2016 SCHOOL PERFORMANCE PROFILE
PDE/Stakeholder Focus Points
In 2015, many Pennsylvania schools did not have an SPP score due to a yearlong pause in the calculation of scores. The federally-approved pause was put in place to mitigate the unintended impacts of changes in student performance on the newly aligned PSSA.
The SPP uses a formula that is heavily dependent on standardized test scores.
Pennsylvania recently aligned its standardized testing system to the new, more rigorous PA Core Standards. Schools and students remain in transition, but performance is trending in the right direction.
The 2016 SPP scores are the first to be reported after that pause and the first to reflect student performance using the more rigorous PA Core Standards.
While student performance on the PSSA and Keystone Exams improved from 2015, on average student scores have not fully rebounded to pre-PA Core levels. Therefore, 2016 SPP scores still reflect a decline in PSSA scores.
As improved resources and practices are instituted in our classrooms, student performance on the PSSA is anticipated to grow. Improved student performance on standardized assessments will have a positive impact on future SPP scores under the existing formula.
Data provided to the PDE by SAS-EVAAS, the Department’s contractor for the PA Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS) reporting for Pennsylvania’s Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and used to calculate 2016 SPP scores, was missing growth measures for students with Individual Education Programs (IEP) who took the Keystone Exams.
There was no impact on the scores of any schools that do not administer Keystone Exams.
After the data discrepancy was identified, PDE worked closely with SAS-EVAAS to take the steps necessary to review all the data provided to the Department, and to quickly make corrections, and calculate new SPP scores, where required.
PDE elected to suppress all SPP scores for efficiency, accuracy, and transparency. The Department acted as swiftly as possible to ensure that incorrect scores for some schools did not remain posted.
Roughly half of the approximately 1,200 schools that administered Keystone Exams, saw no change to their overall SPP scores resulting from the data corrections.
Of schools whose SPP scores changed, the overwhelming majority saw changes of less than one point (out of 100); approximately 10 percent of schools that administered Keystone Exams experienced an increase or decrease of one point or more on their overall SPP scores.
Ensuring the accuracy of the data PDE shares with the public is paramount, and the Department understands that when it comes to data quality there is no room for error.
PDE demands that its contractors have data quality procedures in place and will continue to revisit those processes to ensure the Department's high standards are consistently met.
While the Department understands that mistakes can occur, failures by contractors to provide the Department with accurate data lessen the public’s confidence in the Department and threaten the credibility of the information PDE shares with communities across the state.
Supporting schools, students and communities is the Department of Education’s top priority, and we know collecting, synthesizing, and releasing accurate data is essential in meeting that objective.
The public depends on the Department to provide timely, accurate, and reliable data on the performance of local schools and students, and as such the Department takes data quality issues seriously and believes a swift and transparent response best serves our schools and communities.
SPP and the TRANSITION to ESSA
The SPP can be used as a tool to provide parents and communities with information about public school performance, and present them with some measures used to evaluate academic achievement.
The current SPP is still required to provide teacher-level data, as required by Act 82, and to provide information used in determining federal accountability status for Title I schools as required by the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The SPP is just one indicator of school performance and student success, and the SPP uses a formula that is heavily dependent on standardized test scores. The Department, under the direction of the Wolf Administration, is currently working to improve the SPP by engaging in discussions with field experts and stakeholders.
The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to develop a system to assess the performance of public schools. PDE is working with education stakeholders to ensure that school measurement/accountability under ESSA is comprehensive, fair, and valid.
At Governor Wolf’s direction and under Secretary Rivera’s leadership, the Department launched an extensive outreach strategy to engage education stakeholders on how to make the SPP a more holistic measurement tool for schools and communities.
Over the past year the Department conducted more than 30 feedback sessions across the state soliciting input from over 1,000 stakeholders - including school administrators, teachers, parents, industry leaders, higher education officials, and policy makers – to discuss ways to develop a more holistic SPP.
The Department looks forward to continuing to collaborate with you - our stakeholders - in working with lawmakers to adopt and implement a better measure for our schools and communities.