Ed Affairs Committee Presentation October 2021
Acting Superintendent Dr. Nancy Hacker presented Pennsylvania Statewide Systemic Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone data results from the past five years. Six principals and the Glenside math specialist commented on the measures being taken in their schools to focus on and boost student performance. Measures discussed included critical professional development in reading, writing, and mathematics, use of teacher professional learning communities and grade-level meetings for collaborative discussions of student needs and common assessments, increased opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving, increased practice in open-ended math questions, utilization of intervention and support periods, increased focus on individualization and greater student engagement, and implementation of numerous standards-aligned resources, digital and in print, to support work with students.
Key takeaways from the review of this extensive data, as shown in the presentation are:
1. The number of students who participated in taking these assessments in 2020-21 decreased sharply compared to pre-pandemic. When looking at scores, this lower population of test-takers should be taken into account.
2. English/Language Arts scores in CSD, similar to what has been a trend across the state, continue to remain higher than math performance on the same assessments.
3. The Science assessment, given only in fourth and eighth grades, resulted in high scores in fourth grade, and then declined in eighth grade. Scores in the end-of-course Biology assessment remain low.
4. Racial disparities in student performance continue to show that white students outperform all other racial and ethnic groups on the PSSA and Keystone in all grade levels.
5. Algebra I performance in middle school remains high as the result of the option to take either the standard course of mathematics or Algebra. Those who take Algebra tend to perform better in math.
6. Those who wait to take Algebra in high school tend to do significantly worse on the Keystone assessment in Algebra.
7. Special education student performance tends to lag behind that of general education students.
8. Overall, performance on the PSSA and Keystone exams has remained steady over time, excluding the pandemic year of 2020-21.