at Liberty High School to notice that something was off with the scores that appeared to make North Penn appear higher than the other two high schools - Liberty and Mansfield.
Yarger said in his statement that the PSSA-AYP scores that were presented at the board meeting on Monday in chart form that was handed to the school board and that was available for the public that was not in the graph form, was correct.
According to Yarger, the information has been changed and the board was emailed the corrected graphs. The information is on the district website, as well, for the public to see.
"For future years, instead of trying to make more colorful graphs and charts for the board and the community, I will simply be using the charts that PDE publicizes as to make certain that this does not happen again," Yarger added.