Chesco High School Academic Score Comparisons – 2014

paschoolperformanceNow that the School Performance Profile website has been updated, I can begin making comparisons from SPP information, starting with High Schools. I included in this list neighboring Pequea Valley and Solanco High Schools from Lancaster County.

The first look is a full break down, sorted by highest to lowest scoring, followed by smaller lists that compare High Schools in neighboring school districts, and then those with the highest numbers of Economically Disadvantaged.

High School SPP – 2013 SPP – 2014 Difference % Change
Downingtown STEM Academy 101.4 101.4 0 0.00%
Unionville HS (Unionville- 97.9 98.2 0.3 0.31%
West Chester Henderson HS 95.7 98 2.3 2.35%
Downingtown Area HS East 95.5 97.3 1.8 1.85%
West Chester Bayard Rustin 94.3 96.9 2.6 2.68%
West Chester East HS 91.1 95.2 4.1 4.31%
Great Valley HS 97.6 94.5 -3.1 -3.28%
Downingtown Area HS West 93 94.1 1.1 1.17%
Conestoga SHS (T/E) 95.5 90.9 -4.6 -5.06%
Avon Grove HS 83.5 87.6 4.1 4.68%
Owen J. Roberts HS 87.9 87 -0.9 -1.03%
Kennett HS 88.9 86.1 -2.8 -3.25%
Pequea Valley HS (Lancaster) 82.7 83.2 0.5 0.60%
Phoenixville Area HS 74.4 75.7 1.3 1.72%
Solanco HS (Lancaster) 71.6 70.1 -1.5 -2.14%
Octorara Area JSHS 72.2 65.6 -6.6 -10.06%
Oxford Area HS 72.9 63.1 -9.8 -15.53%
Coatesville Area SHS 65 62.5 -2.5 -4.00%

Neighboring School Districts
This list includes all High Schools within school districts directly adjacent to Octorara.

High School SPP – 2013 SPP – 2014 Difference % Change
Unionville HS (Unionville- 97.9 98.2 0.3 0.31%
Avon Grove HS 83.5 87.6 4.1 4.68%
Pequea Valley HS (Lancaster) 82.7 83.2 0.5 0.60%
Solanco HS (Lancaster) 71.6 70.1 -1.5 -2.14%
Octorara Area JSHS 72.2 65.6 -6.6 -10.06%
Oxford Area HS 72.9 63.1 -9.8 -15.53%
Coatesville Area SHS 65 62.5 -2.5 -4.00%

Highest Economically Disadvantaged
This list includes all High Schools with a percentage of Economically Disadvantaged Students greater than 30%.

High School SPP – 2013 SPP – 2014 Econ Dis
Kennett HS 88.9 86.1 31.06%
Pequea Valley HS (Lancaster) 82.7 83.2 40.82%
Solanco HS (Lancaster) 71.6 70.1 36.14%
Octorara Area JSHS 72.2 65.6 34.01%
Oxford Area HS 72.9 63.1 33.76%
Coatesville Area SHS 65 62.5 44.44%

Conclusions
Overall, despite individual school scores going up or down, Chester County schools’ average SPP score remained statistically flat, 86.0 in 2014 compared to 86.7 in 2013.

As in the past, we want to look at the high schools that are “most like” Octorara. This has been loosely defined as those schools with a high number of Economically Disadvantaged.

Question: Is a high number of Economically Disadvantaged an excuse for poor School Performance scores?

Answer: No!

While three high schools with a high number of Economically Disadvantaged fell below the 70 point minimum benchmark, three others met or exceeded the standard, with two of those receiving SPP scores well over 80.

The high schools I am looking at as “most like Octorara” have scores ranging from 62.5 to 86.1. The average score of these schools was 71.8. Octorara scores a 65.6, the 3rd worst performing high school overall.

That doesn’t mean Economically Disadvantaged don’t hold a challenge. Each of the high schools with scores above 90 have very low numbers of Economically Disadvantaged compared to those below the 90 point threshold. However, in my opinion, no one should ever point the finger at the Economically Disadvantaged for a failing score.

In a school district with very high property taxes, which are expected to increase significantly without actually adding to education, the discussion must be return on investment, the cost per-student vs performance scores. I believe somewhere in the budget and finance discussions there should be focus on the cost per-student for each performance point. Does that make sense?

2 thoughts on “Chesco High School Academic Score Comparisons – 2014

  1. I’m not sure what that discussion would lead to Mr. Alexander. Are you implying tying the budget to performance points on the tests somehow? If so, what would the rationale be for that? Are you saying performance will somehow improve if you reduce the budget? Has there been a board discussion about the results yet?

    • In the discussion of the budget in early 2013, the Administration presented a “cost to educate” per child of just over $14,000 per child, middle of the road compared to other county schools.

      However, the actual budget charged over $18,000 per child (now $19,000), the highest per student cost in the county at the time. That equates to roughly 22% of the budget as non-educational.

      My assertion is that things like over-building the campus caused cuts in actual education, like the cuts in teachers back in 2007 and 2008… and the potential of more cuts like full day kindergarten in the future.

      The Education Committee previewed all the scores on October 27th, ahead of their release. You can see my post here: https://octorarataxes.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/octorara-previews-school-performance-profile-scores/

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