Nicolls Pleased with CAHS Performance Profile

CLEARFIELD – Despite being pleased with the Clearfield Area High School’s first-ever School Performance Profile, Director of Curriculum Bruce Nicolls still wants to see improvement in scores across the board in math, science and literature.

The overall building score for the CAHS wasn’t released in October with the district’s other School Performance Profiles. The state Department of Education (PDE) needed to correct data regarding end-of-course designations for students taking the Keystone Exams at many high schools across the state. The original data could have reflected poorly on the schools and was subsequently suppressed until last week, said Nicolls.

The corrected data released by the PDE showed that the CAHS scored a 68.9 on a 100-point scale. Last week, the PDE indicated that 2,181, or nearly 73 percent of the state’s public schools, scored 70 or higher.

According to Nicolls, the CAHS scored higher than Harmony (66.0), DuBois (65.6), Curwensville (63.6), West Branch (62.8) and Glendale (60.9). He said that only Philipsburg-Osceola (74.4), Moshannon Valley (74.3) and Purchase Line (70.9) scored higher than the CAHS in Clearfield County.

Additionally, the CAHS academic performance data showed scores of 68.47 for reading/literature, 63.73 for mathematics and 45.32 for science. The CAHS received the maximum score possible – 100 – for its dual enrollment program, said Nicolls. Dual enrollment allows students to obtain college credits while still in high school.

“While we’re pleased with the high school’s scores, we would like them to be higher. We have a lot of work to do,” said Nicolls. “. . . But our scores put us higher than half the schools in Clearfield County. We’re initially pleased with our scores, but we also know there’s always room for improvement.”

Nicolls pointed out that the district’s PSAT participation was low; however, the district has agreed to pay for any interested sophomore to take the exam. Nicolls said the CAHS missed out on School Performance Profile points due to its low participation but is hopeful it will gain points under this category in the future with the district paying for the students’ PSAT exams.

The Pennsylvania School Performance Profile has replaced Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Pennsylvania was among the 41 other states granted the federal waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

In October, the PDE released its first batch of School Performance Profiles. Under the new evaluative system, a school is measured on a 100-point scale by indicators that define a high performing school, said Nicolls.

According to him, many data elements comprised the academic score and are categorized into five areas. The first three areas comprised 50 percent of the school academic performance score and included indicators of academic achievement and two, different indicators of closing the achievement gap.

Indicators of academic achievement included the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone Exam scores, standards-based competency assessments and SAT/ACT college ready benchmarks. Indicators of closing the achievement gap included all student scores and then another for just the historically under-performing students to define how well a school has progressed. However, indicators of closing the achievement gap will not be included in academic performance scores until 2013-14.

The next category, he said, comprised 40 percent of the school academic performance score. He said it’s comprised of indicators of academic growth/Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS). This, he said, measured the school’s impact on the academic progress of groups of students from year-to-year.

The final category, Nicolls said, comprised 10 percent of the school academic performance score. It included other academic indicators, such as graduation rate, promotion rate, attendance rate, etc. Additionally, he said schools may earn up to seven additional points, or “extra credit,” for advanced achievement based upon advanced performance on state and industry assessments, as well as for students earning a three or higher on an Advanced Placement exam.

For more information on Pennsylvania School Performance Profiles, please visit:

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