Thursday, September 1, 2011

PPS announces AYP

From the PG:

- It would be interesting to see copies of the appeals PPS submitted in connection with the AYP calculation.


Anonymous said...

Hate to say "I told you so", but I told you so.
To even the most casual observer of education, this is a microcosm of real world disconnect between what students are actually able to do and what "statistics" show.
I don't believe in PSSA scores or those who write the tests.
I don't believe a majority of the kids are proficient. Not for one second.

Anonymous said...

Making AYP is a bare minimum. For most school districts in PA, this is quite routine, so much so that no press release or press conference is ever contemplated let alone held.

Angry Taxpayer said...

Heaven help us, they'll be hanging another banner on Bellefield.

This is like flying a flag to say you filed your taxes.

In other words, it should be no great shakes to accomplish what is routine and simply expected.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 5:35 - Finally a comment by someone who has a sense of the bigger picture. The PSSA is a minimum requirement test and most districts do not give it a second thought. However, PPS has been tied for 496th place out of 500 districts in PA. Thus, it is natural for PPS to dismiss the test. No one would want to believe that they rank 4th from the bottom academically, in Pennsylvania.

Anonymous said...

Just one question to 5:30: Why are PPS students not meeting the "bare minimum"?

Questioner said...

Isn't there a problem w/ taking kids from a school that made AYP (Peabody) and moving them to a school that did not make AYP (U Prep)? Do students at U Prep have a right to attend a school that made AYP? (If so, Westinghouse could not be the only option, b/c students also have the right to opt out of a school w/ single gender classes.)

Anonymous said...

A Question: Do we know what 'formula' was used by the State to determine AYP for PPS. Was AYP achieved using the following formulas; through Confidence Interval? Safe Harbor? Safe Harbor Confidence Interval? or Growth Model?

It might be important to know how AYP was achieved since the Report on African American Achievement at PPS on Monday evening showed that there was ONLY ONE school (CAPA) that achieved the PA target of 72% for Reading for "Economically Disadvantaged African American Students."

Anonymous said...

Talk about perfect timing.

Did anyone see this commentary?

"Lowering the bar gets A+ at city schools

Anonymous said...

So, just an FYI, there was no progress shown among the population of white students. Does this mean this year we'll get some PD on how to educate our white students now?

Questioner said...

What about the Excellence for All goals- or is Adequacy for All the new goal?

Anonymous said...

Time for a little reality check. 9 fewer schools made AYP.

Anonymous said...

"What about the Excellence for All goals- or is Adequacy for All the new goal?

September 1, 2011 9:15 PM"

I am not certain what adequate is anymore.

Anonymous said...

Why in the world do teachers let the union run over them with a car and they say nothing? It was followed up by a fleet of dumptrucks driven by Tarka and still not a peep! He is supposed to be representing you. He has not only run over you he backed up after he hit you.

Seriously, teachers need to go "Wisconsin" on the state. Don't fold!!!

Anonymous said...

The sooner PPS moves away from AYP goals and strives for more than minimal progress (a few points, every year) the quicker we will see long strides toward meeting PA targets in real academic achievement across all content areas.

We need real educators in PPS who know how to teach without all of these programs and consultants which have turned schooling into a very profitable,multi-million dollar venture that never reaches children/students.

Questioner said...

PPS did strive for more than minimal progress- see the Excellence for All goals. "Dramatic gains" were expected.

Anonymous said...

And the district isn't even talking about how many schools made AYP last year, making them School Choice schools, which in turn caused overcrowding in those schools with no extra support -- as a matter of fact, a decline in services to those schools. Then, lo and behold, those schools failed to make AYP this year. 9 more schools failed to make AYP this year than many were school choice schools? What are they going to do when we no longer have school choice schools???

Pass the mustard said...

In 2005, Pittsburgh's 3rd graders ranked 477th in the State in Math (ranked by advanced plus proficient) and 481st in Reading. That is the test right before the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss era.

Statewide data for 2011 is not yet available, so let us take a look at 2010 for the moment.

In the five years that passed we spent a fortune on managed curriculum, issued more press releases than the White House, and celebrated inherently unsustainable partnerships.

Do you care to guess where Pittsburgh stood at the end of the Roosevelt era?

For the district as a whole (all grades) our total advanced plus proficient ranked 479th in the State in math and 476th in reading.

If you have been wondering why students continue to flee to charter schools and the suburbs despite the lure of the Pittsburgh Promise, look no further.

The comparative data does not lie. This administration - starting with Mr. Roosevelt and continuing with Dr. Lane - is a fraud.

Questioner said...

And the PG's response is to report that district students "fare well" on state tests.

Anonymous said...

When you go the PDE website for the 2010 AYP State Report on School DISTRICTS, you will see that PITTSBURGH is tied at 497 among the LOWEST DISTRICTs in the State of Pennsylvania. (

PPS is tied in Corrective Action II (3rd Year) with Allentown, Norristown, Pittsburgh and York.

Just below, in Corrective Action II (4th year) is Reading, Pa.

Below that, Corrective Action II, (8th year) are Chester-Upland, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia, Pa.

So you see that out of 500 school districts in PA, there are only four DISTRICTS (total) that are lower than Pittsburgh and the lowest three are tied in that place.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that PDE page also states that 473 PA districts made AYP last year in 2010. Pittsburgh was not one of them.

Who knew that Wilkinsburg, Duquesne, Sto-Rox, Woodland Hills, Penn Hills, Clairton all fared better than Pittsburgh in terms of achievement?!

Cork the Champagne said...

I especially appreciate how loose and fast PPS plays with the term Adequate Yearly Progress as it applies to the district.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is quite clear that AYP is not a single year event:

"There are two possibilities for schools that meet AYP measures this year, depending on their previous year's results:

•Schools that met AYP measures last year, or that were at "Warning" status last year (e.g., the school did not meet AYP measures for the first time) will be on-track for meeting the NCLB goal of all students reaching proficiency by the year 2014 if they meet all AYP measures this year.

•Schools that had a "School Improvement" or "Corrective Action" status last year enter a probationary period called "Making Progress". This means that the school must also meet AYP measures for a second consecutive year to be considered on-track to meet the NCLB goal. Next year, the school will receive "Made AYP" status if it meets all AYP measures again. However, if it does not meet all AYP measures for two consecutive years, the school will proceed to the next status level."

By this standard Pittsburgh was only "making progress" in 2009 and again only "making progress" in 2011, a designation that puts the district among bottom feeders in the state (roughly one of the worst 25 school districts).

It is a shame that Mr. Roosevelt and Dr. Lane continued to resist the Commonwealth's offer of FREE technical assistance through their Distinguished Educator program. Such confusion about how to interpret PSSA test scores and AYP results would not be epidemic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 8:33. Well stated! It has been very difficult to clear the confusion around AYP. Pittsburgh celebrates it as if they met the State Targets for all subgroups. They are not even close! Yes, there has been some progress in some places (often just a few points that remain 20-30-40 pts. below the state target). Examine the data!

Remember, the August, 29, 2011, PPS Report on African American students achievement in Reading. Only CAPA AA students met the target of 72% for Reading. Not one other PPS school met that minimum target.

PPS must address its problems head-on in order to solve them. Boasting an AYP, as just explicated in the previous blocK, will NEVER get us to where we need to be. WE CAN DO MUCH BETTER! WE KNOW ENOUGH TO RAISE THE ACHIEVEMENT OF ALL STUDENT 20 to 30 to 40 percentage points in one year. We really do know enough!!!

Angry Taxpayer said...

Dear Cork 8:33:

This certainly explains why PPS is very selective in how it compares itself to statewide assessment trends.

We are forcefed a steady diet of graphs and charts showing the number of indicators where progress was made, often expressed as a percentage change from prior years.

What we never see is that the rest of the state improved too. If your starting point is lower, you might be able to show that you had greater percentage growth (you cannot grow from 80% or 90% advanced/proficient as fast you can from 40% or 50%), but your absolute rank is a truer measure of whether the kids are catching up to their peers or not.

You might fool the Post-Gazette - terrified of a property assessment appeal on its near-waterfront complex - but taxpaying parents are not so easily fooled.

When was the last time you hired someone whose crowning achievement was "I graduated in the bottom 10% of my class, in fact, by some measures, in the bottom 5%"?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone answer this very important question:

Is Pittsburgh Public Schools in the PA category of
"Making AYP" or "Making Progress"??????????????

They are NOT the same, as made clear in 8:33 very clear articulation. Please re-read it carefully in the column above.

Check the PDE website for last year: All Districts that made AYP are in GREEN. Districts in "Making Progress" and "Warning" are in YELLOW.

Will we have to wait for the PDE release of AYP status to learn where PPS really stands.

Why would any district claim "Making AYP" when they did not meet the requirements???

Anonymous said...

It's semantics and both can be/are true.

You have to make AYP two years in a row after not making AYP to have it be official and green in the standings.

"Making Progress" is the official designation that means you made AYP this year BUT until you make it again the next year, we call it making progress.

It's the state's way of saying we don't want this to be just a one-year fluke but a real indicator that you're doing an...adequate job.

Anonymous said...

Well, let me suggest that you look at page 18 of the PPS "District Achieves AYP" document on the PPS Website dated September 1, 2011.

The diagram on pg 18, "AYP Status Levels", states in bold red print "AYP Not Met" to the right of the orange "Making Progress" block that shows another arrow leading up to the "Made AYP" block.


Again, these are two distinct categories and not a matter of semantics!

So, the question remains, how will PDE list the Pittsburgh Public Schools? (Hmmm, I think we know the answer and won't be "Made AYP." What do you think?

Anonymous said...|&NodeID=6075

Is that the link you mean? It's what I get to? (I'm not arguing with you and I didn't create the whole "making progress" designation and it's a holiday weekend, so if you could not sound like you're accusing me of making stuff up, it would be great!)

If you click on the second link to download school results, you can see the individual school's status. For instance, both Lincoln and Colfax have "making progress" for 2010 and then have gone back to Corrective Action 1 for 2011.

At the bottom of that document it defines "Making Progress" -- perhaps a district gets a different designation than a school?

Those schools made AYP in 2010, but didn't this year. I don't

Anonymous said...

No, please enjoy the holiday. Just a suggestion though: when checking for the straight info, please check PDE and NOT PPS (Although, even the PPS diagram shows the two distinct categories "MADE AYP" and "MAKING PROGRESS."
So, it is impossible for PPS to claim "Made AYP" as it stands. (It is really not about semantics; it is about requirements and they are simple and straightforward from PDE.)

There is also the matter of formulas used for AYP. When a District (like PPS) cannot make AYP outright, they sometime use a "projection" of what they anticipate the achievement levels will be in the future. This is called the "Growth Model." So where you see GM it is a "projection" not current achievement.

Please relax; its okay; the information presented by PPS is often confusing. Its a way to satisfy the citizenry before they see the REAL RESULTS which should be available to everyone online at PAAYP by September 20th.

Enjoy the holiday!

Anonymous said...

Please also notice, comparatively, speaking that on the PDE site "Making Progress" has a yellow emblem and is not printed in green as it is on the PPS site. That is definitely misleading to viewers. Deliberately or inadvertently, who knows?

Anonymous said...

LOL! The condescension isn't much better. I gave you the PPS links, since that's what you referred to in your comment.

Here's the definition from the PDE site:
“Making Progress”: A school identified as making progress is one that was previously in either School Improvement or Corrective Action but has made AYP for one year. If the school fulfills its AYP for a second year, it will exit the improvement system and will be counted among schools meeting AYP targets.

NEWBEE said...

Wow! I am really impressed with the knowledge and insight that people have on this blog. kudos to you all. As a first time poster and reader, i have a question. Are the people at the board of Education aware of this blog and the information on it?

If not please inform them. If so they should be engaging, employing, and working with the pure reform people to make our district better. People on this site really know their stuff.

Who are the main voices and commentors on this blog? How can PPS reach them for one on one talks and help? Has anyone posted information on how to get us out of this financial situation? Are you groups or indivduals? Please come forth to help our students and adults in this district.

Seen It All said...

Newbee 8:02

You aked: "Who are the main voices and commentors on this blog? How can PPS reach them for one on one talks and help?"

In answer to you first question, the voices on this blog seem to fall into one of three groups: veteran PPS teachers, concerned parents of PPS students, and Pittsburgh community advocates.

I've done my share of surfing the internet, and I've never seen a site quite like this one. Everyone here, and I mean everyone, is united in their desire to see the PPS succeed.

In answer to your second question: "How can PPS reach them for one on one talks and help?"

I can say with COMPLETE certainty that the current PPS leadership has absolutely zero interest in getting input from anyone here or from anyone else.

The current PPS leadership feels that it has found the one single magic formula. It will not entertain any discussion about this!

Parents and community leaders will be politely ignored. Witness the closing of Schenley High School as just one example of this.

Veteran teachers who speak up will be persecuted. Yes, persecuted. They will be observed by outside "consultants" and threatened with firing if they deviate an inch from the one magic formula.

An what happens when evidence shows that the one magic formula is failing? It can't be the formula. It must be the teachers. Threaten to fire a few more teachers.

This is almost unbelievable, but it is all true. And it will not change until city residents wise up and elect a new Board.

But I'll leave this post on an up note. Do a search for PPS officials "Mark Brentley" and "Randall Taylor". Not everyone at the Board lost their minds. Those two tried to make a difference.

Questioner said...

What has been most damaging is the Board's willingness to go with hunches and hopes on the part of administrators, particularly the previous superintendent.

Requests for logical justification, or evidence that a proposed course of action does not make sense, really are politely ignored. Most of the Board is happy to accept the flimsiest justification or pretext for whatever the administration wants to do. Even some members who seemed to come on the Board thinking independently soon fell into line.

Bulldog Forever said...

Newbee 8:02:

As a new reader and contributor to the blog, I highly recommend that you read the prior posts entitled "How we got where we are."

Anonymous said...

I understand that most board members don't care about this site, and that teachers can't risk speaking out, and that community members are trying to make a difference but cannot gain traction. But where are our newspapers and news stations in this? If the average joe community member can so easily find information that shows such mismanagement and dysfunction in our district, why can't the press? I remember when the press used to go to every board meeting and ask the difficult questions and try to hold the board accountable. What has happened? Does anyone in the position to make a difference care about our city anymore?

Seen It All said...

"But where are our newspapers and news stations in this?"

Great question, 11:12.

Here's my best guess.

It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (the teacher's union) gave in completely to Roosevelt.

Now, why did John Tarka, the union president, do this? Why did he buy into so many flights of fancy? Why was he so willing to abandon his membership to the whims of outside "consultants", consultants who had the power to destroy a teacher's career in a single afternoon?

Some say that Roosevelt was much smarter than Tarka, and so Roosevelt simply outmanuveured the union.

Others feel that Tarka for some reason saw Roosevelt as a savior for a city in decline. And so Tarka gave Roosevelt free rein to work his magic.

I personally think both explanations have merit, and the second one is particularly true.

And that's my long-winded answer to your question. The media saw (and sees) Roosevelt as a savior, a great reformer who will turn it all around with his magical ideas.

And of course it did't hurt Roosevelt to have a propaganda arm that would be the envy of any third-world dictator.