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Using the Future Ready Pa. Index, a tool meant to provide the public with comprehensive information on student and school success, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has determined that a significantly higher number of high school students are enrolling in advanced courses and industry-based learning opportunities compared to students in 2018.

The 2019 data shows there was a 22% increase in the number of non-career and technical education students who participated in industry-based learning experiences. It also showed a 17% increase in the number of students who enrolled in at least one rigorous course of study, including Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or dual credit courses.

“The department developed the index to provide parents, employers, and the community with a more comprehensive look at how Pennsylvania schools are educating all students, including historically under-represented groups,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “The index goes beyond standardized tests. It shows if student progress is on track and illustrates how schools are preparing students with the education and skills necessary to secure good jobs and strengthen the Commonwealth’s workforce.”

The index was launched last year with input from thousands of stakeholders and uses a dashboard format to present school-level data in three main categories: student academic performance; student progress with on-track measures; and whether students graduate college- and career-ready.

The dashboard also illustrates progress in the three categories by student group - including economically disadvantaged students, English Learners, students receiving special education services, and racial and ethnic groups. This information allows parents and their communities to better understand student performance among the different groups.

The 2019 data shows:

  • A 30% increase in the number of schools that exceeded the state goal for attendance for English Learners.
  • A 9% increase in the number of schools that exceeded the state goal for attendance for Hispanic students.
  • A substantial increase in the number of schools that exceeded the state goal for the Career Standards Benchmark for English Learners, Black, Asian, and Students with Disabilities populations.
  • State Assessment measurements demonstrate student performance on the PSSA and Keystone Exam standardized tests. This also includes data from the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS), which represents the academic growth of students.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.