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Stakeholder  Engagement - Workgroup Recommendations

Phase One: Stakeholder workgroups convened in April 2016 and thereafter met several days in full day sessions focusing on four key areas. At the conclusion of their discussions, the workgroups made a series of framework recommendations for consideration by the Department:    

  1. PDE should reduce ESSA-required, statewide testing time for all students.
  2. Pursuant to decreasing the time spent on ESSA-required, statewide assessments, PDE should conduct a study to determine the feasibility of administering assessments at multiple points in time to better inform instruction.
  3. PDE should utilize a standards-aligned, state-required, multiple choice-only assessment to meet ESSA requirements. PDE should encourage local education agencies (LEAs) to utilize performance-based measures for students to demonstrate progress toward achievement of postsecondary goals. 
  1. The accountability system should start with a student-centered approach which considers the whole student experience including academics, physical and cultural environment and supports.
  2.  The PA accountability system should be based on an array of indicators of student experiences and growth toward college and career readiness, appropriately selected and weighted to serve different purposes, including:  
    A. Identifying schools for ESSA supports, intervention, and recognition;
    B. Timely reporting of meaningful information to schools, policymakers, and communities; and
    C. Setting statewide, school, and community goals and interim targets.  
  3. The Pennsylvania accountability system will enable system wide continuous and sustainable improvement by providing transparent, timely, and meaningful feedback to all stakeholders.
  4. The interventions in Pennsylvania’s accountability system are evidence-based and applied in ways that are flexible and responsive to varying needs of students, communities, and schools to support the growth of every child. Pennsylvania’s system includes a framework for district differentiated recognition, accountability and assistance. The level of state response is dependent on the tier status of the LEA. The tiered system classifies schools and LEAs on multiple levels based on multiple measures. The level or tier indicates the amount and type of support/intervention needed to improve student outcomes.
Educator Preparation
  1. The Department should promote and increase opportunities to recruit, retain, and ensure a diverse, talented, and supported educator workforce.
  2. The Department will define effective teachers as those who strive to engage all students in learning, demonstrate instructional and subject matter competence, and continuously grow and improve.
  3. The Department should promote and support collaborative infield, practical experiences as a crucial component of educator preparation.
  4. The Department should promote and increase opportunities to recruit, retain, and support diverse and talented school leaders.*
Educator Evaluation
  1.  Revise the overall components of the professional evaluation systems to reflect the following provisions that support teacher quality and student achievement: 80 percent professional practice (observation) and 20 percent student measures (SPP or combination of SPP and other relevant data as identified in the LEA’s comprehensive plan).
  2. Ensure that LEAs implement Pennsylvania’s educator evaluation system using a differentiated and collaborative process which promotes educator growth.
The stakeholder workgroups collectively identified 13 consensus-based framework recommendations for consideration in the development of Pennsylvania’s ESSA plan. These recommendations were summarized and placed in the context of relevant research by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in a report (PDF), released at the fourth and final Phase One stakeholder engagement event held on October 18, 2016.
* ESSA defines a “school leader” as a principal, assistant principal, or other individual who is an employee or officer of an elementary or secondary school, LEA, or other entity operating an elementary or secondary school, and who is responsible for the daily instructional leadership and managerial operations in the elementary or secondary school building.