Pittsburgh Business Times has compiled the statewide rankings of PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Exams) test performance for the last six years. The PSSA results come from the Pennsylvania Department of Education website. Raw results can be found at www.pde.state.pa.us — click on ‘Data and Statistics, then ‘PSSA’. The survey ranks the 500 school districts in the state based on the PSSA performance. The rankings do not denote the overall quality and performance of the school district, only the PSSA scores.
Once again, for the sixth straight year, the Upper St. Clair School District in Allegany County (Pittsburgh suburbs) held on to its top spot as highest-scoring school district in Pennsylvania on state standardized tests.
There is good news for T/E School District – for the second year in a row, TESD landed No. 2 on the list of highest-scoring PSSA school districts. In the Philadelphia regions, in addition to TESD, four other school districts are in the top 10 in terms of performance. Here are those results:
- Tredyffrin-Easttown School District in Chester County (No. 2)
- Unionville-Chadds Ford School District in Chester County (No. 3)
- Radnor Township School District in Delaware County (No. 4)
- Lower Merion School District in Montgomery County (No 7)
- Central Bucks School District in Bucks County (No. 8)
Neighboring Great Valley School District in Chester County was listed as No. 13 on the list. Downingtown School District’s PSSA performance is No. 28. Upper Merion School District in Montgomery County is No. 68. Phoenixville School District in Chester County was listed as No. 68 in 2010 and dropped to No. 85 on the PSSA performance list.
Looking at the bottom of the performance list, I was curious to see if any Philadelphia region school districts were on the list. Interesting to note the following:
- Pottstown School District in Montgomery County (No. 461)
- Norristown School District in Montgomery County (No. 475)
- Philadelphia School District in Philadelphia County (No. 484)
- William Penn School District in Delaware County (No. 488)
- Chester-Upland School District in Delaware County (No. 496)
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Hellooooo! What have I been sayin? I wonder how the “Open season on the public schools” crowd will twist this around?
And no, test scores alone are not everything. However, by any other measure, T/E is a fantastic school district.
Yes John Petersen, but you must give credit to where credit is due. Out of over 500 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Tredyffrin / Easttown School District placed Second!
Even you must agree that this is truly a remarkable feat. Let us recognize those who were responsible for this amazing accomplishment, including some who you have frequently maligned: (1) the Teachers; (2) the Teachers’ Union; and, (3) T/E School Board’s Past and Present.
These test results represent incontrovertible proof that the T/E School District must being doing something right.
With these test results, we the residents of Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships can join the denizens of Lake Wobegon in boasting that all of the children are above average.
Parents too? Got to credit a good gene pool and will to succeed and to teach your kids about the importance of studying and learning something every day.
Guess a group effort in a commitment to excellence.
“(2) the Teachers’ Union”
How exactly does the teachers union become responsible for this? The union negotiates contracts. The teachers who excel at their jobs teach the students, not the union.
I agree with flyersfan as well. Parents make a MASSIVE difference here. This area has a somewhat harmonious home life style when it comes to fostering a good education. In this area, at least one parent in most homes is higher educated and makes a decent living. Attitude towards encouraging excellence in learning, is not a myth around here.
I have friends who teach in school districts in areas where the parents don’t care, and guess what? Their kids don’t care either. School is just a place they have to be.
We also compare quite favorably on those “kinds of issues that are not measure by PSSA”.
By the way, we have been #1 in the past – one year during my time on the school board.
And I agree with the comments (Mr. Roboto above – thanks!) about this being a community effort – parents, teachers, school board members, students, and taxpayers/voters who have (despite frustration with property taxes) consistently supported quality public education over the years are all part of the success story.
Do we have issues? Hell yes. But they are the same issues shared by every school district in Pennsylvania.
John, Harrisburg doesn’t have answers. What are your answers? You have been rough as I recollect on teachers union, and school boards. So both sides get squashed by you. Fair enough. How would you fix the financial mess? It would be great if you would be the hero and solve the problem. I would be the FIRST to congratulate you. Count on it!
I’ve added the 2008-09 spending per student to Pattye’s list.
#2 TE $15,491
#3 UCF $15,688
#4 RTSD $19,191
#7 LM $25,713
#8 CB $12,689
I think every school board should be planning a trip to Central Bucks to see how they provide an excellent education at a low cost.
Hint: they employ fewer teachers
Economies of scale? 3rd largest district in the state….
Central Bucks is a suburban school district located in the heart of Bucks County, with administrative offices in Doylestown, the county seat. The district includes nine municipalities: the Boroughs of Chalfont, Doylestown, and New Britain; and the Townships of
Buckingham, Doylestown, New Britain, Plumstead, Warrington, and Warwick. Central Bucks has an area of 122 square miles and a population of over 101,000.
Currently CB is the third largest school district in the state. Just over 20,000 students are educated in our fifteen elementary, five middle and three high schools. An award-winning staff development program and careful planning for growth have resulted in a very consistent and stable district, even with such a large student enrollment. PSSA test scores are highest in the county, 4th highest in the tri-county area and 6th highest in the state. 92% of CB students further their education at two and four year colleges, and CB has a graduation rate of more than 99%.
Kudos to Dr Waters
Economies of scale? No. Just fewer teachers and larger class sizes. I’ve added the classroom teachers per 100 students.
#2 TE $15,491 7.3
#3 UCF $15,688 7.1
#4 RTSD $19,191 8.2
#7 LM $25,713 8.7
#8 CB $12,689 5.9
Need to look at the special ed population…and aptitude isn’t tested.
Amazing how John can assume the statistics are limited in scope. But I’d expect nothing different from someone who is quick with criticism and handy at reaching conclusions with no information whatsoever.
Sorry, John, but you deserve that one.
I’m not sure what you mean when you say that I have pointed out that different districts use different criteria. I am sure I was not referring to the PSSA’s – those are state standardized tests, inteneded to apply the same criteria to all districts for evaluation of learning outcomes and comparison purposes. The key word is “standard” in the title. While not the only criteria by far, the PSSA’s are one measure of the quality of a district.
Let’s not get crazy about PSSAs alone…after all, it means we are all doing a great job of teaching to the test. For a district like TESD, it’s great to see the success, but not so sure that’s the metric of great learning.
So what programs should we cut?
then again, what is the bar exam?
“What is the bar exam”? All the prep courses and school lectures and recitations? Sounds like prepping to take the exam
So – if the PSSA’s were among the lowest in the state, would you be saying they don’t really matter? Nope – everyone on this blog knows your MO – you would use that fact to criticize the district.
Do you stay on this board to contribute or annoy? You say its about what you actually do, actually deliver that counts. Does that include criticism and nothing constructive? Can you start giving us more than your dime store analysis of what someone else is likely to do? Predicting an EIT isn’t exactly rocket science. Can you give us some facts and figures about what an EIT would produce, for who and for what? and how much? I came here looking for information on this topic guys.
Anyone read the article in today’s Inquirer regarding the PA Dept of Education’s new PVAAS (Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System) ? It measures the academic growth of schools districts relative to the state average. It’s interesting in that it measures the academic progress of students over time, not learning by rote-memorization such as the PSSA.
PSSA high scoring districts such as T/E wouldn’t necessarily at the top of the list using this measure because most of the students are already performing grade level. The highest scores would be given to those schools whose students go from an F to a C, not from an A- to an A.
PA Secretary of Education, Ron Tomalis also states that in the future, this sytem will also be used to measure teacher performance and “pay-systems that reward high-achieving teachers” . How would this affect teachers in already high performing school districts such as T/E?
Christine said, “It’s interesting in that it [PVAAS] measures the academic progress of students over time, not learning by rote-memorization such as the PSSA.”
Actually, the PVAAS uses PSSA scores from successive years to measure academic progress over time.
From the Pa Dept of Ed website:
What is PVAAS?
PVAAS is a statistical analysis of PSSA assessment data, and provides districts and their schools with progress data to add to achievement data.
Christine asked, “How would this affect teachers in already high performing school districts such as T/E?”
Teachers in high performing districts like TE are not necessarily more effective than teachers at low performing districts. The reason we’re not sure is that, in the past, there was no way to separate teacher performance from all the other factors that contribute to learning. (e.g. poverty, parental education) PVAAS gets us closer to measuring teacher performance.
Some states are already using Value Added Assessments to grade teachers. The LA Times published teacher “grades” for LA teachers and created controversy.
As you might guess, the union hates Value Added Assessments (imagine teachers getting grades rather than giving them) and you’ll notice that PVAAS only has scores for districts and schools. Teacher ratings will be coming soon.
How does this differ from Annual Yearly Progress? TE has always assessed the achievement levels by grade/class — i.e., they track the 3rd graders through the system, but for many districts, where there is huge turnover in the student body, it sets them up for distorted results.
The danger of teacher ratings like this is as obvious as the benefits could be — it’s still about aptitude and attitude. The whole notion behind NCLB is that a good teacher can raise the bar for any child. I have always said a good track coach could no doubt teach me to run a 5 minute mile. Or not.
Interesting article — probably worth following for those looking for out of the box solutions going forward.