Northern Lehigh School District has a plan in place to provide students with the best math education according to state standards.
With that thought in mind, math consultant Bryan Geist gave a presentation to the school board on Monday on a math proposal for the 2014-15 school year.
Geist specifically focused on the School Performance Profile, which takes into account student achievement levels, growth and other indicators.
The high school's achievement score is 32.5 points, while the middle school's achievement score is 40 points; the high school's growth score is 30 points, while the middle school's growth score is 40 points; and the high school's other indicators score is 10 points, while the middle school's is five points.
That leaves a total of 72.5 points for the high school, and 85 points for the middle school.
Additionally, the high school received six extra credit points, while the middle school received four extra credit points.
The high school's achievement percentage is 64, its growth percentage is 58, and its other indicators percentage is 87, Geist said.
Other indicators include graduation rate, attendance rate, percentage of students who take AP/college courses, and Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test participation.
Overall, Geist said Northern Lehigh's SPP score is 66.02.
Of concern, Geist said, is the district's growth score of 58 percent.
When high school 11th graders were given the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test, Geist said Northern Lehigh was No. 1 in Lehigh County in terms of growth.
However, when the Keystone Tests were given to eighth- and ninth-grade students, Northern Lehigh was last in Lehigh County in growth in high school scoring, he said.
Current classroom format
Geist said the current classroom format consists of PSSA advanced/proficient students; PSSA proficient/basic students; and PSSA basic/below basic students.
There were about 25 PSSA advanced/proficient students who were tested in eighth grade; about 65 PSSA Proficient/Basic students who were tested in ninth grade; and about 35 students who tested in ninth grade, Geist said.
The issues with the current format, Geist said, is that the Keystone algebra test covers material in its current high school Algebra I and Algebra 2 courses, the growth score does not reflect students' true math growth in high school since the test is given in eighth or ninth grade; and it's an insufficient foundation for Algebra for all students.
Geist said the proposed plan is to rename the courses and math curriculum; benchmark students before the course, during the course and concluding the course; increase algebraic foundations for all students; and proactively remediate students before the Keystone Math course.
Geist said benefits to the proposed plan are that it increases the Algebraic foundation for all students; all algebra concepts will be covered before the Keystone Exam; it will allow the high school to proactively remediate students before the Keystone Exam; and it will show the true growth model for the high school, Geist said.
Other waysto increase the SPP
Other ways to increase the SPP, Geist said, is to offer an SAT Prep Course to increase the SAT/ACT benchmark score; change the probability and statistics course to offer the AP test in mathematics; extra credit is offered for students scoring 3 or higher on an AP exam; and offer PSAT testing during the midweek, he said.
Participation is the only item scored for SPP on the PSAT, said Geist.
"This plan needs to be introduced as soon as possible."
Geist said the process will enable the district to match the curriculum toward the Keystone Exam.
"If we do nothing, we don't know where our scores will go," he said. "If we do something, we can guarantee the scores will be going up."
Superintendent Michael Michaels said, "We want to give our kids the opportunity to be successful."
Board President Edward Hartman then added his perspective.
"The game plan is to improve," Hartman said. "That's all we can do."
School Performance Profile
The School Performance Profile provides the public with a comprehensive overview of student academic performance in every Pennsylvania public school building.
Designed to serve three purposes, the SPP is used for federal accountability for Title I schools, the new teacher and principal evaluation system, and to provide the public with information on how public schools across Pennsylvania are academically performing.
The SPP will provide demographic data, academic data and an academic performance score. Unlike previous measures, the SPP utilizes many data points to measure schools.