Widener Partnership Charter School Performance Misrepresented in Inquirer Article

A story in the July 17 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chester Schools have a tireless advocate” erroneously reported that the Chester Upland School District was handing out pamphlets stating that district students outperform Widener Partnership Charter School students in standardized tests for third through eighth grades.

The information handed out by the district does not state this. A chart of the 2011-12 PSSA results provided on the district's own website (http://bit.ly/1aUv9Nk) shows that Widener Partnership Charter School:

  • Outperformed all schools in the district in 5th and 6th grade reading.
  • Outperformed all schools in the district and 6th grade math.
  • Outperformed a majority of schools in the district in 4th grade reading.
  • Outperformed a majority of schools in the district in 5th grade math.
  • Outperformed a majority of the schools in the district in 4th grade writing (not shown on CUSD chart).
  • Outperformed a majority of the schools in the district in 5th grade science (not shown on CUSD chart).

In addition, there were no 7th or 8th graders in the Widener Partnership Charter School to which to compare scores. Seventh graders took the test for the first time this past spring, and those scores have not yet been released. Eighth grade doesn't start at the charter school until this fall.

We are encouraged by the efforts of the Chester Upland School District to improve the quality of education it provides. Widener University has been working with the district and on behalf of young people in Chester to achieve this goal, and the university will continue to seek opportunities and partnerships to make this a reality.