The Most Recent Pennsylvania System Of School Assessment

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“The only thing constant in life is change”. French author Francois de la Rochefouchauld captures the essence of change so well in that quote. Considering how often we must handle changes, the educational community struggles. When looking at a district it is easy to find all of the areas that could use improvement. Creating focus and a plan for a specific change requires careful consideration and a lot of time to manage the change. In the Spring-Ford Area School District, there is so much that is going right, despite the need for a significant curriculum updates and adjustments as well as a comprehensive professional development plan. According to Kotter, change occurs in eight stages. Beginning with a sense of urgency and ending with institutionalized change. In between there are quite a few stages that people need to go through in order to internalize any kind of change. There is a sense of urgency that has been created across the district. The most recent Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores have come in and are significantly lower than previous years. Although the change in assessment rigor was anticipated, there was little done in district to prepare. Students and teachers struggled for the past year to align curriculum, assessments and activities to the PA Core standards. Quite a few districts began this transition much earlier than Spring-Ford and are more secure with the changes that were necessary. As the district is looking at the results, it has become evident that the changes did not happen soon enough or significantly enough to make a difference for the students. The building by building and grade level by level adaptations to the PA Core did further damage to an ... ... middle of paper ... ...t results. They have approved additional funds over the next four years for more staff and new resources. The time that teachers and others will need to commit to the process needs to be valued and structured. There needs to be short term victories and they need to see the big picture. In the end, this process could take as long as three years or could be done in 18 months. The longer it takes the more everyone will need to be reminded about “why” we need to make the change. If the curriculum department can lead the district through the process, grounded in the vision of high quality education, the reframing will be a positive experience. There will be always a push to improve standardized scores and overall achievement of students. The district will be in a better position to support students with better informed teachers and aligned curriculum.
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