Table of Contents

LEA/District Diagnostic

Technical Details

Placing Students into Achievement Groups

Students are placed into five groups based on their achievement.

When the graph shows five groups, group 1 includes students whose achievement falls into the lowest 20% of the reference group distribution, group 2 includes students whose achievement falls between the 20th and 40th percentiles, and so on.

When the graph shows three groups, group 1 includes students whose achievement falls into the lowest third of the reference group distribution, group 2 includes students whose achievement falls in the middle third, and group 3 includes students whose achievement is in the top third.

For all assessments, more than a single test score is used to place students into groups. Using more data minimizes the effect of measurement error and helps ensure that students are placed into achievement groups appropriately.

It's important to keep in mind that the following students are not included in these reports:

  • Students who have been identified on the state assessment booklet as EL 1st Year
  • Students who are administered the Pennsylvania Alternate Assessment (PASA)

LEA/District Diagnostic

Students are divided into five equal groups based on where their achievement in the selected subject falls in the reference group distribution.

For all assessments, more than a single test score is used to place students into groups. Using more data minimizes the effect of measurement error and helps ensure that students are placed into achievement groups appropriately.

The model used to analyze the selected assessment determines how we define achievement. See assessments analyzed with the growth standard methodology and assessments analyzed with the predictive methodology.

ModelHow Achievement is Defined
Growth Standard Methodology

The average of a student's two most recent scores in the selected subject.

For example, in a report for sixth-grade math, students are placed into achievement groups based on the average of their fifth-grade and sixth-grade math scores. If a student's fifth-grade math score is missing, that student is not placed into an achievement group on this report.

Predictive Methodology

Where the student's predicted score falls in the reference group distribution for that grade and subject or Keystone content area.

Students who lack sufficient data do not have predicted scores and therefore are not included in achievement groups on this report. For eighth-grade science and for Keystone content areas, students must have three prior assessment scores across grades and subjects to have predicted scores.

Fourth-grade science uses only the two prior scores from third-grade math and ELA.

Custom Diagnostic

Students are placed into three equal groups based on where each student's achievement falls in the distribution of students that you selected. The Low group includes the students whose achievement falls into the lowest third of students you selected. The High group includes the students whose achievement falls into the highest third of students you selected.

Generating Growth Measures

Once students are placed into groups, a simple growth measure is generated for each group. A group must have at least five students for a growth measure to be generated. No individual student growth measures are provided in PVAAS.

For all assessments, a growth measure of 0.0 represents meeting the growth standard.

It's important to remember that these simple growth measures do not come from the robust analytic models that generate the growth measures on the value-added reports. As a result, you'll want to exercise some caution when interpreting the data. Specifically, focus on the relative pattern of growth across groups rather than rely too heavily on any one value. Because the growth measures are estimates, consider their associated standard errors as you interpret the values.

The model used to analyze the selected assessment determines how we generate growth measures. See assessments analyzed with the growth standard methodology and assessments analyzed with the predictive methodology.

ModelHow Growth Measures are Generated
Growth Standard Methodology

The growth measure is the difference between the group's most recent average score in this subject and its prior average score in the same subject. The growth measures for these assessments are expressed in reference group NCEs.

Differences in student counts within each year can cause slight shifts in the NCEs for prior years. For more information see Why Students' NCEs Might Change.

Predictive Methodology

The growth measure is the difference between the group's average score and their average predicted score in the selected subject or course. The growth measures for these assessments are expressed in scale score points.

More Information

Diagnostic and Projection Summary Reports: Using Together for Decision Making