State pulling aca­demic scores for fur­ther re­view

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Eric_Devlin on Twit­ter

The Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced Wed­nes­day it is pulling the aca­demic data from its school per­for­mance pro­file re­port card web­site for fur­ther re­view.

Ac­cord­ing to an email ob­tained by Dig­i­tal First Me­dia, school of­fi­cials from across the state were in­vited to at­tend a face-to-face meet­ing with state Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Pe­dro Rivera and Deputy Sec­re­tary Matthew Stem to dis­cuss the school per­for­mance pro­file data. At that meet­ing, the two men will pro­vide ad­di­tional back­ground in­for­ma­tion.

Three ses­sions will be held across the state in­clud­ing one to­day in Malvern at 1:30 p.m. at Penn­syl­va­nia Train­ing and Tech­ni­cal As­sis­tance Net­work East, 333 Tech­nol­ogy Drive.

In a state­ment, the Depart­ment

of Ed­u­ca­tion said it took down the scores af­ter it was alerted to a data ac­cu­racy is­sue with the Penn­syl­va­nia Value Added As­sess­ment Sys­tem scores, which are part of the school per­for­mance pro­file growth mea­sure. While it ap­pears only a small num­ber of schools will see “a mod­est change” on their school per­for­mance pro­file score, en­sur­ing the data be­ing pub­lished is ac­cu­rate was most im­por­tant. That’s why the depart­ment is tak­ing steps to cor­rect the data and cal­cu­late new scores.

“Sup­port­ing our 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 state­ment reads. “The depart­ment takes these is­sues se­ri­ously and be­lieves a swift and trans­par­ent re­sponse best serves our schools and com­mu­ni­ties.”

The school per­for­mance pro­file, ac­cord­ing to its web­site, pro­vides a build­ing level aca­demic score for ed­u­ca­tors, in­for­ma­tion used in de­ter­min­ing fed­eral ac­count­abil­ity sta­tus for Ti­tle I schools, in­forms the pub­lic of the aca­demic per­for­mance mea­sures of each school, com­pre­hen­sive ca­reer and tech­ni­cal cen­ter, cy­ber char­ter and char­ter schools and pro­vides re­sources to sup­port schools as they seek to im­prove aca­demic per­for­mance.

Af­ter word first broke at about 2:30 p.m. that the scores would be re­moved Wed­nes­day, su­per­in­ten­dents across the area gave mixed re­views to the news.

“It’s pretty un­fair,” said Potts­grove School District Su­per­in­ten­dent Wil­liam Shirk Jr. “We had tough con­ver­sa­tions at the cur­ricu­lum meet­ing. It’s dis­heart­en­ing to see that we’ve been forth­right and owned our score and have been dig­ging into how we can do more for our kids and then to have this come out? It does huge dam­age. I couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Some, like Spring-Ford Area School District Su­per­in­ten­dent David Goodin, said they were cu­ri­ous to learn what changes would be made and what would stay the same. Oth­ers, like Boy­er­town Area School District Su­per­in­ten­dent Richard Fai­d­ley, said they sup­ported Rivera and a re­view of the scores if the con­sen­sus was that a re­view was war­ranted.

“If there was some­thing the sec­re­tary thought needed to be re­viewed in depth cer­tainly I would want those scores re­viewed to make sure ev­ery­thing was done as thor­oughly and dili­gently as pos­si­ble so the in­for­ma­tion be­ing com­mu­ni­cated to the pub­lic and par­ents and mem­bers of the com­mon­wealth is com­pletely ac­cu­rate,” Fai­d­ley said. “If the scores are be­ing re­viewed for ac­cu­racy I sup­port that. It’s un­for­tu­nate they’re be­ing sup­pressed but I sup­port Sec­re­tary Rivera.”

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