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A report released by Pittsburgh Public Schools that includes the latest PSSA and Keystone exam results shows that African American third graders improved their English Language Arts scores by 10 percent over last year, from 34 percent to 44 percent in the proficient or advanced category.

However, that still put African American students almost 30 points behind the district’s White students, 71 percent of which grades at proficient or advanced.

The report prompted school Board Chair Regina Holley to call the results “unacceptable” at the Oct. 3 board meeting and to ask staff for data on what they are doing to eliminate the achievement gap.

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSAs) are conducted each spring for grades 3-8, with student performance categorized at four levels: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced.

The district’s analysis of the report shows that in some areas and for some grades, performance dipped in all racial sub-groups, and in others, rose in all groups. But the gap between levels of achievement for Black and White students persisted.

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