The School Performance Profile (SPP) is a major improvement over previous methodologies used to measure academic performance of public schools and, for the first time, one which is consistently applied across all public schools. As with all new processes, adjustments will be made over time to refine and provide an even more accurate understanding of the performance of every public school.
The primary shortcoming with the current report, for both traditional and charter schools, is that the data being used is for only one year and does not measure growth of student learning over time. This makes the results incomplete for any public school that has been successful in advancing students several grade levels – which is a particular strength of many charter schools. As such, this first release of SPP data is most accurately viewed as a baseline upon which to measure future growth rather than a comprehensive measurement of performance. Over time, the SPP will evolve to provide a more complete analysis but, for now, it is primarily a snapshot in time. That said, the current report is valuable in helping to identify issues and areas for concentration.
The most intelligent and constructive way to use the SPP baseline data is to look at a school’s individual results and then compare those results with schools with similar demographics and missions. For both traditional and charter schools, the SPP data will eventually be a good tool to help quantify school performance, learn from those that are performing well, help those that are not, and close those that cannot or will not improve. In the case of charter schools, this also requires strong, consistent, and fair authorizers which the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Schools has consistently supported.