EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, July 31, 2006

    Pennsylvania Education Policy Activity

  • The July 22 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin includes notice of action taken by the State Board of Education to approve new performance level descriptors, performance level cut scores and assessment anchor content standards for the PSSA, the state's assessment system. Cut scores, which define the range of points that correlate to the exam's advanced, proficient, basic and below basic performance levels, were established for the new reading and math exams that will be administered in grades 4, 6 and 7 and the new writing exams that will be administered in grades 5, 8 and 11. Performance level descriptors, which provide a narrative description of the advanced, proficient basic and below basic performance levels, were approved for these same exams. Additionally, minor additions were made to the descriptions for the current reading exam given in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11. Finally, Pennsylvania's assessment anchors were formally recognized as the state's academic content standards. Two sets of anchors were recognized, one developed in 2005 and a set of updated anchors that will go into effect in 2007. The approved anchors apply to reading and math for grades 3 through 8 and grade 11. For more information, see the Pennsylvania Bulletin at www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-29/1308.html.

  • The Omnibus School Code legislation enacted to implement certain funding line items in the 2006-07 state budget guarantees districts certain funding predicated on what was initially proposed by Governor Rendell in February. The July 29 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin includes publication of Basic Education Funding allocated for each school district as posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's (PDE) web site on February 8, 2006. For details, see www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol36/36-30/1450.html.

  • PDE has selected 78 schools to participate in the new "Science: It's Elementary" initiative. The General Assembly earmarked $10 million to support the program focused on improving elementary science instruction in FY 2006-07. A list of the selected schools is available at www.pdenewsroom.state.pa.us/newsroom/cwp/view.asp?a=3&q=120907.

  • PDE recently released its annual School Safety Report for the 2004-05 school year, which shows a decrease in fights, bullying, and assaults on students for the second year in a row. Previously called the School Violence and Weapons Possession Report, the new report includes additional data on incidents of student misconduct, fighting, drug, alcohol and tobacco offenses which were not previously reported. School safety data is available at the state, county, school district and school building level. Access the report at, www.safeschools.state.pa.us/mod/HistoricReports/2005/files/reports_frame.htm.

    The School Safety Report also includes the 2005-06 Persistently Dangerous Schools list. Students attending schools identified as persistently dangerous are eligible for public school choice under the No Child Left Behind Act. Ten schools were identified as persistently dangerous in Pennsylvania, all of which are in the Philadelphia School District. Access the list at www.safeschools.state.pa.us/mod/HistoricReports/2005/documents/PDS.pdf.

  • Datebook

  • This Week... A number of Governor's Institutes for educators take place this week. For a complete list, as well as information about other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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