Nicolls Reports on Student Growth Scores at CASD

CLEARFIELD – Bruce Nicolls, director of curriculum and coordinator of federal programs, reported that overall student growth scores were “pretty good” during a brief administrative report at Monday night’s Clearfield school board meeting.

Nicolls said the district had recently received its Pennsylvania Valued-Added Assessment System (PVAAS) scores, which measure student growth in cohorts from year-to-year. He plans to give a complete presentation on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and PVAAS data at a future school board meeting.

Generally, he said the district’s student growth data was pretty good. Looking at the PSSA exams, he said students met or exceeded the state’s growth expectations for reading in grades four through eight. In mathematics, he said students met the growth expectations in all grades, except fifth, which was still very close to doing so.

During his administrative report, Clearfield Area Middle School Principal Fred Redden told the board he was also very happy with the PVAAS student growth scores. More specifically, he was happy with the improvement that was evident in the fifth grade growth data. Redden said they continue to chip away at the mountain that’s in front of them.

The district, Nicolls said, has not yet received its School Performance Profile data, which is expected to be available to them at the end of this week. The data will be available to the public online, starting Sept. 30. The School Performance Profile data will be accessible online at

The School Performance Profile is the new substitute for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). AYP was previously used to measure academic achievement by schools under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). It measured a school’s performance based upon standardized tests. However, in August, the U.S. Department of Education granted the state’s NCLB waiver request.

The School Performance Profile will provide a building-level score for educators as part of the Educator Effectiveness System. The data will provide parents with comprehensive measures for schools, neighboring schools and schools across the state. Further, the School Performance Profile will inform the public of the academic performance measures of each public school, career and technology center, charter school and cyber charter school in Pennsylvania.

The Educator Effectiveness System Act 82 of 2012 is designed to assess both principals and teachers, according to information on the state Department of Education (PDE) Web site.  Teacher evaluations are bused upon classroom observations, teacher-specific data, elective data and building-level data.

The building-level data is the school academic performance score derived from the School Performance Profile. The academic performance score comprises 15 percent of each teacher and principal’s evaluation and will be a part of the Educator Effectiveness System, starting for classroom teachers in 2013-14 and for non-teaching professional educators and principals in 2014-15.

The score for the school is based upon indicators that define a high-performing school. Many data elements contribute to the academic score, and these are categorized into five areas: indicators of academic achievement (40 percent); indicators of closing the achievement gap/all students (5 percent); indicators of closing the achievement gap/historically under-performing students (5 percent); indicators of academic growth/PVAAS (40 percent); and other academic indicators (10 percent).

For more information about the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile, please visit here.

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