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"MASH Advantage" boosts test scores at Meadville High

Submitted Tue, 09/25/2012 - 9:56am by Andy Alm

Test scores are on their way up at Meadville Area Senior High School.  After MASH appeared on a list of the state’s worst-performing schools last year, teachers implemented a plan they called the MASH Advantage, aimed at reversing the trend of below-average scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test.

“When we saw that, we were really disgusted with that list, and we were embarrassed, and we, as teachers said it’s time for us to take action.”

Joann Willison is a member of the teacher’s union that spearheaded the improvement effort.  Willison says since Meadville High implemented the MASH Advantage, Reading scores rose 8%, and Math scores improved 13% throughout the entire building.

“We basically said, we need to get our scores up, so that Meadville Area High School is in good standing with the state and the community, so that everybody is proud of what we’re doing at the high school.”

Those classified as Economically Disadvantaged improved 18% in Reading and 6.3% in Math.

Black students displayed a 12-and-a-half percent increase in Reading and 21% in Math, and Special Education students improved 6.7% in Reading and 11% in Math.

Acknowledging the school’s progress, Doug Mehok, a math teacher at Meadville High School, says even though the PSSA test is a key measure by which the state awards funding to Pennsylvania schools, it’s not always an accurate measure of a school’s performance.

“The PSSA is not a one-size-fits all.  We know everybody has their own ability and they all excel in different areas.  Some students excel in English, History, Science, or Math, and some kids excel, maybe not in any of those areas.  They might know how to take a car apart and put it back together, or they might be a great welder or a great carpenter.”

Other noteworthy happenings at last night’s Crawford Central School Board meeting included a presentation that made mention of the success of Meadville Middle School Students who participated in the recent French Creek Cleanup.

Meadville High School’s Comprensive School Plan was unanimously approved, as was an elementary wrestling program at Meadville schools.  During public comment, several citizens and board members lamented the ongoing naming controversy regarding the newly consolidated East End at Second District Elementary School.

And board member Frank Schreck praised efforts by Meadville Area High School teachers and students that resulted in significantly improved scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Tests in the 2011-2012 school year.

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