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Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS)

Each fall, all public school LEAs/districts, charter schools, cyber charter schools, and full time Career and Technology Centers across the Commonwealth receive web-based reporting through the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS). PVAAS is a statistical analysis of Pennsylvania (PA) state assessment data, and provides PA LEAs/districts and schools with growth and student projection data to add to achievement data. This lens of measuring student learning provides educators with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of their students. PVAAS is one of the tools in the cadre of tools provided to public LEAs/districts from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. LEAs/Districts and schools are using PVAAS (growth and student projection data), in conjunction with achievement data, to make sure students are on the path to proficiency and beyond. Utilizing all the data available (growth and achievement), educators are able to make data-informed instructional decisions to ensure the academic growth and achievement of all students.

What is the difference between achievement and growth data?

Achievement

  • Measures a student's performance at one single point in time
  • Is highly correlated with a student's demographics
  • Compares student performance to PA Core Standards
  • Is critical to a student's post-secondary opportunities

Growth

  • Measures a group of student's growth across time; i.e., across years
  • Typically has little to no relationship with a student's demographics
  • Compares performance of a student group to their own prior performance
  • Is critical to ensuring students' future academic success

By measuring students' academic achievement AND growth, LEAs/districts and schools have a more comprehensive picture of their own effectiveness in raising student performance.

What is value-added assessment?

Value-added is a statistical analysis used to measure the academic growth for a district's or school's groups of students from year-to-year. Conceptually and as a simple explanation, a value-added "score" is calculated in the following manner:

  • Growth = Current achievement (or current results) compared to prior achievement (all prior results); with achievement being measured by an appropriate test, such as PA's state assessments.
  • The methodology used in PA for value-added assessment is based on the EVAAS methodology. More simple models for value-added assessment (unlike SAS EVAAS) may yield results that may be confounded by measurement error and exclude students who have missing data in their assessment history.
  • The methodology used by PVAAS is called Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS). PA's implementation of EVAAS is called the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS). The EVAAS methodology has been published since 1998 and has been nationally peer reviewed. Following a pilot from 2002-05, PVAAS has been implemented statewide in PA since 2006.

What is PVAAS?

PVAAS is a statistical analysis of state assessment data and provides LEAs/districts and their schools with growth and projection data to add to achievement data. This lens of measuring student learning provides educators with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of their students.

To help you understand PVAAS analysis, think of academic growth in terms of a child's physical growth and the growth charts utilized by a child's physician. Growth charts are an important tool for monitoring a child's development, but they are just one of the indicators used by the physician to ensure a child is growing at the minimum expected level and on the trajectory to grow as expected. A physician would not use a growth chart in isolation to diagnose a child; however, the growth chart would provide valuable information that may warrant further exploration.

What are the benefits of PVAAS?

PVAAS offers an objective, more accurate way to measure the academic growth of groups of students and the influence PA's public LEAs/districts and schools have on students' educational experiences. With this information, educators are better able to:

  • Monitor the growth of all groups of students from low-achieving to high-achieving, ensuring growth opportunities for all students
  • Measure the impact of educational practices, classroom curricula, instructional methods, and professional learning on student achievement
  • Make informed, data-driven decisions about where to focus resources to help students make greater growth and perform at higher levels
  • Modify and differentiate instruction to address the needs of all students
  • Align professional learning efforts in the areas of greatest need
  • Network with other LEAs/districts and schools that may be yielding different and higher growth results
  • Identify best practices and implement programs that best meet students' needs

What questions does PVAAS answer?

  1. Did each group of students make growth in ELA (grades 4-8), math (grades 4-8), and science (grades 4 and 8)?
  2. Did each group of students make growth in the Keystone content areas (Algebra I, Literature, and Biology)?
  3. Is each student on a trajectory to reach proficient or advanced levels on a future state assessment in ELA, math, science, and Keystone content areas (Algebra I, Literature, and Biology)?
  4. Is each student on a trajectory to reach college benchmark scores on national college entrance exams (Advanced Placement (AP), ACT, PSAT and SAT)?

What specific types of PVAAS reporting are available to LEAs/districts and schools?

PVAAS provides two types of information, value-added (or growth) data on groups of students and student level projection data.

The value-added, or growth, information analyzes available data from previous years (looking back) to help LEAs/districts and schools evaluate how much groups of students have gained academically in a school year by answering questions such as: Is our instructional program working for all students? At all grades? In all subjects?

The student projection information uses the data already analyzed to help schools project (looking forward) to the future by answering questions such as: What is the likelihood of a student reaching proficiency or higher on a future assessment? Projection data can be used for intervention planning, enrichment planning, and resource allocation.

PVAAS value-added/growth reporting is available in the grades and subjects assessed in Pennsylvania's statewide assessment system. This includes reporting for math and ELA (grades 4-8), science (grades 4 and 8), and Keystone content areas (Algebra I, Literature, and Biology).

PVAAS student projection reporting is available for PSSA Math, PSSA ELA, PSSA Science, Keystone Algebra I, Keystone Literature, Keystone Biology, Advanced Placement (for AP subject areas with the largest statewide enrollment), PSAT, ACT, and SAT.

PVAAS is one of the many tools provided to LEAs/districts and schools by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. LEAs/Districts and schools are using PVAAS, in conjunction with achievement data, to make sure all students are on an academic path to proficiency and beyond. Utilizing all the data available (growth and achievement), educators are able to make data-informed instructional decisions to ensure the academic growth and achievement of all students.

Scatterplots provide evidence for this question: What is the visual profile of LEAs/districts, schools, charter schools and/or CTCs when plotting achievement versus growth?

LEA/District Search allows users to find and view the achievement and the growth of LEAs/public districts across Pennsylvania and search for similar LEAs/districts based on grade levels tested and various demographics.

School Search allows users to find and view the achievement and the growth of LEAs/public schools across Pennsylvania and search for similar schools based on grade levels tested and various demographics.

Note: Achievement results and growth results must be used together to get a complete picture of student learning.

 
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