York County school officials are preparing for the release of a new scoring system on a website scheduled to launch Friday.
The school performance profiles, which are for every public school in the state, will be released on the website created by the state Department of Education.
The profiles were supposed to be accessible to the public Monday, but discrepancies in the number of student scores from Keystone exams meant the department is waiting to launch the site until Friday.
The profiles will rate each school building on a scale from 0 to 100. Schools that score a 70 or higher will be considered satisfactory. The scores released Friday will serve as a baseline for future years, which will show a school's ability to foster student growth.
School officials say the scores are an improvement from simply reporting state test results each fall.
But they contend the profiles are still not a complete picture of student learning.
The school scores do nothing to reflect community involvement, extracurricular impact or the number of students who graduate and go on to technical or military schools, said Eric Eshbach, superintendent of Northern York County School District.
Eshbach said the profiles are better than the previous system, which focused on PSSA scores alone. The new profiles account for factors like student growth over a year, graduation and promotion rates for each building and the amount schools improve proficiency over five years.
But Eshbach said the focal point is still the "objective" scores from the PSSA and Keystone tests that are meant to measure "subjective" student growth.
"We are still assessing students on specific data on a specific day," Eshbach said. "I don't believe that any score or assessment out there will truly reflect all the things going on in the school."
Scoring discrepancies: The release of the profiles was delayed four days because school districts noticed scoring discrepancies when the department sent them a preview of the scores.
Students who took Keystone exams last year needed to mark that the test was an end-of-year assessment in order for it to count toward the profile score. When a profile preview was given to school districts, officials noticed low scores and realized many students failed to mark that selection.
Eshbach said students in the Northern York County district took the Keystones online, and testing administrators were not permitted by law to help them with any of the questions.
Eshbach said the district found a 25 percent error rate in marking that question correctly. Eshbach said he expects to see an improved score when the profiles are released Friday, after withholding the data affected by the incorrectly-marked tests.
Northern York County School District was not the only one to notice discrepancies. School officials at Dallastown, Eastern York, Dover and West Shore also said there were errors that affected the schools' overall scores.
Room to improve: The school performance profiles provide each school district with the blueprint for the department's expectations for high-achieving schools, Jason Conway said. Conway is the assistant superintendent at Dover Area School District.
"It definitely provides us more detail on how well our students are performing on high-stakes tests," Conway said in an email.
The numerical scores will be reported for every school building. There will not be overall scores per district. The profiles will be found at paschoolperformance.org.
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