Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs by CEEPA researchers

Policy Brief 2014-1: An Examination of Pennsylvania School Performance Profile Scores

Executive Summary

The purpose of school accountability systems is to accurately assess school performance and effectiveness and communicate the judgments about schools to educators, policymakers, and the public. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created School Performance Profile (SPP) scores as a measure of school performance and effectiveness. Moreover, the Commonwealth has included these school-level scores as a component of teacher and principal evaluations.

Researchers have consistently argued that accountability measures such as SPP scores must be adjusted for factors outside the control of educators in order to accurately identify school effectiveness. This policy brief examines the relationship between SPP scores and student- and school- characteristics that are outside the control of educators.

The analyses contained in this brief strongly suggest that the Commonwealth’s SPP scores ae strongly associated with student- and school-characteristics, thus are inaccurate measures of school effectiveness. SPP scores, in factor, are more accurate indicators of the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in a school than of the effectiveness of a school.

Thus, SPP scores should not be used to make judgments about school effectiveness unless the scores from one school are compared to only the SPP scores from schools with similar student- and school- characteristics. There are a number of options that the Commonwealth could employ to calculate SPP scores that are more accurate measures of school effectiveness. In doing so, the Commonwealth would be assisting educators to improve their practice while providing valid information to the public and policymakers about the effectiveness of their local schools.

Link to the Adobe pdf document.

Link to the MS Word document.