Monday, October 11, 2010

PPS in corrective action II, 3rd year

Many people may not realize that PPS remains in corrective action II for a third year:

Can someone please explain why the district is in corrective action despite the AYP year in 2009?


Anonymous said...

AYP measures from this link:

PITTSBURGH SD did not meet the targets/goals necessary to meet AYP in 2009-10. To demonstrate adequate yearly progress, a district must meet all Academic Performance and Test Participation targets in at least one of three grade spans: Grades 3–5, 6–8, 9–12.

For PITTSBURGH SD, "Did Not Make AYP" status means that improvement is needed in:

Graduation by the Students Overall group. (The overall student graduation rate was 82.38%, which was below the AYP target of 80%, and there was no improvement from the previous year.)

Reading Performance in Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. At least one of the student groups performed below the AYP target of 63% and did not show enough improvement from last year to reach Safe Harbor.

Mathematics Performance in Grades 9-12. At least one of the student groups performed below the AYP target of 56% and did not show enough improvement from last year to reach Safe Harbor.

Reading Test Participation in Grades 9-12. At least one of the student groups performed below the AYP target of 95% and did not show enough improvement from last year to reach Safe Harbor.

Mathematics Test Participation in Grades 9-12. At least one of the student groups performed below the AYP target of 95% and did not show enough improvement from last year to reach Safe Harbor.

The performance chart and/or data table can show more details about how this district performed.

Anonymous said...


There is an error in the Target Graduation Rate in previous comment____ it is 90% not 80%.

Pittsburgh dropped from 84% in 2009 to 82% in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Why not just make the minimum grade on all tests 80% or so? Then graduation rates would skyrocket.

After all, guaranteed minimum grades are a hallmark of PPS.

Anonymous said...

Please refer to comments on the blog for the following:

"A must read article about NY's experience w/ standardized testing"

Additionally, Excel Charts are available that track the relative lack of progress for PPS over the past 5 to 8 years; however, there is no way to post these on this blog.

Consider this:
To "make AYP" could mean that a school moved from 17% "proficient" to 23% "proficient" in a year, but please realize THAT MEANS THAT 77% of the students in that school are NOT PROFICIENT after 10 years of supposedly preparing for the PSSA.

In such cases which are many in PPS, "making AYP" is nothing to boast about as the present administration has done over and over in PR releases that are, frankly, egregiously misleading!

Questioner said...

Yes but given that the district for one year met reduced standards that allowed it to make AYP, why is it still in corrective action? What is necessary to get out of corrective action?

For individual schools it is necessary to meet standards for 2 years to really "make AYP," even though the district counts schools with just one AYP year as "making AYP." For purposes of "real" AYP and getting out of corrective action- would the district need to meet the standard (reduced as it is by growth models, etc) for 2 years as well?

Anonymous said...

IMPROVEMENT according to one of the multiple formulas is necessary. Going backwards, regression on multiple measures when you had merely moved forward the previous year on considerable less than minimal standards. It would not make sense to be in a worse position than previously, but escape the prior consequences.

Questioner said...

Can the district stay in corrective action forever- for example if the state decides it really does not want to take over the Pgh public school district?

Anonymous said...

Remember POLITICS are always in play. (The State, believe it or not does not want to take over any school district.)
An example of the "politics": In 2006, PPS was identified as one of the 20 lowest achieving school in Pennsylvania which has 500 school districts. A Team of Educational Experts were sent to PPS (and the others) to do "Quality Reviews" on the premise that these 10 day, in district, "reviews" would reveal areas that required the assistance of a PA Team assigned to the District, at the expense of the State to remedy the problems identified in the Review that were prohibiting academic improvement. The PA Team submitted the report and a "team" of 6-8 educators were assigned to PPS. However, POLITICS intervened and that team was taken from PPS and re-assigned to Districts that were in much better shape, achievement-wise, than PPS.

Why? you may ask? Because someone in high places influenced PDE high positions that Mark Roosevelt's administration should be given the opportunity to remedy the situation himself (even though he was not an "educator" as were the members of the team.

It is safe to surmise that many people in many high places locally, state-wide, and nationally were a part of this "political" decision.

There is more___ but____enough said ____I think.

Anonymous said...

PPS has been in Corrective Action II _____2007-2008--2009 ("Making Progress") and 2010.

Let's take it through the categories

"Consequences for Failing to Make AYP"

School Improvement I – AYP failure for 2 consecutive years:
If a school does not meet its AYP for two years in a row, students will be eligible for school choice, school officials will develop an improvement plan to turn around the school, and the school will receive technical assistance to help it get back on the right track. The school choice provision means that the school/district is required to offer parents the option of sending their child to another public school (including charter schools) within the school district. If no other school within the district is available, a district must, to the extent practical, enter into a cooperative agreement with another district that will allow students to transfer.

School Improvement II – AYP failure for 3 consecutive years:
If a school or district does not meet its AYP for three years in a row, it must continue to offer public school choice and plan improvements. Additionally, the school or district will need to offer supplemental education services such as tutoring, after-school, or summer school support. The district will be responsible for paying for these additional services.

Corrective Action I – AYP failure for 4 consecutive years:
A school or district is categorized in Corrective Action I when it does not meet its AYP for four consecutive years. At this level, schools are eligible for various levels of technical assistance and are subject to escalating consequences (e.g., changes in curriculum, leadership, professional development).

Corrective Action II – AYP failure for 5 consecutive years:
If a school or district does not meet its AYP for five years in a row, it is subject to governance changes such as reconstitution, chartering, and privatization. In the meantime, improvement plans, school choice, and supplemental education services are still required.

Questioner said...

It is a bit confusing that even though the district was said to have made AYP for 2008-2009 it didn't make AYP for purposes of counting years of "AYP failure". Ie, "making progress" for one year does not count as AYP for purposes of these categories.

It would be interesting to know how the districts that received the reassigned "Team of Experts" did in comparison the PPS which received a pass based on the presence of a new superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Many IMPROVED significantly. Those that I am most familiar with improve in the same year____meaning with "experts" from December to April____anywhere from 23% to 26% to 10% IMPROVEMENT during that short period of time.

I have charted all of those Districts at the Secondary Level for 2002 thru 2010. A study was done at the State Level (commissioned by the Secretary) but I do not know that those results were ever made public.

Anonymous said...

Oops! It should have stated that the improvement over three months before the PSSA showed increased achievement for that year at 10% to 16% to 23% points over the previous year's results.

Questioner said...

With so much improvement in such a short time- you have to wonder if it was real improvement. Could the experts be producing the kind of "improvement" found in NYC, that resulted from questions covering a narrow range of topics and being totally predictable?

Anonymous said...

Good questions, however, in those 'familiar' districts that cited the greatest improvements, it was directly attributable to direct alignment of the "thinking skills" (of PSSA) across ALL content areas, not just 'reading' and math classes___ and a coming together of faculty in a united, collaborative, cooperative, purposeful and determined effort to demonstrate (given the professional development provided by "experts"), the competence of teachers to teach and the capacity of students to learn when the RIGHT pieces were in place!

Questioner said...

Any chance that the above is what we can expect from the teachers' academy?

Anonymous said...

Additionally, let me comment on what I refer to as the "thinking skills" of the PSSA as compared to NY "covering a narrow range of topics." The Reading Assessment in PA contains NO QUESTIONS on content or "topics"_____It is totally "text dependent" ____with only "thinking skills" being assessed. No prior knowledge in terms of topic or content is required.

These PA skills can be taught situationally, as well as from ANY textual materials.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that we can expect any of this from the Teachers Academy since PPS has hired Paula Bevans (at $270,000) from the national Charlotte Danielson Institute to teach that Framework for Teaching which usually is taught at all Teacher Education Colleges preliminary to certification. PPS has also hired IFL (at LRDC) to teach "gist" and "significant moments"_____neither of which will get us to our GOAL.

Questioner said...

By "topics" the NYT article seems to be referring to something very close to "thinking skills"- for example, how to work with percentages but maybe nothing on working with decimals. So the line between content and thinking skills is blurred.

Too bad about the expectations for the teachers college. WHY is it that this district will not test out its initiatives on a small scale before committing on a large scale?

Anonymous said...

When I refer to "thinking skills" it generally encompasses the literacy skill rather than Math_____skills such as distinguishing fact from opinion, determining author's purpose, analyzing cause and effect, citing evidence to support a position, etc.
While I have not seen the NY "test" I am aware that NY students do have the "thinking skills" similar to those mentioned and they are also able to articulate the connections to text, text to text, text to self, text to world using the "thinking" terminology. I have been impressed by the abilities of "diversity" students (Hispanic and African American) to think aloud in sophisticated analysis! It is an integral part of the classroom conversation and extends beyond into the home. I have not seen that with PPS students.

Anonymous said...

In response to Questioner (9:50) PPS district administrators "Do not know what they don't know" and seem in a constant search for something/anything that might work. It appears that this admin. connects to a national 'network' of vendors who promise "results" just to get the contract. If you don't know what you need, nor how the PA standards must be applied, you will fall for anything.

Appropriate "educational practice" is an art that comes from teaching, learning, and assessment experience and expertise in the field, in the state and in your local district. That appears to be missing in PPS central office.

Questioner said...

But wouldn't they have learned their lesson about this kind of approach after the Kaplan curriculum episode? Maybe their haste is dooming them to make the same mistake over and over again.

Anonymous said...

It's called job justification, Questioner. Justify the fact that you are part of a bloated administration by continually trying to appear progressive and the cutting edge. Fellow administrative types across the country will laud you even though you have failed your own students.
Shame that no one has the gumption to do what needs to be done: fire over half of the needless administrators you have in this district.

Anonymous said...

THIS has been the most informative blog entry-yes we are acquiring the core data elements of PPS interpretative testing results.


HER FEE OF A QUARTER OF A MILLION IS very high-as an educator and taxpayer FOR MY LIKING.


Danielson is just one format of ascertaining teacher observations.

FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHING –The important part of Bevan's work has been assisting school districts, including PPS, in the design and implementation of teacher evaluation programs based upon the Framework, as well as designing and facilitating ongoing professional development programs for teachers in those programs.

Her forte has experience in the design and implementation of pay for performance systems for both teachers and school leaders-merit pay and teacher pay performance.
Her services, structured around teaching quality and student learning, are focused on assisting clients with the challenging tasks of continuous school improvement and closing the achievement gap.

A previous blog entry explained the real reading of the statistical value of NY standardized testing and PPS AYP. A great comapative analysis valued insights with delieverable results.

This blog entry presents very compelling data analysis of ROOSEVELT’S five-year tenure.
Additionally, the 10-12-10 Trib Article reiterates ALLEGHENY Institute’s data analysis-Roosevelt's real failure of reaping results.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, anon, but it is very true that there is nothing new under the sun. Compelling? Incisive? Most informative? Surely you jest. How about we substitute the words "corroborating", "verifying" and "validating."
I don't need some quarter of a million per study carpetbagger to tell me something I already know, thank you. The PSSA's, the SAT's and myriad other standardized test bear out the shell game that Mr.Roosevelt and his assistant superintendent have been foisting on the public for 5 years. It's simple:

We continue to plump up scores dramatically to put kids on the "Pathway to the Promise." WHY? BECAUSE IT IS GOOD P.R., and Roosevelt has always been about good P.R.

Kids SUDDENLY have scores that make them eligible for Promise money and college!!! Voila!!!

The trouble is, of course, we teachers know better. The PSSA scores validate it. The SAT scores corroborate it. And if anyone dared to do a study of Promise-kids who are in college--how many are still there and what their QPA's are---I am certain it would verify the idea that this is a complete SHAM.

There. And it didn't cost you even a plugged nickel.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..@. October 15, 2010 6:20 PM

ANON, I am tired of the carpetbaggers and this so called-hailed reform movement.

However, I stand by my description of Bevan and her work-it is another form of Teacher Evaluation-which now will equal merit pay.

You forgot the word rubric and validations.

THE HEAD Honchos are running through resignations-to move onto the greener pastures.

The teachers stay throughout all the new head honchos.

The NYT article gave a very good perspective –you can interchange all the words validating, interpreting, corroborating, collaboratively-what it equals is your pay as merit pay.

Do you like the words merit pay that interchanges with the other words "corroborating", "verifying"and "validating." ?

You cannot be a JESTER.

Roosevelt was a Jester.

Anonymous said...

After reading posts like yours about Dr.Bevan and after scouring through the PPS minutes, it becomes obvious to teachers that they missed the gravy train. Clearly, they should have taken their degrees and become either consultants, researchers or test-writers.

There is now a cottage industry in all three areas which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars. It's no strings attached money, problem free and without accountability, and it's enabled by districts like PPS.

Again, Dr.Bevan provided nothing that the average teacher didn't already know or couldn't already have written. Why it is saluted as her own study is a mystery. But then again, when you have a board that OK's so many consultant fees, researcher allotments and contracts for tests, all at taxpayer expense, what does it matter? No one in Pittsburgh cares.

Take a look at board minutes sometime. You'll have a good laugh.