Term Paper: Educational Leadership &amp Student Assessment

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[. . .] This program places an enormous amount of a pressure on Pennsylvania's public schools, often serving as a hindrance to public schools, which must find new ways produce good results. Often these schools change their curriculums to concentrate on the test material. While this may produce higher test scores, it often lowers actual academic achievement.

In addition, public schools have further incentive to tailor their curriculums to meet state test standards because of the recent implementation of state incentive money (Philadephia Inquirer, 2002). In 2002, Philadelphia public schools were awarded more than $4 million in state incentive money for improved test scores and attendance, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Charles Zogby.

Forty-eight city schools improved fifth-grade scores; 24 improved eighth-grade scores; and eight improved 11th-grade scores in the PSSA test. In addition, 28 school received awards for improved attendance. Five of 39 charter schools in the city received another $495,000, with MaST Community Charter School in Northeast Philadelphia getting $191,000 of that amount for huge increases in fifth- and eighth-grade test scores (Philadelphia Inquirer, 2002)."

However, critics argue that is unclear whether schools really improved their actual academic standards or just prepared students for the test.

Current Software Available for PSSA High School Exams variety of technology initiatives are currently being piloted around many Pennsylvania districts, using software packages by technology companies such as Accelerate, Blackboard and CourseWhere to provide remediation for students with low PSSA scores. Many software programs offer online sample PSSA testing programs, which have been successful in helping students to improve their scores.

For example, Assessment Connection is a study guide, remediation/enrichment exercise, and test generator that produces activities directly from state standards and objectives selected by the teacher.

Basically, students are tested with a Performance Series and given a list of strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of suggested standards and objectives. The Assessment Connection provides specific exercises and study guides for remediation, based on individual results.

CourseWhere workshop enhances the ability of teachers to help students write better, regardless of the teachers' capabilities (CourseWhere, 2003). This is especially helpful in lower-income public schools, where teachers are not as qualified. At the conclusion of the workshop, teachers have the ability and the expertise to score students' written work using the Pennsylvanua Domain Scoring Guide, which is similar to the one used on the actual PSSA.

These software programs have proven to be successful in helping students who are at the basic or below basic level on their PSSA exams.

Instruments and Procedures

The permanent goal of Southern LeHigh High School is to improve students' performance in the PSSA exams, increasing the percentage of students scoring proficient levels on the exams by five percent each years up to 100%. In an effort to help students achieve state academic standards, a remediation program, which includes the use of technology, will function in various ways depending upon the individual needs of the students.

If a successful system is implanted, teachers will be able to integrate technology to enhance student achievement, as well as assist students with mastering the PSSA standards, and maximize instructional productivity. Students will acquire the skills necessary to perform well on the PSSA exam.

It is important that the high school develop a systematic technology plan that uses effective PSSA-related software programs, such as those described in the previous chapter, to raise the PSSA scores. The following plan outlines the procedure for implementing this plan:

Maintain a systematic, effective technical program that effectively addresses service, management, replacement, and upgrade issues.

Upgrade existing hardware and software as needed.

Maintain an effective process of approval for purchasing new software.

Implement Southern LeHigh High School strategic plan for a PSSA-based Learning Lab.

Hire only professionals that are technologically literate.

Establish a PSSA accountability program that ensures minimal competence of sample PSSA tests.

Allow students to be taken from study labs to work on PSSA studies in technology labs.

As part of this commitment to a PSSA-oriented Learning Lab, the importance of continuous professional development to ensure enhanced student growth must be recognized. All staff members will be required to attend training sessions as each new software program is implemented. Throughout the school year, time will be allotted for training and updating information, such as Web-Quests, PSSA Math Assessments, new software strategies, and more. Staff will be allowed to choose technical workshops that meet their professional needs.

It is important not to overlook the importance of parental involvement in the implementation of a PSSA-focused learning lab. For many parents, the PSSA is viewed as an assessment of their child's school. Therefore, Southern LeHigh should make every effort to encourage parents to provide online access to students at home. If students participate in sample PSSA tests at school and at home, they will be more likely to excel when it comes time to take the actual test.

There are many ways to measure the success of the Learning Lab. While the most obvious way would be to compare PSSA test results, this does not allow the lab time to function properly and adjust its problem areas.

Therefore, I propose using large-scale data collection procedures, such as staff questionnaire surveying, follow-up interviews with various samples of teachers and counselors, and staff logs of parent contacts. Through regular probing for explanations and suggestions for improvement, the Learning Lab can continue to grow and improve as it prepares students for the PSSA testing.

Several possible measures may be used to gather the parental involvement results; for example, a survey instrument can be used to measure parents' opinions and behaviors with regards to their involvement in schools (commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2002).

Analysis

Southern LeHigh High School must make every effort to improve the capacity of staff training to integrate technology effectively into curricula and instruction. In order to do so, the school must provide professional development in (Commonewealth of Pennsylvania, 2002):

The integration of advanced technologies, including emerging technologies, into curricula and instruction, and Using those technologies to create new learning environment.

To effectively measure the results, the school must create evaluations that specifically address the capacities of their staff. In addition, its should provide a mandatory, Internet technology assessment tool for educators directly impacted by the PSSA requirements. At various points throughout the grant program, the tool should be used to assess (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2002):

Staff technology skill levels, and Staff abilities to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum.

Due to the fact that parental involvement is a critical component of student performance, its results must be effectively monitored and efforts must be made to improve results. One of the main goals of the project should be to demonstrate an increase in parental involvement.

The use of technology in education has proven to have enormous potential in making a positive impact on student learning in many ways. Technology can be utilized to turn schoolwork into real results. Computers and software provide all students, regardless of academic ability and social or economic status, with an environment to learn and take sample tests in a non-threatening way.

The use of technology in the classroom not only creates individual opportunities for remediation, but also promotes better study habits. PSSA-based software programs will undoubtedly give students the opportunity to improve their PSSA scores. By using technology, students are enabled to use resources and find answers that may not be obvious in books.

Based on the results of the project, the school must make every effort to remedy and improve student academic achievement through the use of technology. Therefore, the school should make it an immediate priority to address the results of the Learning Lab quickly and effectively. The school budget should allow for improvements and actions based on results.

For example, if parental involvement is not serving as an effective tool, the school should take additional steps to ensure the effective use of technology to promote parental involvement, and increase communication with parents (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 2003). Recommended actions include the delivery of information regarding the application of technology in the student's education so that the instruction at school may be reinforced at home.

In addition, if results show that staff members are not helping students improve PSSA scores through workshop trainings, subject area brainstorming meetings and technology sessions, more effective strategies for classrooms and instruction should be implemented.

There are many strategies that can help students learn the techniques and subject matter necessary to increase PSSA scores, including summer school programs and technology-related textbooks.

Conclusion

Despite the flaws of the PSSA, it remains the sole assessment test for Pennsylvania students. Therefore, in order to maintain state standards and not be penalized for low scores, schools and students must make it a top priority to enhance PSSA without sacrificing their overall education.

Therefore, this research paper recommends implementing a PSSA-based Learning Lab into Souther LeHigh High School to increase the time that students spend on individualized computer assisted instruction. As a result, it is expected that the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Educational Leadership &amp Student Assessment.  (2003, April 7).  Retrieved March 24, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/educational-leadership-student-assessment/4691235

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