More Students Taking Rigorous Courses, Industry-Based Classes

More Students Taking Rigorous Courses, Industry-Based Classes

HARRISBURG, PA — The number of high school students enrolling in advanced courses or industry-based learning opportunities increased substantially from 2018, according to data released today on the Future Ready PA Index by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). The Future Ready PA Index is the Wolf Administration’s new public-facing tool for comprehensive information on student and school success.

“Under Governor Wolf’s direction, the department developed the index to provide parents, employers and the community with a more comprehensive look at how Pennsylvania schools are educating all students, including historically under-represented groups,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “The index goes beyond standardized tests. It shows if student progress is on track and illustrates how schools are preparing students with the education and skills necessary to secure good jobs and strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce.”

The 2019 data shows there was a 22% increase in the number of non-career and technical education students who participated in industry-based learning experiences. It also showed a 17% increase in the number of students who enrolled in at least one rigorous course of study, including Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or dual credit courses.

The index was launched last year with input from thousands of stakeholders and uses a dashboard approach to present school-level data in three main categories: student academic performance; student progress with on-track measures; and whether students graduate college and career ready.

The dashboard also illustrates progress in the three categories by student group – including economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, students receiving special education services, and racial and ethnic groups. This information allows parents and their communities to better understand student performance among the different groups.

The 2019 data shows:

  • A 30% increase in the number of schools that exceeded the state goal for attendance for English Learners.
  • A 9% increase in the number of schools that exceeded the state goal for attendance for Hispanic students.
  • A substantial increase in the number of schools that exceeded the state goal for the Career Standards Benchmark for English Learners, Black, Asian, and Students with Disabilities populations.

The Future Ready PA Index is designed to be easy for parents to understand. A color-coded system illustrates student and school progress in the three main measurement categories.

State Assessment measurements demonstrate student performance on the PSSA and Keystone Exam standardized tests. This also includes data from the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS), which represents the academic growth of students.

On-Track measurements show regular attendance and indicate progress in reading and math and in English Language proficiency.

College and Career-Ready measurements illustrate how well students are being prepared for post-secondary success by showing access to rigorous courses, such as Advanced Placement, and by identifying industry-based credentials earned by students. It also includes, for the first time, data on college enrollment, military enlistment and workforce participation.

Visit the Future Ready PA Index.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education

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