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School Performance Profiles: Still Not the Sum of a School’s Parts

Since 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has annually published School Performance Profiles (SPPs), which assign a summative academic performance score for every traditional public and charter school in Pennsylvania by rating each school on a scale from 0 to 100.

But many states are moving away from assigning summative numerical or letter grades of public schools given that they can mask important variation both within and across schools.

In keeping with that trend, PDE recently announced plans to roll out a dashboard-style Future Ready PA Index for the 2018-19 school year, which attempts to provide a more nuanced and accurate picture of the quality of individual schools.

As debates ensue over the benefits and pitfalls of a summative school rating metric vs. a dashboard of multiple indicators, this PACER brief from Research for Action revisits past research about Pennsylvania’s current summative rating, the SPP.