Shaler Area School District received the 2014-15 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in September 2015, which will serve as the new baseline for the district.
Shaler Area students in grades 3 to 8 participated in PSSA testing in English Language Arts, mathematics and science (in grades 4 and 8) in spring 2015. For mathematics and ELA, this was the first year the tests were fully aligned to the PA Core Standards. Additionally, the cut off scores for the proficiency levels (advanced, proficient, basic and below basic) were reset to reflect the new expectations for students. As a result of the realignment and increase in the rigor of the test, student performance across the state has dropped in ELA and mathematics.
"This year's PSSA scores establish the new baseline from which we can most effectively measure student progress in future years," said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera.
At Shaler Area School District, our scores are above the statewide averages in many of our buildings, however, the scores still reflect a drop commensurate with the statewide predications.
Secretary of Education Rivera provided context for the new PSSA test:
- The State Board of Education adopted the new, more rigorous PA Core Standards in 2013
- The 2015 PSSA was a brand new assessment, aligned for the first time to the new, more rigorous PA Core Standards
- Performance level scores for the new 2015 PSSAs were adopted by the State Board in July and resulted in significant drops in student performance across the state.
"It isn’t useful to compare these student results directly to past results, because the tests are different," said Nicole Reigelman, Pennsylvania Department of Education press secretary. "Student performance hasn’t changed, but the test has changed considerably in some grades.”
Over the past several years, Shaler Area School District staff has been working to align the curriculum to meet the PA Core Standards and increase the level of academic rigor within our classrooms. Our goal is to continue to provide a well-rounded academic experience for our students and prepare them for post-secondary training and the workforce.
We encourage you to review the information attached on this webpage highlighting key points regarding the new test.
Because of these changes, the U.S. Department of Education approved a one-year waiver to pause using these scores to calculate the School Performance Profile scores.
The waiver means schools that administer the PSSA tests will not receive an SPP score this year and only schools that administer the Keystone exams will continue to receive SPP scores. At Shaler Area School District, the high school will be the only building to receive an SPP score.
In the absence of SPP scores this year for schools that administer PSSA tests, the scores will not be part of the evaluations of teachers and principals. Evaluations will continue to include student growth scores.