At yesterday's public hearing, PURE Reform presented charts comparing State of Pennsylvania and City of Pittsburgh PSSA scores over the past four years. The complete presentation including charts is at http://www.purereform.com/test_091409.html
From PURE's report:
First, it is interesting how city scores and state scores tend to follow the same trajectory, rising and falling from year to year by similar percentages. In other words, each time the scores went up or down in the PPS, these results were nearly identical in the statewide results. This pattern raises the question of whether tests are easier or more difficult in particular years. We will be following up on that question.
Second, we all know that urban school districts tend to have lower levels of proficiency than the state average. However, we were interested in how the PPS is doing in closing the gap between local and state scores. What we found is that for most grades the gap has pretty much stayed the same or grown. Out of the scores evaluated from 2004-05 to 2008-09, only four comparisons showed any decrease in the gap between PPS and statewide scores while ten comparisons showed no change or an actual increase in the gap. These findings make it clear that we have much work to do to ensure that our students are prepared to be competitive in an increasingly competitive job market.