Pennsylvania delays use of PSSA scores to measure school performance

Partners Post, September 2015

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf's administration announced that Pennsylvania received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education to delay the use of PSSA scores in the PA School Performance Profiles.

The administration requested the waiver in order to address multiple issues surrounding Pennsylvania's new accountability measures, new standardized tests, and new cut scores.

High stakes testingMany school districts across Pennsylvania are still working to implement the PA Core Standards into classrooms, which means some students were tested on material that has not yet been covered in their classrooms. See "What this year's PSSA scores mean (and what they don't)" in the August issue of Partners Post for more details.

How the delay affects schools: Elementary and middle schools that administer the PSSA will not receive a School Performance Profile for the 2014-2015 school year.

High schools, which only administer Keystone Exams, will receive a School Performance Profile score for 2014-15 as scheduled. Scores will be released in the coming weeks.

Possible change on the horizon: The Pennsylvania Department of Education plans to use the one-year delay to study the School Performance Profiles and changes that could make them a more comprehensive measure of school and student performance.

While the one-year delay is a good start, many educators believe that more time may be needed to fully realign curriculum.

State lawmakers are also considering a proposal to delay the use of Keystone Exams as a high school graduation requirement for two years. The proposal passed the state Senate in June.



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