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Education

Most Pittsburgh Schools Rank Below Goal In State Performance Review

Of the 51 schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district rated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, only 16 of them met or exceeded the state’s goal of have all schools obtaining at least 70 points on a 0-100 scale.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education Thursday released the second annual performance review of all schools in the state. The numeric score places standardized test scores, year-over-year academic growth, graduate and promotion rates, attendance and other measurements on a weighted matrix to come up with the final number.

Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said it is a much better tool than the old Adequate Yearly Progress standard.

“It doesn’t just look at one test," Eller said. "It looks at multiple areas within a school that determines the academic health of a school building and how students are doing.”

The data posted on the Department of Education website allows users to perform various searchers including grade ranges, zip code searchers and county searchers. Users can also get reports for individual schools with demographics data and scores for individual components of the ranking.

The Pittsburgh public school with the highest ranking is CAPA with an 88.8. Sterrett 6-8 is the only other school in the district with more than 80 points. Thirty-five schools had a score of less that 70.

“Last year when the [Pennsylvania Department of Education] secretary first released this school performance profile she said a 70 or higher is the benchmark of where schools should be moving toward,” Eller said.

By comparison, 185 of the 273 schools in Allegheny County that were included in the report scored a 70 or better and 61 ranked higher than 90.

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials were not available for comment.

The data was to have been released in October and some critics of the Corbett administration had complained that the data was being withheld until after the election for political reasons. Eller said the data was released to the schools last month to allow them to make any corrections before it was published Thursday.

“Because when this information comes out this is how people are looking at schools and the department’s sole focus is insuring that the information that the public will see is 100 percent accurate,” Eller said.