Bensalem Township School District schools received what equates to three B's, two C's and a D in terms of academic performance, according to the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education's new reporting system on Friday
released information on academic achievement, academic growth and academic
indicators for the district.
The score, based on 100 points, has multiple measures of accountability to provide a comprehensive profile of each school.
The following are the district's performance profile scores:
· Belmont Hills Elementary School – 75.2
· Benjamin Rush Elementary School – 67.3
· Cornwells Elementary School – 87.2
· Russell C Struble Elementary School – 88.8
· Samuel K Faust Elementary School – 70.8
· Valley Elementary School – 87.5
· Scores are not available for Cecelia Snyder Middle School, Bensalem High School and Robert K Shafer Middle School because of corrections the schools will make in end-of-course designations for students taking the Keystone Exams, according to the state’s Web site. Those scores are expected by January.
The School Performance Profile is intentionally designed to
capture more than the PSSA test scores in order to offer a more thorough
assessment of individual school performance. Besides providing facts about the
district’s demographic composition and enrollment size, the new
data provides an overview on each school’s specific academic performance
using a single score.
That score is derived using the following criteria:
Indicators of Academic Achievement make up 40 percent of the score. This includes the percent of students proficient on PSSA/Keystone Exams in Algebra I, Literature, and Biology for the 2012-2013 school year, the percentage of third-graders reading at Proficient or Advanced on the PSSA, and other competency assessments such as the SAT/ACT.
Indicators of closing the achievement gap among all students make up 5 percent of this score.
Indicators of closing the achievement gap among historically underperforming students make up 5 percent of this score. Students falling within this category are those receiving special education services, English as a Second Language students and economically disadvantaged students.
Indicators of academic growth through the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System growth index make up 40 percent of the score. This index represents the school’s impact on the academic progress of students from year-to-year, with this year being the first since the SPP is new.
Other academic indicators make up 10 percent of the score. These include graduation and promotion rates, attendance rates, Advanced Placement credits and PSAT participation. This calculation is only applied to relevant schools. For example, graduation rates would not be calculated into the formula for elementary schools.
Additional extra credit points were also awarded based on the percentage of students rated “Advanced” on PSSAs and Advanced Placement course achievements.
According to Bensalem Superintendent David Baugh, the “highest correlation” to low scores at the lower-performing schools relates to family income.
“Our students who come from a background of greater poverty tend to do less well on standardized tests,” Baugh said. “As a district we’re channeling more resources into those schools to try to close the gap.”
Baugh said a “much more robust” literacy program will be rolled into all six of the district’s elementary schools. The so-called Super Kids program targets kids in kindergarten through second-grade, he said.
“Every single test is a literacy test,” Baugh said. “If you’re not a strong reader it’s going to be hard to do well on the test.”
Still, Baugh said district officials thought that the scores would have been better overall.
“We’re a little disappointed, especially with our lower-performing schools,” he said, adding that officials will be “looking at what happened and what didn’t happen” and could consider course changes.
Baugh said the district’s elementary math program, which was rolled out last year, is showing positive strides. Test scores to date have been good, he said and the district is working to align its secondary math program to “build off our elementary successes.”
Data from the School Performance Profile report is available for public review at www.paschoolperformance.org