ERIC Number: ED336415
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jun-3
Reference Count: 0
Testing and School Improvement. Policy Paper Number 9. Pennsylvania Educational Policy Studies.
Cooley, William W.
Five years of state test results for Pennsylvania are examined, focusing on differences among elementary schools in which a majority of students do not master basic learning skills. Data are provided for 1,505 elementary schools in about 500 districts. The largest learning problems occur in about 10% of the schools; these schools have been consistently low for the past 5 years. More specifically, for about 150 of the schools, over half of the students score below minimum competence every year. The data reveal a stable set of relationships among schools and between school achievement and other factors. Socioeconomic differences of families are the major predictors of achievement differences among schools. Currently, student/teacher ratios are largely unrelated to students' needs or achievement growth. Research to establish the student achievement benefits of higher "per student spending" is difficult, since most spending variation among the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania is due to differences in teacher salaries or student/teacher ratios. Increasing teacher salaries could increase the quality of new teachers hired in the 1990's if valid teacher quality indicators are available and used by districts. Smaller classes could help if instruction is designed to take advantage of smaller class sizes and if use of smaller classes is managed. Four tables and two figures are included. Eight reports in the Pennsylvania Educational Policy Studies series are listed. (RLC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pittsburgh Univ., PA. Learning Research and Development Center.; Pittsburgh Univ., PA. School of Education.