Begin Main Content Area

College and Career Measures: Rigorous Courses of Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is committed to providing regular updates on the implementation of its recently approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan and the Future Ready PA Index, a comprehensive, public-facing school progress report that increases transparency around school and student group performance. This e-message is the seventh in a series to provide timely information on the transition to the Future Ready PA Index.

As outlined in previous Future Ready updates, indicators fall into three main categories:

  1. Statewide Assessment Measures
  2. On-Track Measures
  3. College and Career Ready Measures

This e-message provides additional details and support on the Rigorous Courses of Study Indicator, one of six College and Career Ready Measures. There is a strong body of research supporting the connection between enrollment in rigorous secondary coursework and postsecondary enrollment.1

The Rigorous Courses of Study Indicator represents the percentage of 12th graders who participated in at least one Rigorous Course of Study, defined as Advanced Placement (AP)/International Baccalaureate (IB)/dual credit, during grades 7-12, or were concentrators in a CTE program of study. Core content subject areas included in this collection are as follows:

  •  Arts
  •  English Language Arts
  •  History and Social Sciences
  •  Math and Computer Science
  •  Science and Engineering
  •  World Language and Culture

For students attending a Career and Technical Center (CTC) for a CTE program of study, credit will be provided to both the CTC and the sending local education agency (LEA). Similarly, an LEA that enrolls students in a high school-based CTE program while sending other students to a regional CTC program will be credited for both student groups.

1 Lucas, 1999; Perna, 2000; Speroni, 2011.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for the Rigorous Courses of Study Indicator

How will schools code information in PIMS for credit toward the Rigorous Courses of Study Indicator?

The following templates in PIMS will inform the Rigorous Courses of Study indicator:

  • AP/IB/dual credit data is derived from the LEA Course, Student Course Enrollment, and Course Instructor.
  • The number of concentrators is derived from the CTE Student Fact template, field: Percentage of Program Complete. Concentrators are students who have completed 50 percent or more in an assigned program of study.
    • For CTCs, credit will be awarded based on Location Code field found in the Student template.
    • For district schools, credit will be awarded based on Location of Residence field found in the Student template

How will CTC and LEA (Non-CTC) comparisons be measured for this indicator?

To ensure relevant and meaningful comparisons, performance will be displayed in the following manner:

  • State averages for CTCs
  • State averages for non-CTC LEAs

How are indicators calculated?

The Rigorous Courses of Study Indicator reflects two separate calculations, as detailed below:


Measures Calculation

Percentage of 12th grade students who participated in AP,
IB or dual credit courses or in a concentrated CTE program of study.

Numerator:  Sum of the number of 12th graders who participated in any one of the following categories:

  • AP or IB coursework
  • Concentrated CTE program of study
  • Courses eligible to receive college credit through dual enrollment or other district-sponsored, college-accredited programs graduation

Denominator:  Number of 12th graders (Note:  A 12th grader is counted one time, even if multiple courses are completed.)

Total number of AP, IB, and dual credit courses offered by the LEA

Each school's number of unique AP/IB/Dual Enrollment course offerings in grades 7-12 in:

  • Arts
  • English Language Arts
  • History and Social Sciences
  • Math and Computer Science
  • Science and Engineering
  • World Language and Culture

 
 

How will school performance be described and displayed on the Future ready pa index for the rigorous courses of study indicator?

For 2017-2018, the overall percentage of 12th graders who participated in a Rigorous Course of Study will be displayed as an informational indicator and will only be reported as a percentage of students who attained the targets divided by the total number of students in the cohort. Performance Standards will be developed using the 2017-2018 data as a baseline to measure expected school performance levels for use beginning in 2018-19. Results will be displayed as follows:

  •  BLUE for a school that exceeds the Performance Standard
  •  GREEN for a school that meets the Performance Standard
  •  RED for a school that does not meet the Performance Standard

In addition to the Blue, Green, and Red Performance designations, year over year performance will be depicted by:

  • An upward ARROW for an increase in performance from the previous year
  • A solid CIRCLE for maintaining the same performance from the previous year
  • A downward ARROW for a decrease in performance from the previous year

In addition to displaying the overall percentage, each of the following components will also be displayed on the dashboard:

  • Percent of 12th graders who participated in Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Percent of 12th graders enrolled into a concentrated CTE program of study
    • Number of students enrolled in a concentrated POS in a CTC
    • Number of students enrolled in a concentrated POS in the LEA
  • Percent of 12th graders enrolled in college courses eligible to receive college credit through Dual-enrollment,
    College in the High School, or another college accredited program in which the student receives course credit toward
    graduation and is sponsored by the district. (Coded under Dual Enrollment with broader definition)

The next Future Ready PA Index e-message will focus on the English Language Proficiency Indicator.