Communicating PVAAS to Your School Board and Community
School board and community members have a vested interest in improving student achievement. Value-added data is meaningful information for school boards and districts/LEAs. PVAAS reporting is complementary data to add information yielded from other data tools, such as PSSA Data Interaction by eMetric (PSSA and Keystone data), Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDTs), benchmark assessments, and locally selected assessments.
Many board and community leaders are from business and industry. These leaders may already be familiar with the concept of value-added analysis in a business context. They recognize the benefits of using data to inform business decisions. Enlist their support in using PVAAS data to inform education decisions.
Communicating information about PVAAS to your board and the community can add a new dimension to understanding student performance in your district/LEA. Districts/LEAs across the Commonwealth have shared PVAAS reporting with local school boards and community audiences. The following are suggestions for effective communication with your school board and community.
Develop a District/LEA Implementation and Communications Plan
Communicating the concept of value-added analysis and its benefits are important. PVAAS growth data is fundamentally different from achievement data. Many people are newer to using PVAAS growth data for decision-making; therefore, constituencies may require different levels of understanding of the concept of growth data and the importance of using this information to get a comprehensive picture of student performance. Some constituencies may wish to see the actual district/LEA and school reports, while others will be interested in what your district/LEA plans to do with the data to continue with successful growth and/or make changes to educational programs for improved growth.
Plan carefully if your district/LEA decides to discuss the concept of teacher value-added reporting. Remember these are data used towards teacher evaluation, which is a confidential process. Act 13 states that “An employee's individual rating form shall not be subject to disclosure under the act of February 14, 2008 (P.L. 6, No. 3), known as the Right-to-Know Law." It is important to have a clearly defined implementation and communications plan in place.
Considerations for a Communications Plan
Define key audiences and constituencies
- Who needs information on the value-added analysis concept and its benefits?
- Who needs information on the local analysis of PVAAS district/school data and reports?
- Who needs detailed information on the district’s/LEA's data in the context of continuous improvement?
Define Key Influencers
- Identify members of your key constituencies who can assist you with communication efforts.
- Involve these “influencers” and provide training opportunities to build their understanding and support for the use of growth data along with achievement data.
Keep Your Message Simple
PVAAS may be a new concept for some of your constituents. Be sure that your key message points are clear and easy to understand. Avoid educational jargon and technical terms that are confusing. It may be helpful to determine two or three key message points in your PVAAS data and illustrate those using basic charts and graphs.
Suggested Approach: Go for the Big Ideas and Remember the Audience
- Start with the PVAAS scatterplots – achievement versus growth.
- Summarize data from key reports.
- District Launchpad
- District Value-Added
- School Value-Added Summary (for large districts/LEAs with multiple elementary or secondary schools)
- District Projection Summary
Develop Strategies to Deliver Your Key Message Points and PVAAS Information
- How will you disseminate your message points to various audiences?
- What information will be provided at a school board meeting?
- What information will be provided in district/LEA newsletters?
- What materials will be provided in print form versus digital/online form?
- How will the meaning of the results be communicated?
- How will the plan of action regarding areas of strength be communicated?
- How will the plan of action regarding areas of need be communicated?
Communicate District and School Goals and Objectives
- Communicate expectations for PVAAS data usage at the district/LEA and school levels to make data-informed decisions.
- Develop a process for report analysis at the district, building, grade and student levels.
- Identify personnel who will have access to PVAAS reports.
- Develop a timeline for the administrative team to analyze reports.
- Develop a timeline for analyses with staff.
- Develop a timeline for change implementation.
Highlight Areas of Strength and Plan for Areas of Need
PVAAS data demonstrates where progress is occurring. An initial focus on your district’s/LEA’s or school’s strengths shows where growth is being made and allows you to investigate and, perhaps, replicate the factors contributing to that progress. For areas of need, be sure you are ready to communicate a plan for action for further investigating any area of need and sharing action steps to address those needs.
Links to numerous resources can be found on the
PVAAS login page. For additional information, you may also contact the PVAAS Statewide Team via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (717-606-1911).