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This Morning’s Presentation

School Evaluation Services Pennsylvania Update Education Policy and Leadership Center Western Pennsylvania Breakfast Series Jonathan Jacobson, Director May 23, 2002. This Morning’s Presentation. SES Background Status Update User Feedback Enhancements Pennsylvania Statewide Insights

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This Morning’s Presentation

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  1. School Evaluation ServicesPennsylvania UpdateEducation Policy and Leadership CenterWestern Pennsylvania Breakfast SeriesJonathan Jacobson, DirectorMay 23, 2002

  2. This Morning’s Presentation • SES Background • Status Update • User Feedback • Enhancements • Pennsylvania Statewide Insights • What’s Next

  3. SES Background

  4. What is School Evaluation Services? • A powerful diagnostic and decision-making tool for administrators, educators, policymakers, taxpayers, and parents • Annual written report on the strengths, challenges, and risks for each of the state’s school districts • Public website containing these reports and detailed supporting data trends and comparative benchmarks • Annual comprehensive report on the state’s collective circumstances, yearly progress, and policy implications

  5. SES converts data to information through its unique analytical framework • Transparency, consistency, accessibility • Objective interpretation • “Return on Resources” – simultaneous examination of spending, results, and context • Multi-year trends measure progress • Each district compared to five benchmarks: state, I.U., county, and demographic peer averages, as well as district itself over time • Website’s interactive display of data allows users to customize comparison groups

  6. SES website data menu example – Student Results • Five comparison groups to choose from • Six data subsections to choose from

  7. How does SES help Pennsylvania’s education stakeholders? • SES goes beyond reporting test scores – it synthesizes achievement indicators with financial data to measure return and inform resource allocation decisions • There may not be sufficient resources or staff at either the state or the local level to perform data benchmarking and analysis – SES fills this void • SES helps decision-makers at all levels avoid being “data rich but information poor” • SES helps end policymakers’ and stakeholders’ reliance on anecdotal generalizations

  8. Pennsylvania Advisory Group • Leslye Abrutyn, Superintendent, Penn-Delco SD • Carolyn Dumaresq, Executive Director, PSEA • Tom Gentzel, Executive Director, PSBA • Jay Himes, Executive Director, PASBO • Sheri Rowe, Office of Educational Initiatives, PDE • Stinson Stroup, Executive Director, PASA • Larry Wittig, State Board of Education, State Workforce Investment Board • Jan Zastawniak, President, PenSPRA

  9. SES Status Update

  10. Milestones accomplished • SES launched for Michigan – May 2001 • SES launched for Pennsylvania – October 2001 • Interim data update for Michigan – October 2001 • Interim data update for Pennsylvania – November 2001 • “Statewide Insights” released for Michigan – December 2001 • Round 2 released for Michigan – January 2002 • “Statewide Insights” released for Pennsylvania – May 2002

  11. Milestones to come • Round 2 (2000 data) release for Pennsylvania – May 2002 • Round 3 (2001 data) release for Pennsylvania – 4Q 2002

  12. SES website traffic has exceeded expectations

  13. Parents are the most frequent visitors to the SES website Pennsylvania data through 04/30/2002

  14. Usage among school personnel is significant Cumulative data through 04/30/2002

  15. While activity peaks predictably during launch periods, visits during non-launch periods are relatively constant Average Daily “Off-Peak” Logins: 331 Average Daily “Off-Peak” Logins: 233 PA population is 12 million; MI population is 9.8 million

  16. Pennsylvania activity has nearly matched Michigan’s in much less time Cumulative data through 04/30/2002

  17. SES User Feedback

  18. Standard & Poor’s seeks, values, and uses customer feedback • E-mail links, state-designated e-mail boxes, and a toll-free telephone number enable easy and frequent communication • All inquiries, comments, and suggestions are logged, identified by type, distributed, and tracked • Responses are timely, thorough, and courteous • More formal research is underway • User feedback is a primary source of SES enhancements

  19. Positive commentary about SES repeatedly cited by Pennsylvania school leaders • Helpful in strategic planning, budgeting, benchmarking • Comparative data are useful—particularly peers • Effective accountability tool • Useful in communicating to school board, local stakeholders • Information has prompted discussions in community • Helpful for people considering moving into community • Coming from an objective source makes SES more valuable

  20. Other positive comments about SES from school administrators • Helped achieve programmatic improvements • Used SES data to renegotiate benefits package—cost savings were converted to teacher salary increases • Potential to use SES data to identify best practices • “Return on resources” concept is innovative and valuable • Explanations, disclaimers, caveats are helpful • Service is needed—grateful that it’s being provided

  21. SES Enhancements

  22. Many improvements have been implemented since the initial launch of the SES website last year • Major enhancements • Intermediate Unit comparison group • Interim statewide data revisions • Display of basic school-level data • “Beating the odds” schools in S&P Observations • Statewide graphics • Navigation menu page • Enhanced district trend data display

  23. Many improvements have been implemented since the initial launch of the SES website last year • Other enhancements • Expansion of S&P Observations to include methodology, glossary, and list of peers • “State homepage” – administrator’s toolkit, state education department links, state facts • Navigation path icons – clearer indication of actions and selections • “Contact Us” e-mail links • Homepage content and reconfiguration • Log In page simplification

  24. Additional enhancements are in the works • Data display • School-level information • Data sorting tools • Format and organization of S&P Observations • User interface • School/district searching tools • Website tutorial/presentation • Data mapping explanation/crosswalk

  25. Pennsylvania Statewide Insights

  26. Student Results • PSSA indicators show only slight improvement • Highest district PSSA Composite Score was 1457, while the lowest was 1087 • Highest district percent of scores above median was 80.5%, while the lowest was 6.3%

  27. Achievement Gaps Across the state, white students’ PSSA scores were significantly higher than those of black, Hispanic, Native American, and multi-ethnic students

  28. Return on Resources • PSSA results have increased slightly, but so has spending (net of inflation) – therefore, the state’s return on resources has not improved • Performance Cost Index (PCI) data suggest that reasonable spending increases are not likely to make enough difference by themselves, if the goal is to enable all students to meet state standards • A better rate of return on resources is needed if additional spending is to make a substantial impact • Strategies to improve achievement may need to include, but go well beyond, monetary inputs • A comparison of data for specific school districts leads to the same conclusion…

  29. Return on Resources (continued) There is no significant correlation between spending and results – at any given spending level, there is a wide range of student achievement

  30. Return on Resources (continued) Spending “decreases” for Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh when adjusted for the higher cost of serving students with special needs, and for geographic differences in the cost of education

  31. Return on Resources (continued) A number of districts with above-average enrollments of economically disadvantaged students demonstrated a better-than-average return on resources, as measured by lower (more favorable) PCIs. Harrisburg Pennsylvania School Districts Performance Cost Index (PSSA) and Low-Income Enrollment 80 172 Districts 4 Districts are not shown in this quadrant 153 Districts because they are outliers 70 Philadelphia 60 Pittsburgh 50 Performance Cost Index for PSSA Mean Composite Scores ($) 40 30 Weighted Avg. = $22.51 20 24 Districts (14 districts had PSSA results that were at or above the average) 10 151 Districts Weighted Avg. = 31.7% 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 Enrollment of Low-Income Students (%)

  32. Best Practices PSSA scores and socioeconomic status are correlated; however, many schools “beat the odds” Pennsylvania Elementary Schools PSSA Scores and Low-Income Enrollment 1600 707 Schools 163 Elementary Schools Beat the Odds 1550 1500 1450 1400 1350 1300 1250 Weighted PSSA Mean Composite Score 1200 Avg. = 1314 1150 1100 1050 1000 950 900 153 Schools 850 Weighted Avg. = 35.4% 481 Schools 800 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 Enrollment of Low-Income Students (%)

  33. Pennsylvania School Districts PSSA Scores and Low-Income Enrollment 1600 248 Districts 1550 46 Districts Beat the Odds 10 districts remained in this quadrant for 3 consecutive years 1500 1450 1400 1350 1300 Weighted Avg. = 1303 PSSA Mean Composite Score 1250 1200 1150 1100 1050 1000 950 75 Districts Weighted Avg. = 31.7% 131 Districts 900 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Enrollment of Low-Income Students (%) Best Practices (continued) Many school districts as a whole also “beat the odds”

  34. What do the data tell us? • No “silver bullets” • Without improved return, goals of improving student achievement overall and of closing achievement gaps are probably unaffordable • How money is spent is as important as how much money is spent • Need to align policy making with data analysis • Districts and schools that beat the odds – particularly those that do so consistently over time – are potential sources of best practice

  35. Next Steps

  36. Coming with next release… • Charter school information • School-level data • Peer methodology to include state aid ratio • More detailed trend data • Improved location search features • Website self-tutorial • Data mapping crosswalk

  37. Ongoing efforts… • Tutorial and training programs • More detailed school-level information • Data sorting tools • Market research and user outreach

  38. Where to find us, how to reach us • Website URL: www.ses.standardandpoors.com • E-mail address: ses_pa@standardandpoors.com

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