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Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS)

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In early fall, all public school districts, charter schools, cyber charter schools and full time Career and Technology Centers across the Commonwealth receive web-based reporting through the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS). PVAAS is a statistical analysis of Pennsylvania (PA) state assessment data, and provides Pennsylvania districts and schools with growth data to add to achievement data. This lens of measuring student learning provides educators with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of groups of students, as well as individual students.  PVAAS is one of the tools in the cadre of tools provided to districts from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Districts and schools are using PVAAS (growth data), in conjunction with achievement data, to make sure students are on the path to proficiency and beyond. Utilizing all the data available (growth and achievement), educators are able to make data-informed instructional decisions to ensure the academic growth and achievement of all students. 

What is the difference between achievement and growth data?

Achievement

  • Measures a student’s performance at one single point in time
  • Highly correlated with a student’s demographics
  • Compares student performance to a standard
  • Critical to a student’s post-secondary opportunities

Growth

  • Measures a student’s growth across time; i.e., across years
  • Not related to a student’s demographics
  • Compares student performance to his/her own prior performance
  • Critical to ensuring a student’s future academic success
  • By measuring students’ academic achievement AND growth, schools and districts have a more comprehensive picture of their own effectiveness in raising student achievement
How can you access PVAAS data?

Districts and schools can access PVAAS reporting at:  https://pvaas.sas.com
The public can access PVAAS through the same site, by clicking on the “Visit Public Site” link.

What is value-added assessment?

Value-added is a statistical analysis used to measure a district’s or school’s impact on the academic progress rates of groups of students from year-to-year.  Conceptually and as a simple explanation, a value-added “score” is calculated in the following manner:

  • Growth=Current Achievement (or current results) compared to all Prior Achievement/prior results; with achievement being measured by a quality assessment such as the PSSA.
  • The methodology used in Pennsylvania for value-added assessment is based on the EVAAS methodology.  Simple models for value-added assessment yield results that may be confounded by measurement error and exclude students who have missing data in their assessment history.
  • The methodology used by PVAAS is called Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS).  Pennsylvania’s implementation of EVAAS is called the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS).  The EVAAS methodology has been published since 1998 and has been nationally peer reviewed.
What is PVAAS?

PVAAS is a statistical analysis of PSSA assessment data, and provides districts and their schools with progress data to add to achievement data.  This new lens of measuring student learning provides educators with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of groups of students, as well as individual students.

To help you understand PVAAS analysis, think of academic growth in terms of a child’s physical growth, and the growth charts utilized by a child’s physician.  Growth charts are an important tool for monitoring a child’s development, but they are just one of the indicators used by the physician to ensure a child is growing at the minimum expected level and on the trajectory to grow as expected.  A physician would not use a growth chart in isolation to diagnose a child; however, the growth chart would provide valuable information that may warrant further exploration.

What are the benefits of PVAAS?

PVAAS offers an objective, more accurate way to measure student growth and the influence Pennsylvania’s public districts and schools have on students’ educational experiences.  With this information, educators are better able to:

  • Monitor the growth of all groups of students from low-achieving to high-achieving, ensuring growth opportunities for all students
  • Measure student achievement as a result of the impact of educational practices, classroom curricula, instructional methods, and professional development
  • Make informed, data-driven decisions about where to focus resources to help students make greater growth and perform at higher levels
  • Modify and differentiate instruction to address the needs of all students
  • Align professional development efforts in the areas of greatest need
  • Network with other districts/schools that may be yielding different growth results
  • Identify best practices and implement programs that best meet the needs of their students
What specific types of PVAAS reporting are available to districts and schools?

PVAAS provides two types of information, value-added (or growth) data on groups of students and student level projection data.

The value-added, or growth, information analyzes available data from previous years (looking back) to help districts and schools evaluate how much groups of students have gained academically in a school year by answering questions such as: Did a group or subgroup of students make a year’s worth of growth for a year’s worth of schooling?

The projection information uses the data already analyzed to help schools project (looking forward) to the future by answering questions such as: What is the likelihood of a student being proficient on a future state assessment?  Projection data can be used for intervention planning, enrichment planning, and resource allocation.

PVAAS is available in the grades and subjects/courses assessed in Pennsylvania’s statewide assessment system.  This includes reporting for Mathematics and English Language Arts (grades 4-8), science (grades 4, 8), and Keystones (Algebra 1, Literature, Biology starting in SY12-13).

PVAAS is one of the many tools provided to districts from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Districts and schools are using PVAAS, in conjunction with achievement data, to make sure all students are on an academic path to proficiency and beyond.  Utilizing all the data available (growth and achievement), educators are able to make data-informed instructional decisions to ensure the academic growth and achievement of all students.

For additional assistance with the PA Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS) website, please contact Lancaster-Lebanon IU#13 at Phone: 7171-606-1911 or by Email: pdepvaas@iu13.org.

For additional information, please contact:

Dana Klouser | AO/Program Manager
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Assessment and Accountability
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.705.3771 | Fax: 717.783.6642
00testing@psupen.psu.edu | www.education.state.pa.us