Future Ready PA Index

A Proposed Tool for Evaluating School & Student Performance

A New Education Law

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.

Highlights of ESSA

The law:

  • Upholds critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • For the first time, requires at all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
  • Ensures information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress towards standards.
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators.
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.
  • Calls for a more holistic measurement of school success.

What is The Future Ready Index

The proposed Future Ready system would put more weight on measures that look at students' academic growth during the year. The intent of the proposed tool would broaden the factors that are considered when determining school and student performance.

The "Future Ready PA Index" would replace the School Performance Profile (SPP), which gives schools a score of 0-100. The SPP scores are based on a variety of factors but rely heavily on how schools perform on the PSSA and Keystone exams.

The Future Ready PA Index is comprised of three key areas, which would be viewed collectively when evaluating school success in the Commonwealth. Those components include:

  • State Assessment Measures
  • On-Track Measures
  • College and Career Readiness Measures

The Future Ready PA Index Components Defined

State Assessment Measures Include:

  • Percent Proficient and Advanced on PSSA/Keystone Exams
  • Meeting Annual Academic Growth Expectations (PVAAS)
  • Students with Disabilities - Meeting Annual Academic Growth Expectations - NEW

On-Track Measures Include:

  • Grade 3 Reading Indicators of Success - NEW
  • Grade 7 Mathematics Indicators of Success - NEW
  • English Language Proficiency - NEW
  • Attendance
  • Closing the Achievement Gap

College and Career Readiness Measures Include:

  • Career Standards Benchmark - NEW
  • Industry Standards-Based Competency Assessments and/or Industry Recognized Credentials
  • AP/IB/College Courses/Career Pathways
  • Graduation Rate
  • Post-secondary Transition to School, Military, or Work - NEW

Shifting the School Paradigm: The New Reality for Schools

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has framed the shift to The PA Future Ready Index following much inquiry and discussion with legislators, workforce entities, and educators.

The impetus for the shift in measuring school success is the reality that by 2025:

  • More than six in 10 Pennsylvania jobs will require some form of post-secondary education or training. In addition, the overwhelming majority of STEM jobs in Pennsylvania (91%) will require some form of post-secondary education and training.
  • Currently, 45% of Pennsylvanians hold these credentials, and a significant skills gap, especially for “middle skills” occupations requiring some post-secondary training but not a four-year degree, continues to persist for the commonwealth’s current and emerging workforce.

Pennsylvania’s economic future depends on having a well-educated and skilled workforce that is prepared to meet the current and projected demands of a global, knowledge-based 21st century economy. Therefore, it is imperative that Pennsylvania students at all educational levels have access to high-quality academic and technical education, as well as opportunities to assess interests, build skills, and identify and explore careers aligned to those interests and skills. Regardless of their post-secondary plans, all students should leave high school with a solid foundation in career education and work.

In 2006, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education promulgated regulations (22 Pa. Code Chapter 4) establishing the state Academic Standards for Career Education and Work (CEW standards) and making the standards required education for all students in Pennsylvania.

The CEW standards address four areas of knowledge:

  • Career Awareness and Preparation;
  • Career Acquisition (Getting a Job);
  • Career Retention and Advancement; and
  • Entrepreneurship.

In addition the workforce realities, Pennsylvania schools are required in Chapter 339 to ensure the development and implementation of a comprehensive program of K-12 guidance services aligned to the Career Education and Work standards and requires all school entities to integrate the Career Education and Work standards into the curriculum.


How is Upper Perk Preparing for the Transition?

As a school district, we have been preparing for some time for the transition to the Future Ready Index. We have adopted a software program, Naviance, in grades six through twelve. As part of this program, students and teachers are able to administer career and post-secondary training assessments. Students are also using Naviance to create and manage artifacts that align to their post-secondary plans. For our college bound high school students, Naviance is used for college application completion and to transmit important documents to prospective post-secondary institutions. The opportunities the program presents are truly endless and continue to be explored by our middle and high school teachers.

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year and continuing through this year, a K-12 committee has assembled that meets periodically to establish college and career preparation benchmarks. This committee has been working tirelessly to align classroom activities and assessments with these benchmarks. The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit is providing this committee with ongoing training and support as we transition to the Future Ready Index and refine our K-12 College and Career Preparation plan. This committee will present it proposed College and Career Comprehensive Guidance plan to the public in the spring of 2018.