- Pennsylvania vision for its K-12 education system is comprehensive and the state’s chosen accountability indicators are clear and easy to understand.
- Pennsylvania conducted robust stakeholder engagement in the development of its plan, and it appears to have learned lessons from previous efforts to improve schools and districts.
- The state’s new career-readiness indicator—and its components—are worth further study and consideration by other states. Notably, the indicator creates a path and a process for all students, and the adults around them, to think about what is needed to be prepared for various careers as early as 5th grade.
- Pennsylvania should also be applauded for the substantial emphasis it places on student achievement and growth. Balancing proficiency and growth is essential because it incentivizes schools to help all students improve, while remaining focused on the important goal of ensuring students graduate prepared for success after high school.
- Finally, the state should be commended for its use of behavior interventions and supports to create positive school climate and support students’ social and emotional needs.
- Pennsylvania set significantly lower goals for certain subgroups of students, which is a troubling approach given the amount of time it plans to allow for the attainment of those goals.
- Pennsylvania’s lack of a summative rating for schools will present significant challenges for parents seeking to quickly and easily understand the performance of their child’s school, and compare it with the performance of other schools.
- While it’s positive that the state will be including a measure of student growth in its accountability system; the state’s chosen measure will not necessarily indicate whether students are making sufficient progress to be prepared for college and career.
- Pennsylvania’s plan lacks details such as deadlines and timeliness related to its plans for intervening in low-performing schools that fail to improve. It also fails to provide schools and other stakeholders with meaningful opportunities to understand, and attempt to influence, the nature of the turnaround strategies that will be employed.
- While the career-readiness indicator is a strength in lower grades as a means of engaging in meaningful planning with students and families, as written it has serious weaknesses at the 11th-grade level; more attention should be paid to a nationally recognized assessment before exit from high school.