(Oct 4) State public school scores to be released

By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette    October 4, 2013 12:07 am

With the scheduled release of state test results today, Pennsylvania will usher in a new way to rate public schools.

What will stand out most is a new academic score — a single number from 0 to 100, or up to 107 with extra credit — for every public school, including charter schools.

This is the closest Pennsylvania ever has come to giving schools a grade. There won’t be scores for school districts as a whole.

In addition to a number, academic scores also will be given symbols and colors.

Schools with academic scores below 70 will get downward triangles, colored yellow down to 60 and red below that.

Those at 70 and above will have more favorable symbols, a green square for a score of 70-79.9, a light blue upward triangle for scores of 80-89.9, a bright blue upward triangle for scores of 90-100 and a blue star for those above 100.

The academic score is part of a new School Performance Profile that will provide more detailed information on the up to 30 indicators that go into computing the score.

The scores and profiles will be important to each school’s public image, but they also will be used in other ways.

The building-level academic score will make up 15 percent of the input into teacher evaluations this year and principal evaluations the following year in nearly all school districts in Pennsylvania.

Some of the indicators used to compute the score will determine which Title 1 schools, which serve low-income children, get labeled “priority” or “focus,” identifying them as among the lowest performing Title 1 schools in the state.

While the old system counted math and reading tests, the new system counts not only math and reading but also science and writing.

The new academic score also puts more emphasis on the annual amount of growth in student scores, giving it as much credit as it does for the absolute test score.

Technically, the academic performance score is designed to have 100 points plus seven points for extra credit.

However, because certain data is unavailable this time around, there are no more than 85 points for the various indicators and, in some schools, as few as 42.5, at least temporarily, where full data won’t be ready Friday.

Even with today’s expected release, the final results won’t be in. For those whose growth data is excluded, the state will issue new scores in January.

Find the full article, here: State public school scores to be released Eleanor Chute, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/4/13


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