Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Downward spiral?

Monday' s PPS press release quotes the PA Secretary of Education as stating:

"Six years ago it appeard as though Pittsburgh schools were in an irreversible downward spiral."

However, reports from 2003 and 2005 do not seem to show a downward spiral.

See this RAND report for 1997-2002 page 17 showing an upward trend in PPS scores and a narrowing of the gap between PPS and state PSSA scores:

See also this 2005 report by the Council of the Great City Schools (page 24):

It would probably be helpful to compare progress between 2001-2005 and 2005-2009, also taking into account demographic changes that may have taken place during that period.


Anonymous said...

The "downward spiral" quote was repeated in a Post Gazette editorial today.

Parent said...

If you look at a lot of the scores, 2006 PSSA scores were often (not always) a high point and many scores went down the next year and have just about clawed their way back to around...where they were in 2006.

Interestingly, 2006 was the last PSSA with "old curriculum" before the new reading series in elementary schools and before Kaplan was phased in.

Has anyone looked at whether the 3 years that HS students can use the online Kaplan test prep has aided SAT scores? How much do we pay for that?

My impression is that it would be more useful if it were, say, assigned!

Questioner said...

Since the district did make AYP, maybe when we receive a complete explanation we'll find that it was more a result of moving students out of below basic to basic than moving students to proficiency.

parentone said...

I believe SAT Prep using the Kaplan program was a class available at Carrick 2008-2009.