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Carlynton, Chartiers Valley officials wonder if SPP isn't flawed by Keystone scores

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Officials in local school districts have elected to suppress some of the state's recently released School Performance Profile data, but see the information that has been released as a jumping-off point for improvement.

Released Oct. 4, the profiles rate schools on a scale from zero to 100, with schools able to score up to 107 with extra credit. Scores are determined by student attendance, graduation rates, standardized test scores and yearly academic progress.

The School Performance Profiles were approved to replace the Adequate Yearly Progress goals required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Pennsylvania received a waiver from the federal program earlier this year.

Districts leaders who thought the data might be incorrect could suppress those scores.

At Carlynton, data for the junior-senior high school was suppressed. Superintendent Gary Peiffer said the questions focused on Keystone Exam scores.

“We wanted to take the opportunity to go back and verify,” he said.

More than 40 other high schools in Allegheny County chose to suppress their scores, including Chartiers Valley, Keystone Oaks and South Fayette.

Chartiers Valley Superintendent Brian White said his district also elected to suppress data from the middle and high schools because of Keystone Exam scores.

“It didn't include all the right kids that should have been included,” he said.

He said he's not sure if the schools' scores would have been higher or lower with either version of the Keystone Exam data, but school officials did not want to release incorrect data, period.

“Everyone would like the number to be right,” he said.

Without Keystone Exam scores factored in, Chartiers Valley Middle School scored 91.7 and the high school scored 81.8 out of 100.

At Carlynton, administrators already have instituted new ways to look at school-performance data, including the new online assessments. The district has scheduled three two-hour delays for classes throughout the year to give teachers and administrators time to examine academic achievement and progress among students.

“The idea behind that was to set aside some time for teachers to be able to work in grade and subject teams to review student-performance data,” he said. “We want to be able to chart the progress between benchmark tests.”

The first two-hour delay was Oct. 1, before the performance profile data was released online but after school officials had a chance to look over it.

Peiffer said he hopes the ability to go back re-examine Keystone Exam scores will allow for a better picture of the high school's academic achievement and progress.

“This is the first year,” he said. “We're reviewing scores, looking at strengths and building on them, and seeing where we can improve. Like any time, we have to work together as an educational team to improve performance. This gives us the data points to move forward.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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