Date of Award

Spring 2-13-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Elaine Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Luke Stedrak, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Andrew McLaughlin, Ed.D.


Common Core, Pennsylvania, PSSA, Keystone



The purpose of this research study was to explore trends in student test performance since the Common Core implementation in 8th and 11th grades in Pennsylvania. After receiving failing grades for the Pennsylvania State Standards when compared with other states, legislators adopted the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in 2013. Much of this decision was grounded in the belief that with new standards, Pennsylvania student test scores would move from 35-45% proficiency levels in Reading and Math to 100% proficiency (Hamilton, 2007).

Research questions focused on the trends in students’ scores over time as reported by the PSSA and Keystone exams, administered each year. A quantitative analysis was performed with repeated measures for 8th grade from 2015-2017 and for 11th grade from 2013-2017 looking for statistical significance in the general population, the “Historically Underperforming” population, and in locales- urban, suburban, rural, and towns. Where significance was found, correlations were run between the covariates of Black/Hispanic and poor student populations.

Results showed significant growth in 8th grade math scores over time, with negative correlations from race and poverty which also affected 8th grade ELA scores in the “Historically Underperforming” population. Eleventh grade scores showed no significance except negative correlations associated with race in the “Historically Underperforming” reading students. When drilling down to locales, significance was found in growth made by city and rural schools in 8th grade math and short term gains in 11th grade math.