STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
[ 22 PA. CODE CH. 4 ]
Academic Standards and Assessment
[38 Pa.B. 2270]
[Saturday, May 17, 2008]
The State Board of Education (Board) proposes to amend Chapter 4 (relating to academic standards and assessment) to read as set forth in Annex A. The Board is acting under the authority of sections 2603-B and 2604-B of the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. §§ 26-2603-B and 2604-B).
Chapter 4 sets forth requirements for State academic standards and assessments and State high school graduation requirements for this Commonwealth's public schools.
Pennsylvania, like other states in the 1990s, increased its educational standards and high school graduation requirements by adopting State academic standards and establishing a Statewide accountability system designed to measure student and school performance. Yet 9 years later, these reforms have not yielded consistent results at the high school level. One-quarter of our students do not graduate from high school on time. Nearly 40% of those who graduate--57,000 students each year--are awarded diplomas without having passed the State's reading, writing and math tests. Less than half of our high school graduates enroll in college upon graduation and only 37% make it to their sophomore year. Only one-third graduate from college on time.
These results severely limit economic opportunity for thousands of graduates to earn a living wage; they erode this Commonwealth's overall competitiveness for jobs, and reduce our future tax base thereby reducing resources available for vital government services. Every student must graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills that are essential for college and career success if this Commonwealth's economy is to fulfill its promise.
As social and economic forces have demanded a more highly educated citizenry, the Board has responded by increasing the State's high school graduation requirements over time. In 1963, the Board required students to successfully complete 13 credit units of study in grades 10--12. Over the next 3 decades, the Board increased State high school graduation requirements, eventually to require successful completion of 21 course credits in grades 9--12. Then, in 1993, the Board eliminated high school course and credit requirements and replaced them with 56 student learning outcomes--the precursor to today's State academic standards. The student learning outcomes describe what students should know and be able to do upon graduation. School districts were charged with developing the assessment systems that would determine whether students achieved the student learning outcomes. At the same time, a State assessment system was established to assess the academic performance of each school.
In 1999, the Board established the State academic standards, which provide a clear and detailed description of what students were expected to know and be able to do. The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) was redesigned to measure both school and individual student achievement of the State academic standards. The Board also required school district high school graduation policies to address: course completion and grades; completion of a culminating project and results of local assessments aligned with the academic standards. The policy also required students, beginning in 2002-2003, to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics on the PSSA or local assessments aligned with State academic standards and State assessment at the proficient level or above to graduate.
At the time, the Board believed this policy reflected a reasonable approach that honored the tenets of local control. However, as stated at the time in the Pennsylvania Bulletin:Graduation requirements. The Senate Committee, members of the House Committee and staff of IRRC sought greater clarity in the graduation requirements including a determination of whether and when a proficient level on State assessments is required for graduation. Language in § 4.24(a) (relating to high school graduation requirements) was amended in the final-form version to clarify that students graduating in 2002-2003 must demonstrate the attainment of academic standards in reading, writing and mathematics at the proficient level on State assessments or local assessments aligned with the academic standards and State assessments.
* * * * *Comparability of local assessment. Members of the House and Senate Committees and IRRC staff recommended that there be established a process for determining the comparability of local assessment. Language under § 4.24(a) was changed so that local assessments must be aligned with academic standards and State assessments. The most certain evidence of the comparability or degree of alignment between these assessments will come from repeated administrations of State assessments and local assessments. If it becomes apparent that large numbers of students not achieving at the proficient level on State assessments are deemed proficient by local assessments, regulation and administrative review will become important. Until then, the Board does not feel the extra administrative burden for schools and the Department is warranted.
29 Pa.B. 399 (January 16, 1999).
Over the past several years it has become clear that the concerns raised by the House and Senate Education Committees and IRRC as expressed in their comments to the Board were indeed valid.
To address this concern, in September 2005 Governor Rendell established a Commission on College and Career Success. The Commission was given a charge to: define ''college and career ready'' in mathematics, English and science; examine and make specific recommendations for better alignment of academic standards and assessments across the secondary and post-secondary educational sectors, as well as industry in Pennsylvania; encourage local school districts to adopt a core high school curriculum for all Pennsylvania students; present to the Governor a legislative and regulatory package that would address the needs outlined in their findings; and to investigate policies and programs that ensure a higher number of prepared students enter and remain in our colleges and universities.
The Commission delivered its report to the Governor in December 2006. The proposed regulations, with several modifications, implement the Commission's recommendations. The modifications are based on input the Board received at six regional public roundtable meetings, one public hearing and five public committee meetings.
Requirements of the Proposed Rulemaking
The proposed rulemaking would amend the following items:
§ 4.3 (relating to definitions). The Board proposes to add definitions of the two State assessments: ''Pennsylvania System of School Assessment'' and ''Graduation Competency Assessments'' (GCA).
§ 4.4(e) (relating to general policies). The Board proposes to add requirements that the Department of Education (Department) provide the supports and assistance necessary for school districts and area vocational-technical school (AVTS) to assist students to attain proficiency in the State academic standards, including the development of a voluntary model curriculum; effective student tutoring, remediation and extended instructional time programs; and continuing professional education for teachers.
§ 4.24 (relating to high school graduation requirement). The Board proposes to continue the existing State high school graduation requirements through the 2012-2013 school year. Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, each school district and AVTS, including charter schools, would be required to specify requirements for high school graduation in their strategic plan. At a minimum, these requirements would include: course completion and grades; culminating project; demonstration of proficiency in each of the academic standards not assessed by the State; and proficiency in reading, writing, math, science and social studies using one or any combination of the following--PSSA, GCAs, Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate exams or validated local assessments. The Board also proposes to require school entities to provide any student who does not score proficient or above on the 11th grade PSSA or GCA administered in any grade with supplemental instructional support to assist the student to attain proficiency in the State academic standards.
The Board proposes to eliminate the Pennsylvania Certificates of Proficiency and Distinction. Since under the new high school graduation requirements every student awarded a high school diploma would meet State standards, the certificates are no longer necessary. The Board also proposes to add GCA scores and locally validated assessment scores to each student's academic transcript. Regulations in place since 2001 have required that a student's PSSA scores be included on the student's transcript.
§ 4.51 (relating to State assessment system). To distinguish between different State assessments, the Board proposes to revise the term ''State assessment'' as used in subsections (b) and (d) to mean the ''PSSA.'' A new proposed subsection (e) would direct the Department to develop GCAs in math (3), language arts (2), social studies (3) and science (2). The new requirement would provide that GCAs be offered at least three times each year and that the scores of candidates for graduation be provided to the student's school at least 10-calendar days prior to graduation. Proposed language also would require the GCAs to be designed as modules of sequenced, related content, so that students who do not score proficient need only retake those portions of the test in which they did not score proficient. Proposed language also would direct the Department to provide guidance to school entities regarding appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners.
§ 4.52 (relating to local assessment system). The Board proposes to add language that allows schools to use GCAs in place of traditional final exams administered at the middle or high school level.
The proposed rulemaking would affect the students and professional employees of the public schools of this Commonwealth.
Cost and Paperwork Estimates
Direct costs to the Commonwealth include the cost to develop the GCAs which is estimated at $15 million over 3 years. Costs to the Commonwealth to administer, score and report the ten tests are estimated at $40.0 million each year. The cost to the Commonwealth to develop the voluntary model curriculum in 10 subjects is estimated at $5.9 million over 3 years.
The proposed rulemaking would become effective upon final publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The Board will review the effectiveness of Chapter 4 every 4 years in accordance with the Board's policy and practice respecting all of its regulations. Thus, no sunset date is necessary.
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (act) (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on May 2, 2008, the Board submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking and a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Committees on Education. A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.
Under section 5(g) of the act, IRRC may convey any comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections must specify the regulatory review criteria that have not been met. The act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the rulemaking, by the Board, the General Assembly and the Governor of comments, recommendations or objections raised.
Public Comments and Contact Person
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to Jim Buckheit, Executive Director, State Board of Education, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333, email@example.com. Comments must be submitted within 30 days following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
Persons with disabilities needing an alternative means of providing public comment may make arrangements by calling Jim Buckheit at (717) 787-3787 or TDD (717) 787-7367.
Fiscal Note: 6-312. (1) General Fund;
PA Assessment Teacher Professional Development (2) Implementing Year 2007-08 is $ 0 $ 0 (3) 1st Succeeding Year 2008-09 is $15,000,000 $ 4,200,000 2nd Succeeding Year 2009-10 is $15,000,000 $ 1,300,000 3rd Succeeding Year 2010-11 is $43,000,000 $ 417,000 4th Succeeding Year 2011-12 is $40,000,000 $ 0 5th Succeeding Year 2012-13 is $40,000,000 $ 0 (4) 2006-07 Program-- $20,094,000 $23,367,000 2005-06 Program-- $20,356,000 $13,867,000 2004-05 Program-- $20,356,000 $ 3,867,000 (7) PA Assessment and Teacher Professional Development; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 22. EDUCATION
PART I. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
CHAPTER 4. ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENT
§ 4.3. Definitions.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * * * *
GCAs--Graduation competency assessments.
* * * * *
§ 4.4. General policies.
(e) The Department will provide support to school districts and AVTSs in developing educational programs that enable students to attain academic standards under § 4.12. Department support will include:
(1) Establishment of a voluntary model curriculum aligned with State academic standards in each of the content areas assessed by the GCAs under § 4.51(c) (relating to State assessment system).
(2) Assistance in the development of effective student tutoring, remediation and extended instructional time programs.
(3) Opportunities for continuing professional education designed to improve instruction in each of the content areas assessed by the GCAs under § 4.51(e).
CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
§ 4.24. High school graduation requirements.
(a) Requirements through the 2012-2013 school year. Each school district, including a charter school, shall specify requirements for graduation in the strategic plan under § 4.13 (relating to strategic plans). Requirements through the 2012-2013 school year must include course completion and grades, completion of a culminating project, [and] results of local assessments aligned with the academic standards[. Students shall demonstrate] and a demonstration of proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics on either the State assessments administered in grade 11 or 12 or local assessment aligned with academic standards and State assessments under § 4.52 (relating to local assessment system) at the proficient level or better to graduate. The purpose of the culminating project is to assure that students are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding.
(b) [Beginning in the 2002-2003 school year, students who attain a score at the proficient level on any State assessed discipline administered in grade 10, 11 or 12 shall be granted a Pennsylvania Certificate of Proficiency for that discipline. Students with disabilities who meet the required proficiency level on State assessments with appropriate accommodations shall be granted a Pennsylvania Certificate of Proficiency.] Requirements beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
(1) General. Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, each school district and AVTS, including charter schools, shall specify requirements for high school graduation in the strategic plan under § 4.13 that, at a minimum, include:
(i) Course completion and grades.
(ii) Completion of a culminating project in one or more areas of concentrated study under the guidance and direction of the high school faculty. The purpose of the project, which may include research, writing or some other appropriate form of demonstration, is to assure that the student is able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding. Projects may be undertaken by individual students or groups of students.
(iii) Demonstration of proficiency, as assessed and determined by the school district or AVTS (including charter schools), in each of the State academic standards not assessed by a State assessment under § 4.51 (relating to State assessment system).
(iv) Demonstration of proficiency or above in each of the following State academic standards: reading, writing and mathematics (Appendix A); science and technology and environment and ecology (Appendix B), as assessed through any one or a combination of the following:
(A) The PSSA administered in 11th grade or 12th grade retest.
(B) The English composition and literature GCAs, any two mathematics GCAs and either science GCA.
(C) Locally administered, validated criterion referenced assessments comparable to the GCAs. The local assessments shall be independently and objectively validated by a vendor selected by the school entity from a list of approved vendors published every 5 years by the Secretary after obtaining the approval of the Board.
(D) Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams that include academic content comparable to the appropriate GCA at a score established by the Secretary to be comparable to the proficient level on the appropriate GCA.
(v) Demonstration of proficiency or above in the State academic standards in civics and government or history in any one of the social studies GCAs as provided in § 4.51(e)(3), a validated local assessment under subparagraph (iv)(C), or a comparable Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam.
(2) Validation of local assessments.
(i) In developing and selecting the list of approved vendors that may validate locally administered assessments described by paragraph (1)(iv)(C), the Secretary will employ a competitive request-for-qualifications process that includes consideration of:
(A) Organizational and staff experience in the validation of State and local assessments.
(B) Appropriate use of generally accepted psychometric statistical methods, practices and analysis.
(ii) With the concurrence of the Board, the Secretary may issue an additional request for qualifications prior to the end of the 5-year period prescribed by paragraph (1)(iv)(C), if the demand for validation services exceeds the capacity of approved vendors.
(iii) The school entity shall contract and pay the cost of validating each local assessment.
(iv) Each local assessment shall be validated by an approved vendor every 5 years. Except for replacement of individual test items of comparable rigor, a new validation is required for any material changes to the assessment or revision of the assessed State academic standards.
(v) Approved vendors shall include the following criteria when determining whether the local assessment is comparable to the GCAs under § 4.51(e):
(A) Assessments are internally consistent and replicable.
(B) Assessments adequately measure and are aligned with the academic content specified in the State academic standards assessed by the GCAs.
(C) Level of difficulty of assessment items is greater than or equal to those assessed on the GCAs.
(D) Proficiency level cut scores are greater than or equal to that of the GCAs.
(E) Results of local assessments correlate positively and significantly with related National and State criterion referenced assessments.
(F) Test administration, security and scoring regimes ensure that the integrity and validity of the local assessment is maintained.
(G) Policy for annually updating assessment items ensures compliance with clauses (A)--(F).
(c) [Beginning in the 2002-2003 school year, students who attain a score at the advanced level of proficiency on any State assessed discipline administered in grade 10, 11 or 12 shall be granted a Pennsylvania Certificate of Distinction for that discipline. Students with disabilities who meet the required proficiency level on State assessments with appropriate accommodations shall be granted a Pennsylvania Certificate of Distinction.] Supplemental instruction. A student who does not score proficient or above on a PSSA administered in 11th grade or GCA administered in any grade shall be provided supplemental instructional support by the student's school entity. The supplemental instructional support must assist the student to attain proficiency in the State academic standards.
(d) Strategic plan. Each school district, including a charter school, shall describe in its strategic plan under § 4.13 how its planned instruction is designed to prepare students to meet the requirements of [subsection] subsections (a) and (b).
(e) Special education students. Children with disabilities who satisfactorily complete a special education program developed by an Individualized Education Program team under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and this part shall be granted and issued a regular high school diploma by the school district of residence. This subsection applies if the special education program of a child with a disability does not otherwise meet [all] the requirements of this chapter. [Children with disabilities who meet the required proficiency level on State assessments shall be granted the appropriate Certificate of Proficiency or Distinction.]
(f) Demonstration of proficiency. [The Department will develop Pennsylvania Certificates of Proficiency and Distinction for each of the State assessed disciplines. The Department will distribute the certificates to each school district in sufficient quantity for the school district to issue to its students who have earned the Certificates. School districts shall enter student names on the appropriate certificate as described in subsections (b) and (c) and present the certificates to the student.] For purposes of this section, students shall be deemed proficient in the State-assessed standards whenever they demonstrate proficiency through any of the assessment options in subsection (b), regardless of the student's grade level or age.
(g) [The Department will develop, or cause to be developed, Certificates of Proficiency so as to acknowledge and recognize those students who attain a level of at least proficient in all State assessed disciplines. The certificates must be distinctive and differentiated from the certificates described in subsection (f). The certificates shall be awarded to students as appropriate in lieu of those prescribed in subsection (b).
(h) The Department will develop, or cause to be developed, Certificates of Distinction so as to acknowledge and recognize those students who attain a score at the advanced level of proficiency in all State assessed disciplines. The certificates must be distinctive and differentiated from the certificates described in subsection (f). The certificates shall be awarded to students as appropriate in lieu of those prescribed in subsection (c).
(i)] Transcripts. Beginning in the 2003- 2004 school year, PSSA scores in each assessed discipline, and beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, GCA or validated local assessment scores, shall be included on student transcripts and may be released only with the permission of the student and parent or guardian, or the student only if the student is 18 years of age or older.
[(j)] (h) Release of scores. This section does not allow for the release of individual student PSSA or GCA scores to the Department or other Commonwealth entities in accordance with § 4.51(c) [(relating to State assessment system)].
§ 4.51. State assessment system.
* * * * *
(b) [State assessment] All PSSA instruments administered in reading, writing and mathematics in grades 5, 8 and 11 will be standards-based and criterion referenced and include essay or open-ended response items in addition to other item formats. The proportion of type of items will vary by grade level. Neither State assessments nor academic standards under § 4.12 may require students to hold or express particular attitudes, values or beliefs. The Department will make samples of assessment questions, instrument formats[,] and scoring guides available to the public after each administration of State assessments. The criteria for judging performance on State assessments are as follows:
(1) Performance on [State] PSSA reading assessments shall be demonstrated by students' responses to comprehension questions about age-appropriate reading passages and by their written responses to in-depth comprehension questions about the passages.
(2) Performance on [State] PSSA mathematics assessments shall be demonstrated by students' responses to questions about grade-appropriate content and by the quality of their responses to questions that require a written solution to a problem.
(3) Performance on [State] PSSA writing assessments shall be demonstrated by the quality of students' written compositions on a variety of topics and modes of writing.
(4) Performance on PSSA science assessments shall be demonstrated by students' responses to grade appropriate content and by the quality of their responses to questions that demonstrate knowledge of each category of the standards for science and technology and environment and ecology.
(5) Levels of proficiency shall be advanced, proficient, basic and below basic. In consultation with educators, students, parents and citizens, the Department will develop and recommend to the Board for its approval specific criteria for advanced, proficient, basic and below basic levels of performance.
(c) The Department will develop or cause to be developed [State] PSSA assessments based on academic standards in mathematics, reading [and], writing and science under § 4.12 and contained in Appendix A. In developing assessments, the Department will consult with educators, students, parents and citizens regarding the specific methods of assessment. To ensure that information regarding student performance is available to parents and teachers, State assessments developed under this section [shall] must include student names. Individual test results shall be used in planning instruction only by parents, teachers, administrators and guidance counselors with a need to know based upon local board policy on testing and in reporting academic progress. The Department or other Commonwealth entities are prohibited from collecting individual student test scores, and may only collect aggregate test scores by school and district.
* * * * *
(e) Students not achieving at the proficient level in the administration of State assessments in grade 11 shall be provided one additional opportunity in grade 12 to demonstrate a proficient level on [State] the PSSA assessments.
(f) The Department will develop or cause to be developed GCAs as follows:
(1) Three assessments aligned with the mathematics standards, contained in Appendix A, that assess the academic content traditionally included in Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry courses.
(2) Two assessments aligned with select reading, writing, speaking and listening standards, contained in Appendix A, that assess academic content traditionally included in high school literature and composition courses.
(3) Three assessments aligned with select History and Civics and Government standards, contained in Appendix C, that assess content traditionally included in high school level American history, World history and civics and government courses.
(4) Two assessments aligned with select standards for science and technology and environment and ecology, contained in Appendix B, that assess academic content traditionally included in high school level biology and chemistry courses.
(5) GCAs shall be offered at least 3 times each year, once each in the fall, spring and summer. GCAs shall be reviewed and scored so that the scores for candidates for graduation are provided to schools no later than 10 calendar days prior to graduation.
(6) Students shall be permitted to retake any GCA, or GCA module, in which the student did not score proficient or above at the next available testing date.
(7) Each GCA may be designed into modules that reflect distinct, related academic content that is common to the traditional progression of coursework to allow students who do not score proficient or above to retake those portions of the test in which they did not score proficient or above.
(8) The Department will provide guidance to school entities as to the appropriate accommodations school entities shall provide to students with disabilities and English language learners, when appropriate.
[(f)] (g) * * *
[(g)] (h) * * *
* * * * *
[(h)] (i) * * *
[(i)] (j) * * *
[(j)] (k) * * *
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-925. Filed for public inspection May 16, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]
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