School accountability

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is holding schools accountable for student growth and success. This is being accomplished by measuring student, teacher and administrator performance differently than ever before. The changes that are in effect this year include a School Performance Profile rating for each school, a new model for Educator Effectiveness, new graduation requirements, and the implementation of PA Core Standards.

Pennsylvania, via a waiver approved by the US Department of Education, has developed a new accountability system to replace the No Child Left Behind system. The School Performance Profile is one aspect of the new state accountability system. This is a web-based resource that districts will use to align resources for school improvement. The profile will be used for accountability of Federal Title I spending, keeping the public apprised of school accomplishments and areas that need improvement, and will provide an academic score that will be used as part of the Educator Effectiveness System.

In order to support the development of more effective educators in the classroom as well as those in school leadership positions, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has implemented the Educator Effectiveness System. The overall goal is to improve student achievement so that all of the children in Pennsylvania’s public schools are prepared to directly enter a career or post-secondary training and become productive citizens. Measurement of professional performance will be based on classroom observation and practice, school specific data, individual teacher data, and other elective data. In addition, student and school level performance will factor into the evaluation process for teacher effectiveness.

Student performance on state assessments will also be used as part of the new graduation requirements. Beginning with the graduating class of 2017, students are expected to show proficiency on three Keystone assessments including Literature, Algebra I, and Biology. Schools are required to provide supplemental/remedial instruction for students who are not proficient on these exams. Students are not permitted to retest unless they complete the supplemental/remedial instruction. During students’ senior year after two or more unsuccessful attempts, they may complete a project based assessment in the content area(s) of need. The performance level for each of the three assessments will be listed on the student’s transcript.

In addition to Keystone testing, students in grades 3-8 will continue with the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) that will be aligned to the new PA Core Standards. These new standards mirror the content and rigor of Common Core, but reflect the organization and design of the PA Academic Standards. Teachers have been working over the past two years to align our curriculum to the PA Core Standards. The new core standards require higher order thinking skills that are more demanding of students.

We are undergoing monumental and mandated changes in education. The Warren County School District piloted many of these new state expectations to be more prepared for the required changes. Heightened accountability is welcomed and will certainly help us further advance the opportunities and achievement for the students of the Warren County School District.