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Philly schools get mixed results on state performance measure

One out every six district schools were rated as high-performing, virtually unchanged from a year ago.

THE STATE Department of Education yesterday released the 2013-14 School Performance Profiles for every public school in the commonwealth, and roughly one in six Philadelphia schools was rated as high-performing, district officials said.

Thirty-four of the district's 214 schools, or about 16 percent, earned a score of 70 or higher, which the state considers high-performing. That's virtually unchanged compared to 38 out of 242 district schools a year ago (24 schools were closed after the 2012-13 year).

Statewide, 72 percent of schools scored 70 or higher, the same figure as a year ago, according to Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq.

In its second year, the SPP is calculated based on statewide assessments; year-to-year student academic growth; graduation, attendance and promotion rates; and academic growth for historically low-performing groups, such as English-language learners and low-income students.

Starting this year, student growth data from the SPP will be used as part of the new teacher evaluation system. As a result, the state gave districts several weeks to review and verify the data to ensure accuracy.

In Philadelphia, 85 schools earned higher ratings, while 127 saw their ratings decline.

Jura Chung, of the district's Office of Strategic Analytics, said her office was still analyzing the data and did not have a broad explanation for the changes.

"I do believe that statewide the performance on state assessments fell, and so that might be one driver, but we don't know how other . . . districts in the state performed."

She noted the declines at a number of schools were statistically insignificant. "I think one of the tricky things about this is if you just want to go with those stats it's true that we had more decrease, but where do you want to draw the line as to what is a true decrease?"

For the second straight year, Central High School had the highest rating in the district, with 90.8, down from 101.3 last year. Carver High (90.6) and Masterman (90.1) were the only other district schools with 90 or higher, but both were down from last year. The median score in the district was 56.8, Chung said.