Friday, November 21, 2014

Knowing the Score at Pottstown Schools

Photo by Evan Brandt

This breakdown of Pottstown's School Performance Profile shows areas in blue, where the district is doing well, and those in red and yellow where more work is needed.

Tis the season for school scores and last night, Superintendent Jeff Sparagana reviewed those for Pottstown.

"The numbers are positive, but we have also identified areas where there is still room to grow," he said.

He also pointed out, as The Mercury will examine more closely in a story set to publish in Monday's edition, that the scores are "highly correlated with student demographics."

So the fairest comparison, Sparagana argued, is to compare Pottstown's performance with districts
where similar demographics are found.

"When you compare those apples to apples, you see our schools are tremendously good," he told the board.

However, comparing the most recent score to the one from just a year ago is not a terrible good comparison, he said.

As The Mercury reported last month when we first previewed these scores, it has been a period of change in the district with four elementary schools either finishing or beginning renovations or closing, four new building principals or assistant principals and the entire fifth grade being moved to the middle school.

A comparison of last year's scores at the high school, 

with this year's scores.
Add to this, changes within the way the school profile scores are developed and its hard to undertake a year-to-year comparison.

In fact the only school in which he felt that would be relevant was the high school.

There, he said, there was only one percentage point of change in the school's overall score, downward,

High points included a 10.18 point rise in math and algebra achievement and an 18.35 point hike in reading and literature scores, followed by an 8.18 point rise in biology.

There was a decrease in the SAT index, but that is probably due to fewer students taking the test, Sparagana said.

Growth indicators were all in positive territory at the high school, he said.

Look for my report in The Mercury on this presentation in Monday's paper, as well as a look at how increases in poverty in Pottstown often equal a decrease in scores.

In the meantime,  here are the Tweets from last night's meeting.

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