PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The news is not good when it comes to the academic achievement of students in Pittsburgh Public Schools. The A-Plus Schools’ annual report was released Monday.

Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane said the report confirmed a lot of what district officials already knew from the 2012 PSSA results, but it’s still hard to hear.

“It was disheartening; it was disappointing,” said Dr. Lane. “I felt bad for our staff, as well I felt bad for our schools and our families because so many people work so hard, and to not see the kind of results we wanted and planned for is tough.”

The racial achievement gap widened this year in reading – increasing 1.3 percentage points to 31 percent, and increased 3.6 percentage points in math to 30.9 percent.

The graduation rate is worse, decreasing from 70 percent to 68.5 percent.

The report also assessed whether each student at each grade level made a year’s worth of growth in achievement from the previous year.

In reading, 91 percent of seventh and eighth graders made a year’s worth of growth or more; but in fourth grade, only 58 percent made a year’s worth of growth.

In fifth grade, 61 percent made a year’s worth of growth; and in sixth grade, about 41 percent made a year’s worth of growth.

Also, the number of high school seniors who earned a 2.5 or higher grade point average dropped one percentage point to 58 percent of all students

And for African American students that number dropped four percentage points to 39 percent.

Dr. Lane says they have to find a way to address both the district’s fiscal issues and more importantly its academic issues.

“We can’t give up,’ she said. “We can’t not try to solve the issues we have, and figure out ways our kids can achieve. It isn’t going to be easy and it isn’t going to be simple.”

Even though there was a drop this year in terms of achievement, the schools are better off than they were six years ago. And the number of students enrolled in one or more advanced placement courses increased one percentage point to 15.2 percent.

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