Friday, July 23, 2010

Release of PSSA scores delayed

PPS has announced that its release of PSSA scores, originally scheduled for July 29, will be delayed.


Anonymous said...

Wow, the conspiracy theorist in me says this cannot bode well for PPS. No big press conference? No principals and teachers talking up their achievement (and the guy from Carrick giving all credit to his principal)? How will I be able to sleep?

Anonymous said...

They probably just need more time to make the press conference bigger and glitzier.

Maybe hitting up the foundations for a little more money for extra confetti and bigger banners?

Anonymous said...

This for many reasons makes me go hmmm.

Anonymous said...

I know why-just wondering

Our superintendent has a real bad case of laryngitis and his doctor has ordered him he must not use his voice for ten days-he must rest-rest.

Mr. Gates cannot be available for that date July 29-his private jet is unavailable-he is leasing the Learjet out for the Clintons’ guests to attend their daughter’s wedding.

PPS was sent the wrong school District PSSA Scores-they have Philadelphia School District.

Governor Rendell and our state officials mistakenly cut the funding for the computer data systems that compute the PSSA scores-they gave the money for adding poker machines in the casinos.

Chancellor Rhee is giving pointers to our superintendent on how to use the appropriate negative language statements to get what he needs.

My dog Henry the IV ate them.

The Broadies at the Board cannot figure out a creative way to read and decipher the data scores using the growth model. They called in the Robotics team to answer their questions.

Steeler camp opens and our School Board members want to attend the first day of camp giggling, ohhing and ahhs!

Our female Board members are starting Steelers cheerleading camp on the 29th.

CAPA and Obama schools are unavailable because they have the Dreamers kids running around and they might scare the media with their chant-with some due named Eddie heading the barrage.

The state sent all our magnet school PSSA TEST scores to Erie School District.

Mr. Sumpter is unavailable he is going to be in Rome and he feels he can go up the leaning Tower of Pisa without an elevator...but will be able to return for August 3rd

The only school that is clean and available for the news conference is Westinghouse High School.

They are just saying this and they are keeping it a big secret-- they just do not want other to know about where it will be and fool us.

They do not like the fact we knew about it in the first place-and now they will reschedule so they are still in control.

WTAE is having a special day at Sandcastle so that conflicts with the media.

They asked Arne Duncan and President Obama to attend, they have precious engagements.

The Principals decided they want to be paid to attend the new conference and prefer to go to Sandcastle.

The Pittsburgh Foundation can not issue a check until after August 3rd-when Mrs. Heinz-Kerry is available to sign it..

Threy can not find one parent that is willing to attend.

They want to haves two single gender media events-to ilustrate the comprehensive ability of the dinle gender audience to digest their PSSA data element variables. and their interpretive intersections.

Anonymous said...

Wow, anon....I love the imaginative post. If it weren't so possible, I'd have laughed harder.

Anonymous said...

Individuals got their results about a month ago. My kid did not score proficient and I can no longer take the guilt of it and the sadness I feel thinking about how well he thought he did. Will there be a new scarlet letter to one day be worn by basic kids?

Anonymous said...

Students in PPS will never do as well as they or their teachers are led to believe by the interim/predictors (4Sight) which is not well-aligned to the thinking skills needed____nor is the curriculum___nor is the professional development.

A sad state of 'educators' not knowing what they don't know; thus cannot lead students to success.

Anonymous said...

Anon don't feel so bad- lots of times my kid did so so on PSSA and much better on the tests to apply for college. He should keep working and not get discouraged.

Anonymous said...

How can 4Sights ever be relied upon with accuracy? Generally speaking, the material is the same as it was the previous year or the year before.
And curriculum? The English curriculum makes you believe that simply answering the three basic questions--what is the gist, how do you know and what are significant moments--will lead the student to proficiency. What a foolish way to write curriculum.

Anonymous said...

PPS has been advised again and again regarding the inappropriateness of materials and programs that they use___to no avail.

The vendors and consultants who are well-connected get the contracts. Unfortunately PPS admin. has neither the will , the skill, nor the where-with-all to identify resources that align with needs.

Anonymous said...

Anon July 24, 2010 12:50 PM
Pa has passed new core common standards-this is another major change for all involved. The Board of Education can easily have issues with the standards and aligned curriculum. But Gates and other political arms and groups in control of the education sector are great with this change.
This is could be another reason for Roosevelt to delay his public appearance- regroup and needs a little more time to fine-tune his proposed agenda.
Another curriculum re-haul, etc, etc. Consultant, consultants and more consultants-etc, etc, because the PPS cannot make decisions.
If I were boss- I want two sides of the any reform agenda I am proposing- my staff would include the nays and not all yes people-so a common ground and mediation can bring the best for the kids. I want the total perspective and all the angles-so it is right.

Anonymous said...

Anon July 24, 2010 12:22 PM
How can 4 Sights ever be relied upon with accuracy? Generally speaking, the material is the same as it was the previous year or the year before.

4 Sight tests are not the only barometer for formative testing, Lexile scores and other artifacts.
Please do not feel upset. With all this testing- all students get nervous. I know how you feel as a parent.

Again, my son in Dreamers was paired with another student for reading fluency based pair share fluency testing of one another based on their 4 Sight Score. He came home and had difficulty with this because this is not common practice in his Middle school doing Fluency testing of fellow students. Eventually reached his teacher at King and she was told to do it that way- instead of the Lexile scores. The teacher was afraid to let her superiors know of my concerns because she would be let go-so I will not divulge any further.

I wonder if this common practices during the regular school year with fluency tests and working the 4 Sight testing into formative and informative testing protocol making academic determination of skill level of individual students.

In Middle school, things are a lot different from elementary.

Students have inferiority complexes and are worried if they do not make it because of the pressure.

In addition, yes one teacher cannot do to it all-in Middle School and elementary because of the class sizes are larger and yes-my son hates the word “gist”-as the poster stated it is part of the English Component and Curriculum- it is not a slang word.

In the elementary schools, they got rid of the Reading Coaches in the K-5 Schools.

I cannot wait to see the PSSA scores for the so-called top schools-did they make AYP?

MY take-Roosevelt will release the PSSA district scores after he receives his bonuses and raises-because they are not great at all.

Anonymous said...

To Anon. 7/24 @12:50 PM:

The Common Core Standards are national and newly adopted by many states. The Keystone Exams are the new exit exams in PA and will replace the PSSA in the near future. However, these new adoptions should not affect Literacy and Math as these essential “skills” have NOT changed.

PA Standards were legislated into law in PA in 1999. Since that time the core standards have not changed, but have only become more explicitly refined and defined i.e. “anchors” and “eligible content” so that educators, citizens and students have greater access and opportunity to understand.

School Districts are now into their 11th year of working with these same standards and YET, achievement continues to deteriorate in PPS.

The new Keystone Exams for PA are not mandated; school districts have the option of creating their own Exit Exams (which would require validation).

What is mandated in PA is evidence that graduating students can demonstrate proficiency in the PA Standards that were passed in 1999 and revised in 2009.

PPS should be advancing in those proficiency percentages which move forward every three years. This (2009-10) year the minimum required is 63% in Reading and 54% in Math. Check your child’s scores to determine their level against the PA Standard.

Extensive resources are available to anyone and everyone at


Anonymous said...

For anyone (educators, parents, students), please
KNOW that It is commonly acknowledged by experts in education that 4SIGHT is virtually useless at the elementary level and DETRIMENTAL at the high school level. It is seriously FLAWED__and as such is a fraudulent instrument.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:37, thanks. We've known for years.

Anonymous said...

PPS does not use programs, practices, protocols or professional development processes that are well-ALIGNED to PA Standards ( or PS.SA).

IFL ("gist"), America"s Choice, Macmillan, 4Sight, etc. are NOT well-aligned to PA Standards.

Teachers are REQUIRED to follow these with "fidelity" to the exclusion of more important, relevant "PA standards" skills.

Thus, in essence, they do not have access or opportunity to teach and learn the thinking skills needed.

(BROAD, vendors, Gates, and external consultants influence the process in ways that are not productive or advantageous to PPS students.)
the process in ways

Old Timer said...

Anon at 5:57, well said. You hit the nail on the head and yet, teachers who have found success with PSSA testing have done so by doing a number of things:
-augmenting the curriculum with homework that mirrors PSSA style question stems
-augmenting the daily classroom curriculum--at great peril for falling off pace--with inquiry that also mirrors standardized test questions
-teaching test taking strategies which are ignored in the curriculum. How to decipher questions. How to highlight main ideas so as to include yourself in the reading.
-continually getting into the heads of students with regards to the importance of the test and their abilities to pass. Staying positive. Again, notable in that the curriculum does not want teachers to exude personality.

Your points reflect an honest take on what is handed to teachers. Amazing that any can make lemonade out of this mess.

Anonymous said...

To Anon July 24, 2010 @ 5:13 PM
We are fortunate our state is advanced with their aligned standards-but look closely at tall the areas-Given the strong degree of alignment between PA and Common Core (CC) standards, adjustments should be minimal-but they are going to be hard for PPS. . PPS must create instructional redesign cycle and begin modification of PPS district-approved curricula in ELA and Mathematics using CC Standards alignment documentation provided by PDE-this implication sounds minimal-but PPS curriculum needs to be looked at for potential flaws blatantlantly discussed in this thread in varied illustrative phrases with front line experience in the classroom. I believe the teachers are going 110% daily-but PD and other canned questions to ignite a child’s interest in reading are just the right answers. There is not a set formula for learning styles that fit every student at the same time or degree.
Tremendous augmentation by the teacher to the PPS managed curriculum methodology and daily lesson-always brings up the question-will the teacher as instructional leader of the daily classromm instruction be able or allow to supplement yet supplant the managed curriculum ro fit the students learning and achievement needs.
We are not digressing on differentiated instruction-the previous posters gave excellent examples.
What about the indivual student’s critical thinking skills-as the previous two posters stated-this can cause an issue or conflict of interest with the Principal who is the instructional leader in charge of the assigned school and classroom instruction. And leads to a well-scripted transcript that teacher must never differ from for a second. My children feel their teachers are very robotic and lack the personal aspects that they had in their previous school before we moved to Pittsburgh. The teacher can be considered an example of a cold alienated person-not allowing any personality or skills shining through as a human being.

Anonymous said...

Yes we can agree that PA is providing us with an edge that could takes us to the goal if it was nut being obscured, obfuscated and essentially obstructed by BROAD, GATES, IFL, and PELA initiatives who adhere to a business model not applicable to teaching and learning.

The question is: How can WE, those who know and deeply understand what is required for the PPS school system to truly educate ALL of our Pittsburgh children (because they are OUR future)___how can we coalesce to bring "accountability" pressure to bear on PPS?

Old Timer said...

I appreciate the comments of the last two anon posters. I can say this to the former: not all teachers approach teaching as direct manifestation of what has handed to them by PPS. I can't speak for everyone, but most colleagues see teaching as a moral responsibility to move children towards higher achievement. In every subject area, curriculum seems to fall far short of this cause and as such, teachers are left at a crossroads. I know of a few teachers who have thrown their hands up and essentially keep the curriculum up on the podium and read it verbatim, class in and class out. Sorry, while that's not education--this is what we have been told to do. And I know of more than a few who use the curriculum as a guide but know better. They use the ideas there but reinforce the information in their own thoughtful manner.
Unfortunately, they do so at their own peril.
To the latter, you likely already know that one can argue all he wants but he will be rebuffed at all turns. In February of 2009, the superintendent intervened in the area of Reading because even he--or someone close to him--had concerns that not enough was being done to prepare kids for PSSA testing. So the all stop call came and teachers were told to review strategies for 3 weeks prior to testing dates and THEN pick up in the curriculum.
While one might have seen that as some ray of light, nothing changed last year. The curriculum was largely the same. PSSA prep unit consisted of an extremely short amount of time given the magnitude of the test.
So it begs the question: given the climate of furloughs and mass firings in a "sister" district like DC, who really wants to go public? Who really wishes to step out of the shadows to question?
How can we change things--only with parental questions as to the curriculum. Many ask them here.

Anonymous said...

We have many sister cities. Google Portland, Seattle Broad Gates foundation, it is scary. Chicago, DC, Kansas City, La, NYC, Atlanta.. So many urban districts are being "Broad-Sided" it is frightening.

Anonymous said...

Parents, please do not give up the fight!!! Pure Reform needs to go public...and stop hiding in the shadows. Contact local and national news outlets, contact radio stations, contact your state representatives....Make your voices heard loud and clear. You need to get outside support and a PR spoke person to sway public.

But whatever you do, please do not give up. The burden lies with you unfortunately. Rolling over or Running away from the problem by moving to another school district will not solve your problems because this is a national crisis. No matter what, your tax dollars will pay for it; unless you react.

NOW is the time. Concern parents lead the way, and the rest will follow.

Anonymous said...

"The Excellence for All plan highlights 3rd grade as a pivotal year for reading. Noting the importance of literacy as the
primary building block for all learning, the Superintendent established a 2009 goal of having at least 80% of
students reading at grade level by the end of grade 3."

Anyone want to bet this is one reason for a delay? They are probably trying to figure out how to continue to blame the teachers.

Questioner said...

It looks like Philadelphia students took PSSA's at about the same time at Pittsburgh students but a report on Philadelphia scores was released more than a month ago:

And of course Philadelphia s much larger district with more results to review.

Anonymous said...

They have the results.

Anonymous said...

The same thing happened last year. The PPS District received the PSSA results in early June but refused to release them. All other districts across PA released the scores then just as they have now. Even PPS principals could not get their own school's scores from PPS Central Office. Hmmm???

Questioner said...

Prior to the current administration PSSA's did not seem to be such a big deal, but does anyone remember when results used to come out?

Anonymous said...

Typically, the preliminary PSSA results are released in June. Districts are given a month or so to "appeal" but final results do not change to any significant degree. In mid-July the data is available online with a password. By September PDE releases ALL PA district/school @ PAAYP online to the public___no password needed.

It is always fascinating to compare those results to the "spin" released by the PPS District.

Anonymous said...

Do we know when the results are being published?

Anonymous said...

This delay is beginning to remind me of the kid who doesn't want to show his parents his report card.