BIDDEFORD – Revised high school assessment scores still show Biddeford High School students performing below state average across the board.

New results from Maine High School Assessment scores, based on SAT results and a separate science exam, show proficiency rates at 36 percent in reading, 34 percent in math, 33 percent in writing and 29 percent in science for 11th-grade students. This is down from last year’s results: 39 percent in reading, 37 percent in math, 39 percent in writing and 34 percent in science.

“It’s certainly better than it was the first time,” Assistant Superintendent Jeff Porter said, referring to flawed scores received in August. “However, it is below state average. Even against our own high school for the past several years, (scores) haven’t been where we’d like to be.”

Statewide proficiency scores averaged 50 percent in reading, 49 percent in math, 45 percent in writing and 44 percent in science this year. 

When the first version of assessment scores was received, school officials questioned why scores were significantly lower than last year’s school assessment and this year’s state average. In comparing the results with SAT scores received earlier this summer, officials noticed a large number of students were not figured into the assessment. 

The Maine Department of Education said 107 students were coded as “home-schooled” when Measured Progress, the testing company, first ran the results. These latest figures include those 107 students. 

While Porter hopes a strategic plan in place at the high school — which provides extra help for students who need it — will raise scores, he pointed out that the lower scores correspond with budget cuts and staff reductions. 

Districtwide performance dropped from 53 percent in 2008-2009 to 45 percent in 2009-2010. In the same years, Porter said money spent per student dropped from nearly $11,000 in 2008-2009 to $9,500 in 2009-2010.

“It’s not a practical situation. We’re trying to implement interventions (to improve scores), but we don’t have the staff to be there to help,” Porter said.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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