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Achievement Indicator - PSSA Proficiency, Grade 7

Introduction

This achievement indicator, PSSA Proficiency in Grade 7, examines the extent to which students in seventh grade earn an Advanced or Proficient score on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) in the subject of English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The ELA PSSA is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment that measures proficiency in the core academic standards of literacy at the respective grade level. The Math PSSA is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment which measures proficiency in the core academic standards of mathematics at the respective grade level.

The PSSA is one way to gain insight into students’ overall academic achievement relative to state standards at the middle school level. It is one measure of accountability used by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assess student progress and school performance across the Commonwealth.  PSSA scores provide schools with information that may inform the need for curriculum and instruction alignment and planning as well as additional educational opportunities for students.

The ELA standards identify what a student should know and can do in the areas of reading and writing within a respective grade level by the end of the school year.  The Math standards identify what a student should know and can do in the areas of numbers and operations, algebraic concepts, geometry, statistics and probability, and problem-solving within a respective grade level by the end of the school year.  Additionally, the Grade 7 Math PSSA data, in particular, is reported separately as an early indicator of success. This on-track measure reflects research on the relationship between student knowledge and skills in grade 7 math and future academic success. 

Historical data show disparities between race/ethnicity groups. As with many standardized tests across the country, the percentages of Black and Hispanic students who earn a of Advanced or Proficient are significantly lower than the percentages of White and Asian students who achieve a score of Advanced or Proficient. Limited access to resources, lack of differentiated instruction, lack of culturally responsive teaching practices, and lack of access to rigorous coursework are some of the potential factors that may lead to disparities in test scores. Additionally, cultural bias in standardized tests may also be a contributing factor. Racial disparities in standardized test scores are complex and multifaceted, and addressing these disparities requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account the underlying factors that contribute to them, which is what this action plan addresses.

Current Update: November 2023

Action Plan

English-Language Arts
  • Different types of assessment are employed to identify students’ strengths and areas of need and monitor progress relative to the ELA PSSA concepts and skills throughout the school year.  The measures include district diagnostic assessments, such as the STAR Reading, curriculum-based common unit assessments, and classroom-based formative checks for understanding. 
  • Teachers plan for and implement differentiated instruction practices and varied small-group instructional models for pre-teaching, reteaching, and extension of learning.
  • Students receive supplemental support during the academic period during the day and the Homework Club after school.  Continued support is offered to identified students over the summer through the WMS Summer Academy.
  • Targeted interventions are provided by a Reading Specialist to students identified as having significant reading needs.
  • Second-chance learning opportunities are available for students to participate in the reteaching of reading and writing concepts and skills throughout each unit of study to achieve mastery.
  • Diverse pieces of literature and supplemental resources are utilized to provide multiple entry points to learning.
  • Through professional learning opportunities, teachers continue to build their capacity to cultivate a classroom community and embed culturally responsive teaching practices.
  • Grade level teams connect with families during fall and spring conferences and throughout the school year to engage families in the instructional program.

 

Math
  • Different types of assessment are employed to identify students’ strengths and areas of need and monitor progress relative to the Math PSSA concepts and skills throughout the school year.  The measures include district diagnostic assessments, such as the STAR Math, curriculum-based common unit assessments, and classroom-based formative checks for understanding. 
  • Teachers plan for and implement differentiated instruction practices and varied small-group instructional models for pre-teaching, reteaching, and extension of learning.
  • Students receive supplemental support during the academic period during the day and the Homework Club after school.  Continued support is offered to identified students over the summer through the WMS Summer Academy.
  • Targeted interventions are provided by a Math Specialist to students identified as having significant math needs.
  • Second-chance learning opportunities are available for students to participate in the reteaching of math concepts and problem-solving skills throughout each unit of study to achieve mastery.
  • Supplemental resources and online programs, such as Khan Academy, are utilized to provide multiple entry points to learning.
  • Through professional learning opportunities, teachers continue to build their capacity to cultivate a classroom community and embed culturally responsive teaching practices.
  • Grade level teams connect with families during fall and spring conferences and throughout the school year to engage families in the instructional program.

Achievement Indicators - PSSA Proficiency, Grade 7

Click on the drop-down arrows to learn more about the PSSA English-Language Arts and Mathematics achievement indicators for Grade 7.