WCSD Performance Profile results for 2016-2017
There are a number of ways to measure how schools are performing in their task of educating students.
There are standardized tests — the Keystone Exams for high schools and the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) for elementary and middle schools.
Then, there are some measures, like the School Performance Profile (SPP), that take those tests and combines them with factors like graduation rate, promotion rate, attendance, and academic progress.
The results for the 2016-2017 school year are now available. It will be the last year of a public SPP, according to Warren County School District Supervisor of Elementary Education Eric Mineweaser, as the state will be sending those results to districts, but not releasing them publicly.
Public or private, the evaluations provide fuel for the district’s efforts to better itself, he said.
“It’s just numbers if you don’t do anything with it,” Mineweaser said. The district has been using the data for years, but is taking more steps. “We did just create a district data team.”
The various scores are given to teachers to help them evaluate their performances. The scores for the incoming students are given to teachers to help them understand the needs.
Action plans are created by individual teachers and grade-level teams, Mineweaser said.
“We use data days. Before the school year even starts, we have those days on the calendar,” Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Rhonda Decker said. “They do progress monitoring based on the students’ needs. We look at what each student needs to be successful.”
“It’s been working really well,” she said. “At elementary, from focusing on it the last couple years, we’ve seen the difference that it’s made.”
Scores also factor into teacher and principal evaluations.
What the Keystone exam did not do was prevent a student from graduating. “When this was created, the state said students have to pass the Keystone exam to graduate,” Mineweaser said. “The past three years, they were putting a moratorium on the Keystone. The kids knew it.”
That is changing. “The current 10th graders do have to pass it to graduate,” Mineweaser said.
There are alternatives, but scores should improve as students are more motivated to pass.
In the county, the school with the highest SPP was Eisenhower Elementary with a 78.2. The lowest SPP score was 58.4 at Youngsville Elementary Middle School (YEMS). All of the other schools in the district, with the exception of Beaty-Warren Middle School (72.1) scored in the 60s.
From highest to lowest, the county’s scores by building are:
¯ Eisenhower Elementary School — 78.2;
¯ Beaty-Warren Middle School — 72.1;
¯ Eisenhower Middle High School — 69.4;
¯ Sheffield Area Middle High School — 69.3;
¯ Warren Area Elementary Center — 62.9;
¯ Warren Area High School — 61.8;
¯ Youngsville High School — 61.6;
¯ Tidioute Community Charter School — 60.7;
¯ Sheffield Area Elementary School — 60.1; and
¯ Youngsville Elementary Middle School — 58.4.
Scores in the 60s are common regionally.
The SPP results vary from 50 to 85. East Forest Elementary with an 85.2 and Corry Area Intermediate at 85.1 had the highest scores. Bradford Area High School scored an 80.2. Titusville Middle School had the lowest score with a 50.9.
The SPP is not capped at 100. At least one high school scored above that mark.
SPP information is available from paschoolperformance.org.
Detailed results of schools’ performances on the PSSA and Keystone are available through education.pa.gov.
Statewide, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 65.6 percent of students who took the Keystone exam — high school juniors — scored in the proficient or advanced range in algebra I. In literature, 72.7 percent scored proficient or advanced. And in biology, 63.4 percent.
The district’s scores are close to those — 59 in biology, 67 in literature, and 58 in algebra.
There are differences from school to school.
At Eisenhower High School, almost 77 percent of students were proficient in algebra, 70 in biology, and 76 in literature.
Sheffield’s scores were 74 in algebra, 55 in biology, and 75 in literature.
At Youngsville, 65 percent were proficient or advanced in algebra, 61 in biology, and 64 in literature.
Students at Warren Area High School were 61 percent proficient or advanced in algebra, 58 in biology, and 67 in literature.
At Tidioute Community Charter School, 60 percent of students were proficient or advanced in biology, 65 percent in literature, and 50 percent in algebra.
The Keystone scores are reported for the junior class, but students take those exams when they complete the courses.
There is much more detail for the PSSAs, because students in six grades take them.
Among third graders at Tidioute, 70.6 percent were proficient or advanced in math.
At all schools, there were deficiencies.
Fully half of the TCCS seventh graders scored below basic in math.
Seven out of 10 Beaty sixth graders were proficient or advanced in English language arts, while in eighth grade math, only 32 percent were in those categories.
Among fourth graders at Eisenhower, 84.5 percent of fourth graders, including 82.6 percent of students in historically underperforming groups, in science, and 69 percent in English language arts, scored proficient or advanced.
In seventh grade, 79.4 percent of Eisenhower students scored in basic or below basic in math.
There were no Sheffield fourth graders who scored in the below basic range in science and 69 percent were proficient or advanced. Of that same group, only 24 percent scored proficient or advanced in math.
At Warren Area Elementary Center, 74.7 percent of fourth graders scored proficient or advanced in science, 74.3 percent of fifth graders were basic or below basic in math.
Sixth graders at Youngsville scored in the proficient or advanced ranges in literature at a rate of 81.5 percent. In fourth grade math, only 21.5 percent were proficient or advanced.
“We get that some of them are not where we want them to be,” Mineweaser said of the district’s scores.
But, the scores allow the district to “look at those areas that we’re struggling and develop action plans,” he said. “We have so much data.”
Moving forward, schools will be judged on more than just test scores. “Now, state assessments are one piece of the whole puzzle,” Mineweaser said. “We also now have college and career readiness, attendance, graduation.”
“We have to start looking at attendance,” he said. “We have to increase our scores every year.”
According to the Every Student Succeeds Act, by 2030 the district has to cut the percentage of students not proficient or advanced in half.