State pulling academic scores for further review
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.”