The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 18, 2013

State unveils new grading system for schools


A building's score will comprise 15 percent of teacher evaluations starting this year, and 15 percent of principal evaluations beginning in 2014-15.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, noted the scores still heavily rely on test results. The ratings also don't account for funding cuts, which amount to $700 million below 2010-11 levels, spokesman Wythe Keever said.

"A child is much more than a standardized test score," Keever said in an email, "and a child's academic progress is much more than performance on these tests."

Officials noted schools can get extra credit for advanced achievement on standardized tests. Also, scores are adjusted proportionally for buildings that don't have data for a given category, such as a graduation rate at an elementary school.

Schools with large percentages of low-income students, known as Title I schools, will also receive labels of priority, focus or reward. Low-performing schools designated priority or focus will receive intervention and support; reward schools could be eligible for extra funding.

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