All of us want to see Academic Improvement: As a conservative on this BOARD, I want to see academic improvement within the context of a limited budget.
The conservative understands that the fact is; curriculum, and quality of faculty, constitute perhaps the most significant determiners of improving our academics;
What is academic excellence: To be well grounded in fundamentals, and basic ethics:
* We must teach students how to commit to diligent study.
* We must teach students how to pursue a personal success that exceeds the requirements of the state, a teacher, course or curriculum.
* We must teach students to develop a personal in depth knowledge and expertise.
* We must teach students how to read, write and speak with clarity.
* We must teach students to develop quantitative reasoning skills with practical application to solve problems.
* We must teach students to apply their skills and knowledge beyond the class room, to become our country’s new leaders. Enable each child to succeed in an ever changing world.
We use Key Performance Indicators to see the movement and predict the growth level with our Key Academic Results.
The Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
PVAAS growth measurements- Pennsylvania value added assessment system aligned with PSSA
4sight– bench mark assessment that is aligned to the PSSA standards; I believe these are replacing the PVAAS. (we will get clarification)
DIBL- dynamic indicators of basic early literacy skills.
IRLA– independent reading level assessment. We just started using IRLA as an early literacy assessment; this will I believe, replace the DIBL’s ( I will get clarification from Administration.)
CDT- curriculum diagnostic tests (still used in high school) aligned with Keystone. This is a Keystone Primer;
PSAT: this is the primer for SAT.
The Key Academic Results (KAR)
These are the end result of a course; of a school year of curriculum and teaching. Key meaning: that failure to improve these results, will mean limited or no academic improvement; failure to fully achieve our goals.
* What indicators are we using to assess the movement and predict the outcome of the GPAs?
* Colleges and Universities place a special significance on these. These are important to Mom AND Dad do as well.
The PSSA– State statute, defined by law for grades 3-8
The SAT and ACT – for students attending college. What indicators are we using for predicting SAT scores?
The Keystone Assessments– State statute, defined by law for students who finished Algebra 1 and 10th grade Biology and Literature
Note: The PSSA and the Keystone assessments are not aligned well with the GPAs and the SATs.
We also know that the PSSA and Keystone are the statutory minimum standards. In addtion, the Keystone Assessments are no longer a Graduation Requirement; so how effective is this result?
The KPIs we’re using are for moving the needle on the PSSAs and the Keystone assessments.
We are by definition teaching our children to reach up to the bottom.
We can’t we raise our performance unless we exceed the minimum standards.
The question is “are improving the rankings for the PSSA and Keystone assessments, really going to mean improved academics; or are we chasing our tail here…
What are we doing to move the needle on the GPAs and the SATs?
One indicator that we are not academically improving is our graduating students having to take remedial courses in college for something they should have learned in high school.
*The biggest culprit for college remedial courses is a student’s shortfall in Algebra II.
* You see the significance here is that many children forget the courses after a couple of years, and then they need a college remedial course to shore up. Parents pay for this! Remedial courses cost our families a lot of money and are indicative of our school districts failure to fully prepare our school children for college.
In archery missing the target is known as a sin.
It is a sin for children to have to take remedial courses in college, for that which they should have learned in high school.
Possible solutions to avoid remedial courses in Algebra II:
Once we determine our need we can then set forth to meet the need with changes to our curriculum. Then using Key Performance Indicators we can periodically review and with some precision, predict the end result.