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The 2021-22 school year was the first year that the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) administered the Renaissance Star assessments as a universal screening tool to all students in grades K-12. This series of end of year reports provides an in-depth look at participation and performance patterns as measured during the four 2021-22 Star assessment windows (Fall, Winter 1, Winter 2, and Spring).
From 2014-15 through 2020-21, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) assessed literacy proficiency for K-5 students using aimsweb and aimswebPlus, universal early literacy screening, benchmarking, and progress-monitoring tools from Pearson. This report uses both a cohort analysis and a cross-sectional analysis of aimsweb results to examine the literacy performance from 2014-15 to 2018-19 of three kindergarten cohorts.
When selecting which data to use to monitor progress towards the Board’s Goals & Guardrails, the School District of Philadelphia used prior research that identified relationships between certain data points and school-level outcomes. The selected data points reflect a broad range of specific, measurable characteristics of schools, but they can also be seen as three distinct “sets” of data points reflecting enrollment demographics, school staffing, and school climate. This brief seeks to identify which sets of predictor variables best predict the academic outcome variables and, therefore, provide the best “signals” for identifying groups of schools with common underlying root causes.
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is comprised of multiple assessment anchors that represent categories of subject matter (skills and concepts). A strength profile (low, medium, high) is assigned for each anchor by weighting the anchor raw score by the difficulty of the items. This report examines the percentage of students who scored in the high, medium, and low strength profiles on each of the 3rd grade ELA PSSA assessment anchors from 2014-15 to 2018-19, identifying differences in strength profile patterns by student demographic group.
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) uses scale scores that correspond to performance tiers (Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced). This report examines average scale scores for the 3rd grade ELA PSSA from 2014-15 to 2018-19, identifying differences in scale score patterns by student demographic characteristics and by school.
The School District of Philadelphia Board of Education’s Goals 1-3 are focused on improving the reading and math performance of grades K-8 students on the ELA and Math PSSA tests, both for students overall and for student subgroups. This data brief examines the participation and performance of K-8 students who qualify to receive Special Education services on the Winter 2021-22 within-year Star reading and math assessments.
In the 2021-22 school year, the District began using Renaissance Star assessments as the screening and progress monitoring tool for all grades, assessing students during four assessment windows throughout the school year. The Star assessments provide multiple metrics that help monitor student performance at each testing window and student growth between testing windows. This reference document discusses what these metrics are, how they are calculated, and what kind of information they provide about student learning.
In Fall 2020, all students in grades K-12 attended school virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students in grades K-5 took the aimswebPlus within-year reading assessment and students in grades 6-12 took the Star within-year reading assessment. In Fall 2021, students returned to school in person, and grades K-12 took the Star within-year reading assessment. Star includes an additional performance group, and the process of categorizing students into performance groups differs between aimswebPlus and Star. This report compares student participation and performance in Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 given this context.
The report is an expansion of a prior report’s discussion of PSSA and aimswebPlus data. The analysis in this report looks more deeply at the differing trajectories of aimswebPlus performance by fall 2015-16 kindergarten aimswebPlus performance group, with comparisons between students who performed in the different spring 2018-19 third grade ELA PSSA performance groups.
The School District of Philadelphia implemented a universal K-12 interim assessments program beginning in the 2020-21 school year. All schools across the District administered aimswebPlus for grades K-5 and Star for grades 6-12; reading and math tests were administered for both assessments. The overall goals of this analysis were: (1) to examine whether there are patterns of nonparticipation during the spring assessment window that can provide additional information when interpreting 2020-21 performance and (2) to discover whether there are ways to support increased participation in the 2021-22 testing windows.