Mt. Lebanon Plans to Tighten Graduation Standard

Mt. Lebanon Plans to Tighten Graduation Standard

Mt. Lebanon’s school board is about to discuss a plan to make sure graduates have passed a minimum level of proficiency. Apparently, there is justifiable concern over a drop in the number of 11th graders demonstrating proficiency in math over the past few years. The plan is to require students who do not score a minimum grade on the state’s PSSA tests to take remedial courses and pass those before a diploma is granted.

While we support the notion of making sure graduates are minimally qualified, it seems a bit late to get worried about students who come up short in their junior year. A better plan would be to identify underperforming students upon entry to high school and begin working with them then. By the second half of junior year, at least 95 percent of students should score at the minimal level of competence deemed adequate for a high school graduate.

Still, it is encouraging to see the district being proactive about underperforming students. But here is a question the district should be answering. How is that with increased spending per student, lower pupil to teacher ratios and a purported dedication to quality education there was a substantial increase in the number of students failing to reach the proficiency level in math?

The district ought to be focused on that question. Sliding performance must always be a matter of supreme concern.