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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 1, 2018 12:51 PM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: School Summative Scores and Online Accountability
I plan to introduce legislation in the near future to ensure that parents, students and taxpayers continue to receive information to assist them in making informed comparisons and decisions about the performance of their schools. There are currently multiple programs in place designed to provide the public with information and accountability. If you navigate through the Department’s website, you will find a web page on assessment and accountability, a page on test scores, a page on school performance profiles, and pages for other data and statistics including links to the financial information required under the SchoolWatch program. I believe it should be easier for stakeholders to find this important information.

The current School Performance Profile (SPP) for example is designed to provide parents with performance measurements for school of residence, neighboring schools, and schools across the state, and to inform the public of the academic performance measures of each district, school, comprehensive career and technical center, cyber charter and charter school in Pennsylvania. The SPP contains information as to both academic performance and teacher effectiveness.

Pennsylvania’s plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act is to create another reporting system and an additional performance index. Since we already have multiple data reports at multiple locations, I believe it is time that the public have an easily manageable location to find the information it needs. We need to make sure we do not take a step back from transparency and accessibility, as we transition into this new plan for the federal government,

Also, the ESSA plan’s new index with regard to federal accountability requirements--the “Future Ready PA Index--will apparently not contain a summative score, although the SPP will continue to require one. One of the most popular parts of the current School Performance Profile is that families are provided easy to understand summative ratings for schools. Act 82 of 2012 requires that the SPP include a summative building level score as part of the educator effectiveness system. Very few states have proposed a dashboard system that does not also include summative scores. I believe having multiple indexes, some which do not have summative ratings, will create confusion. Summative ratings and dashboards are complementary tools, not distinct choices, and using both increases transparency and accountability.

My legislation would establish in statute the current Student Performance profiles webpage, as a single location to access all accountability measures, in addition to publication on district websites. The page will include the new ESSA index, and will require all reported indexes to provide summative scores to stakeholders.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to ensure parents and the public continue to be supplied with easy access information necessary to analyze school and district performance.

Introduced as SB1198