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					PSSA: Pennsylvania
 System of Schools
    Assessment
    Robert Valeria
                           Purpose
   To improve student understanding of standards
    recognized by the state of PA, which will lead to
    improved PSSA scores.

   To accomplish this:
       1) We will first look at information about the PSSA—what is it
        and how is it scored. We can use this to improve scores.
       2) Then we will look at our scores from 2008 to see where we
        are.
       3) We will look at how our school compares with nearby schools.
       4) Finally, we will discuss ways to improve student
        understanding and their PSSA scores.
                     Contents
   General PSSA Information
       Tests (Math, Reading, Writing, Science)
       Scoring Breakdown
       Adequate Yearly Progress
   2008 District Results
   Comparison to Other Schools
   How to Improve PSSA Scores
  General PSSA
   Information
Pennsylvania System of School
         Assessment
          Origins of the PSSA
   No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is federal
    legislation that mandates that states
    assess schools to ensure that all students
    reach proficiency of high standards.
   Each state uses a state-designed test to
    assess student learning and
    understanding.
   Pennsylvania uses the PSSA (Pennsylvania
    System of School Assessment)
                   PSSA Tests
   Mathematics                   Reading
       Grades 3-8, 11                Grades 3-8, 11
       2009 Testing Window:          2009 Testing Window:
        March 16-27                    March 16-27


   Writing                       Science
       Grades 5, 8, 11               Grade 4, 8, 11
       2009 Testing Window:          2009 Testing Window:
        February 9-20                  April 27-May 8
                    PSSA Tests
   The tests seek to provide students, parents, schools, and
    states information about student and school
    performance.
   The tests are aligned with the Assessment Anchors in
    each subject. The anchors identify reporting categories
    and specific standards for each grade that should be
    taught and may be assessed on the PSSA.
   Each test is composed of multiple sections.
   Currently, the Mathematics and Reading tests are the
    only ones that are formally used to assess school
    performance (to determine if schools are making
    progress towards having all students reach proficiency).
                      PSSA Tests
   By 2014, the goal is to have 100% of students pass the
    tests. Currently, the benchmark in PA is 63% for reading
    and 56% for math.
   The mathematics and reading tests are given together.
    Each test has 3 sections and they alternate:
       Math – Reading – Math – Reading – Math – Reading
   The science and writing tests are given at different times
    in the year.
   Each section in the tests identify a suggested amount of
    time that the section should take. Students, however,
    can use as much reasonable time as needed.
              Scoring the Tests
   The items that are assessed to determine
    student and school performance are called
    ―common items,‖ because these items are the
    same on all tests.
   The tests also have field test items and equating
    items which are not the same. These items do
    not count in final scores. Field test items are for
    research. Equating items are aligned with
    standards from previous years. Students do not
    know which items are field test items or
    equating items.
                   Scoring the Tests
   On the common items, points are given in the following
    fashion:
       Multiple Choice (0 or 1 points)
       Open-Ended Questions
            Reading (0 to 3 Points)
            Math (0 to 4 Points)
            Writing (1 to 4 Points)
            Science – Open Ended (0 to 2 Points), Scenario (0 to 4)
   Totals are combined from all sections to get final raw
    scores. These results are converted to scale scores,
    which usually range from 700 to 2400
   Scaled scores are divided into four categories: Below
    Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced.
                   Scoring the Tests
   The cutoff scores for each category are different for test at different
    grade levels. For 2009, they can be found in the Assessment
    Handbook for PSSA at
    http://www.pde.state.pa.us/a_and_t/lib/a_and_t/2008-
    2009_assessment_handbook.pdf

   As an example, for Grade 7 Math, here are the cutoffs for 2009:
        Below Basic – 700 to 1182
        Basic – 1183 to 1297
        Proficient – 1298 to 1471
        Advanced – 1472 and up

   Students need to be at proficient to ―pass‖ the test.
        Proficient and Advanced – ―Pass‖
        Basic and Below Basic – ―Fail‖
      What do the Scores Mean?
   Below Basic – Limited understanding of the reporting
    categories and standards (Assessment Anchors) for that
    grade level and subject
   Basic – Student is able to complete simple or routine
    tasks dealing with the standards for that grade level and
    subject.
   Proficient – Student is able to use strategies to complete
    grade-level tasks dealing with the standards for that
    grade level and subject.
   Advanced – Student is able to use sophisticated
    strategies and shows in-depth understanding dealing
    with the standards for that grade level and subject.
     What do the Scores Mean?
   A student who has scored in below basic
    or basic has not reached proficiency level
    (passing) of the subject.

   A student who has scored in proficient or
    advanced has reached proficiency level
    (passing) for that subject.
        Math Test (Grades 3-8, 11)
   Three math sections are given, each approximately 20-
    25 questions. First group of questions are multiple-
    choice. At the end, there are open-ended question.
   First math section has several questions students must
    complete without a calculator. After these questions,
    calculators are allowed (no QWERTY keypad calculators).
   Formula Sheet is provided on the test for students to use
    (different for each grade).
   One or two open-ended questions (0 to 4 points) will be
    at the end of each section. Grammar is not evaluated.
    Directions are important in these questions. Examples:
       Show and explain all work
       Show or explain all work.
       Show all work.
          Scoring Math Open-Ended
                  Questions
   4 - The response demonstrates a thorough
    understanding of the mathematical concepts and
    procedures required by the task.
       The response provides correct answer(s) with clear and
        complete mathematical procedures shown and a correct
        explanation, as required by the task. Response may contain a
        minor ―blemish‖ or omission in work or explanation that does not
        detract from demonstrating a thorough understanding.
   3 - The response demonstrates a general understanding
    of the mathematical concepts and procedures required
    by the task.
       The response and explanation (as required by the task) are
        mostly complete and correct. The response may have minor
        errors or omissions that do not detract from demonstrating a
        general understanding.
          Scoring Math Open-Ended
                  Questions
   2 - The response demonstrates a partial understanding
    of the mathematical concepts and procedures required
    by the task.
       The response is somewhat correct with partial understanding of
        the required mathematical concepts and/or procedures
        demonstrated and/or explained. The response may contain some
        work that is incomplete or unclear.
   1 – The response demonstrates a minimal understanding
    of the mathematical concepts and procedures required
    by the task.
   0 - The response has no correct answer and insuffi cient
    evidence to demonstrate any understanding of the
    mathematical concepts and procedures as required by
    the task for that grade level.
           Scoring the Math Test
   2009 Mathematics Test
       60 multiple choice items that count (60 possible
        points)
       3 open-ended items that count (12 possible points)
       Total test has 72 possible raw points.


   Raw score is converted to scale score and placed
    in one of four categories: Below Basic, Basic,
    Proficient, Advanced
    Reading Test (Grades 3-8, 11)
   Three reading sections are given, each approximately
    20-25 questions.
   In each section, there will be 2-3 reading passages for
    students to read.
   Students will read passage and then answer several
    multiple-choice questions about it.
   Each section will include at least 1 open-ended questions
    (0 to 3 points). These questions will be after the multiple
    choice questions for a reading passage. Grammar is not
    evaluated. Directions are important in these questions.
       e.g. Often a set of directions may say for the student to provide
        a certain number of examples or instances of something from
        the story.
        Scoring Reading Open-Ended
                 Questions
   3 Points
       The response provides a complete answer to the task (e.g., a
        statement that offers a correct answer as well as text-based
        support).
       The response provides specific, appropriate, and accurate details
        (e.g., naming, describing, explaining, or comparing) or
        examples.
   2 Points
       The response provides a partial answer to the task (e.g.,
        indicates some awareness of the task and at least one text-
        based detail).
       The response attempts to provide sufficient, appropriate details
        (e.g., naming, describing, explaining, or comparing) or
        examples; may contain minor inaccuracies.
        Scoring Reading Open-Ended
                 Questions
   1 Point
       The response provides an incomplete answer to the
        task (e.g., indicating either a misunderstanding of the
        task or no text-based details).
       The response provides insufficient or inappropriate
        details or examples that have a major effect on
        accuracy.
       The response consists entirely of relevant copied text.
   0 Points
       The response provides insufficient material for
        scoring.
       The response is inaccurate in all aspects.
         Scoring the Reading Test
   2009 Reading Test (Grades 4-8, 11)
       40 multiple choice items that count (40 possible points)
       4 open-ended items that count (12 possible points)
       Total test has 52 possible raw points.
   2009 Reading Test (Grade 3)
       Only 2 open-ended items that count (6 possible points)
       Total test has 46 possible raw points


   Raw score is converted to scaled score and placed in 1
    of 4 categories: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced
    Writing Test (Grades 5, 8, 11)
   Four Different Sections, which include multiple-choice
    questions and writing prompts
   Multiple Choice: Students are presented with passages
    to read. Then they are given multiple choice questions
    about the passage. These questions may ask students to
    identify which parts are incorrect, not relevant,
    misspelled, etc. These are worth 1 point.
   Writing Prompts: Students are given a prompt and
    then given time to plan, write, and proofread essay.
    Grammar is evaluated. These are worth 4 points (1-4
    points may be given)
       Writing prompts may be narrative, informational, or persuasive.
   Usually given in February.
             Scoring the Writing Test
   2009 Writing Test (Grades 5, 8, 11)
       Holistic Domain (Focus and Content)
            2 writing prompts, each scored at 4 points each gives total of 8
             points. Total is multiplied by 10 to give 80 possible points)
       Conventions Domain (Grammar)
            12 multiple-choice items that count (12 possible points)
            2 writing prompts graded at 4 points each for grammar usage (8
             possible points)
            Total for conventions domain of 20 possible points)
       Total test has 100 possible raw points.


   Raw score is converted to scaled score and is placed in 1
    of 4 categories: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced
    Science Test (Grades 4, 8, 11)
   Two Sections in Grades 4 and 8. Three sections
    in Grade 11. Each section consists of multiple
    choice and open-ended items
   Four Reporting Categories: Nature of Sciences,
    Biology, Physical Sciences, Earth and Space
    Sciences
   Open-Ended questions are scored from 0-2
    points. Open-Ended Scenario questions (grade
    11 only) are scored from 0-4 points.
   Usually given in May.
         Scoring the Science Test
   2009 Science Test (Grades 4 and 8)
       58 multiple choice items that count (58 possible points)
       5 open-ended items that count at 2 points each (10 possible
        points)
       Total test has 58 possible raw points
   2009 Science Test (Grade 11)
       50 multiple choice items that count (50 possible points)
       6 open-ended items that count at 2 points each (12 possible
        points)
       3 scenario items that count at 4 points each (12 possible points)
       Total test has 74 possible raw points

   Raw score is converted to scaled score and is placed in 1
    of 4 categories: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, Advanced
        Adequate Yearly Progress
   A school is assessed in four categories:
       Attendance
       Graduation
       Academic Performance (PSSA scores on Reading and
        Math tests)
       Test Participation (students taking the PSSA at the
        school)


   The goal of NCLB is that by 2014, 100% of all
    students should be proficient on the reading and
    math tests.
         Adequate Yearly Progress
   Current target rates:
        Reading - 63% Proficient
        Math – 56% Proficient

   If a school does not meet this exact target rate, they can still meet
    AYP by using a confidence interval or safe harbor (showing
    improvement).
   The target rate will periodically increase until 2014.
   Schools must also meet the target rate in different groups if the
    group is large enough at the school. These groups include IEP
    students and economically disadvantaged students.
   Ex) A school may have 70% of all students pass the 7th grade
    reading test. The same school may have only 40% of all IEP
    students passing the test. This school has not met AYP in this
    grade.
2008 Hollidaysburg Area
 School District Results
     District Results in Mathematics
               AYP – 56%
                At Least     Below
                                     Basic   Proficient   Advanced
                Proficient   Basic
 All Students     82%         7%     11%       27%          55%
    Male          82%         8%     11%       24%          57%
   Female         83%         6%     11%       30%          53%
    White         82%         7%     11%       27%          55%
    Black         61%        17%     22%       22%          39%
  Latino/         76%         6%     18%       35%          41%
  Hispanic
    Asian         88%         0%     12%       16%          72%
     IEP         45%         33%     22%       21%          24%
 Economically     68%        13%     19%       27%          41%
Disadvantaged
     Mathematics District Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   82% of our students scored proficient or
    advanced. 55% of them scored advanced.
       This is a high percentage and shows that overall,
        most of our students are learning the material that
        they should.
   Very little difference between males and
    females.
   Gap between black and white is 21% for
    proficiency. However, sample size for black
    population is very small. There are not enough
    black students in any grade for it to be counted
    as a subgroup.
     Mathematics District Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   There are enough students with IEPs for
    there to be an IEP subgroup. We also
    have the subgroup of ―Economically
    Disadvantaged‖
   IEP students scored at a lower percentage
    than the AYP target—only 45% of IEP
    students scored proficient or above.
  Mathematics Results by Grade
         AYP – 56%
Grade   Below   Basic   Proficient   Advanced    At least      At least
                                                Proficient   Proficient in
        Basic                                   in HASD         State

 3       4%     9%        35%          52%       87%            80%

 4       7%     8%        26%          59%       85%            80%

 5       5%     12%       23%          60%       83%            73%

 6       9%     11%       22%          59%       80%            72%

 7       6%     8%        18%          69%       87%            71%

 8       6%     11%       25%          58%       83%            70%

 11     14%     18%       35%          32%       68%            56%
      Mathematics Grade Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   All of our grades did better than the state
    average by at least 5%.
       87% of our 7th graders were proficient or
        above while the state average was just 71%.
        Performance seems to improve when students
        make the jump to junior high school between
        6th grade and 7th grade.
           District Results in Reading
                    AYP – 63%
                At Least     Below
                                     Basic   Proficient   Advanced
                Proficient   Basic
 All Students     79%         8%     12%       38%          42%
    Male          75%        11%     14%       36%          38%
   Female         84%         5%     11%       39%          45%
    White         79%         8%     12%       37%          42%
    Black         67%        17%     17%       22%          44%
  Latino/         88%         6%     6%        65%          24%
  Hispanic
    Asian         96%         0%     4%        40%          56%
     IEP         36%         42%     22%       25%          11%
 Economically     64%        17%     20%       40%          24%
Disadvantaged
       Reading District Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   Like in math, overall our students are doing very
    well. 79% of them scored proficient or advanced
    while 42% scored advanced.
       These percentages show that overall most of our
        students are learning the material that they should.
   9% more females scored at least proficient than
    males.
   Gap between white and black groups is smaller
    than the gap on the math test (12% gap in
    reading compared with 21% for math)
       Reading District Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   Like with the math test, the IEP subgroup
    is the one group that did not meet the
    target percentage. Only 36% of IEP
    students scored proficient or above on
    reading test.
        Reading Results by Grade
              AYP – 63%
Grade   Below   Basic   Proficient   Advanced    At least      At least
                                                Proficient   Proficient in
        Basic                                   in HASD         State

 3       9%     9%        62%          20%       82%            77%

 4       8%     12%       32%          48%       80%            70%

 5       7%     14%       47%          32%       79%            62%

 6       8%     16%       35%          41%       76%            67%

 7       11%    13%       33%          42%       76%            70%

 8       8%     8%        17%          67%       84%            78%

 11      10%    14%       38%          39%       76%            65%
       Reading Grade Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   All of our grades did better than the state
    average by at least 5%.
       79% of our 5th graders were proficient or
        above while the state average was just 62%.
       No increase between 6th and 7th grade like
        there is in math (move from elementary to
        junior high).
         Science Results by Grade
        (Not Counted Toward AYP)
                                             At least   At least
        Below
Grade           Basic   Proficient Advanced Proficient Proficient
        Basic
                                            in District in State


 4       2%     6%        31%        61%       92%        82%



 8      14%     22%       42%        22%       64%        53%



 11      6%     42%       36%        16%       52%        36%
        Science Grade Results
    Observations and Interpretations
   All of our grades did better than the state
    average by at least 10%.
       92% of our 4th graders scored at least
        proficient
       52% of our 11th graders scored at least
        proficient (compared with state avg of 36%)
HASD compared with Other
  Local School Districts
    Comparisons only deal with
  Reading and Mathematics PSSA
              tests.
    Local School District Comparison
          for Math Grades 3-5
           Percentage of Students that are At or Above Proficient

                                   Spring   Claysburg-
                HASD    Altoona                          Williamsburg   Bellwood
                                    Cove     Kimmel

All Students    85%      75%       82%        75%           78%          88%

    IEP         53%      45%       49%        45%           76%            -

 Economically
Disadvantaged
                75%      66%       71%        65%           72%          82%
    Local School District Comparison
          for Math Grades 6-8
           Percentage of Students that are At or Above Proficient

                                   Spring   Claysburg-
                HASD    Altoona                          Williamsburg   Bellwood
                                    Cove     Kimmel

All Students    83%      70%       75%        63%           60%          86%

    IEP         40%      29%       25%          -             -            -

 Economically
Disadvantaged
                65%      61%       59%        57%           57%          79%
    Local School District Comparison
          for Math Grades 9-12
           Percentage of Students that are At or Above Proficient

                                   Spring   Claysburg-
                HASD    Altoona                          Williamsburg   Bellwood
                                    Cove     Kimmel

All Students    69%      58%       56%        46%           37%          74%

    IEP         24%      13%         -          -             -            -

 Economically
Disadvantaged
                46%      41%       34%          -             -            -
     Mathematics Observations and
           Interpretations
   Our percentages of students passing are better than all
    the local school districts’ percentages except Bellwood-
    Antis. Bellwood’s percentages are slightly higher than
    our percentages.
   Our percentages are slightly higher than Spring Cove’s
    percentages and relatively higher than Altoona’s,
    Williamsburg’s, and Claysburg’s percentages.
   Some of the smaller local school districts have no
    percentages for IEP and Economically Disadvantaged
    because they do not have enough of these students for
    them to be considered a subgroup.
     Mathematics Observations and
           Interpretations
   Since these school districts do not have those
    subgroups, they do not affect them with AYP.
    We do have to have 56% of our IEP students
    reach proficiency because this is a subgroup at
    our school.
   Bottom Line: Our math program is helping to
    create students who know and understand key
    math concepts. We are one of the better schools
    in the area in regard to this.
    Local School District Comparison
        for Reading Grades 3-5
           Percentage of Students that are At or Above Proficient

                                   Spring   Claysburg-
                HASD    Altoona                          Williamsburg   Bellwood
                                    Cove     Kimmel

All Students    81%      66%       69%        63%           60%          78%

    IEP         42%      35%       26%        33%           42%            -

 Economically
Disadvantaged
                68%      56%       59%        51%           56%          67%
    Local School District Comparison
        for Reading Grades 6-8
           Percentage of Students that are At or Above Proficient

                                   Spring   Claysburg-
                HASD    Altoona                          Williamsburg   Bellwood
                                    Cove     Kimmel

All Students    78%      68%       81%        63%           65%          85%

    IEP         25%      30%       34%          -             -            -

 Economically
Disadvantaged
                58%      57%       71%        57%           52%          76%
    Local School District Comparison
       for Reading Grades 9-12
           Percentage of Students that are At or Above Proficient

                                   Spring   Claysburg-
                HASD    Altoona                          Williamsburg   Bellwood
                                    Cove     Kimmel

All Students    76%      72%       67%        63%           44%          79%

    IEP         39%      29%         -          -             -            -

 Economically
Disadvantaged
                64%      62%       53%          -             -            -
        Reading Observations and
             Interpretations
   In grades 3-5, a greater percentage of our
    students reached proficiency than any of our
    neighboring school districts.
   In grades 6-8, the percentage of our students
    that made proficiency (78%) is slightly less than
    Spring Cove’s and Bellwood’s percentages.
   In grades 9-12, our percentage is 3 points lower
    than Bellwood’s percentage.
   In general, our percentages our relatively higher
    than those from Altoona, Claysburg, and
    Williamsburg.
      Grades 6-8 Observations and
            Interpretations
   Bellwood, us, and Spring Cove have similar
    results. Bellwood’s results are slightly higher
    overall and our results are slightly higher than
    Spring Cove’s results.
   The bottom line, however, is that our school is
    doing well in the reading curriculum. We need to
    make sure we continue to strive to reach 100%
    proficiency.
   We also need to focus on the IEP subgroup.
    Only 25% of our IEP students in grades 6-8
    were proficient (39% in grades 9-12).

				
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