In 2014, Pennsylvania adopted the PA Core Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. These standards identify what students must know and be able to demonstrate at varying grade levels in these subject areas. The Pennsylvania Academic Standards or National Standards exist in all other subjects. School districts possess the freedom to design curriculum and instruction to ensure that students meet or exceed these learning expectations.
The annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment used to measure a student's attainment of the PA Core Standards while also determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of the standards. Pennsylvania students in grades 3 through 8 are assessed in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Pennsylvania students in grades 4 and 8 are assessed in Science.
Individual student scores, provided only to their respective schools, can be used to assist teachers in identifying students who may be in need of remediation or enrichment. School scores provide information to schools and districts for curriculum and instruction improvement discussions andplanning.
The following PSSA administration schedule (preliminary) represents when our students will participate in these assessments during the 2017-2018 school year.
English Language Arts
April 9 – 13, 2018
3 – 8
April 16 – 20, 2018
3 – 8
April 23 – 27, 2018
April 30 – May 4, 2018
During the past school year, your child may have participated in one or more of the Keystone End-of-Course Exams. Currently, the State requires that all students participate in the Algebra I, Literature and Biology Keystone End-of-Course Exams at the conclusion of the respective coursework. Students graduating in 2019 or later must demonstrate proficiency to fulfill all graduation requirements for any public high school in the Commonwealth, although there are discussions at the State level about changing this requirement. Stay tuned for updated information as we receive it.
If your child scored ADVANCED or PROFICIENT on any of the Keystone Exams, they are to be commended for their performance and you should know they have met the State requirements within the tested content area. If your child scored BASIC or BELOW BASIC on one or more of the Keystone Exams, he/she will most likely participate in a retest during an upcoming school year or summer.
Students who were not proficient on the Algebra I Exam are being encouraged to re-test during the winter administration (January) while enrolled in Algebra II. The same approach applies to students who have been unable to demonstrate proficiency on the 10th grade Literature Exam. They will be recommended to re-test in January of their 11th grade year after being provided the opportunity to review the eligible content as part of their Grade 11 English coursework. Biology students participating in some form of remediation will be closely monitored to determine their readiness for the best testing window and their re-test experience.
The following Keystone Exam administration schedule (preliminary) represents when our students will participate in these assessments during the 2017-2018 school year.
Winter: Wave 1
December 4 – 15, 2017
Winter: Wave 2
January 8 – 22, 2017
May 14 – 25, 2018
July 30 – August 3, 2018
In preparation for these assessments, it is critical that parents are aware of the policies associated with the administration of these standardized tests. Please review the following:
- Electronic Device Policy
- Calculator Policy
- Code of Conduct for Test Takers
Additionally, parents/guardians have the right to review the relevant PSSA/Keystone Exam, but this review cannot compromise the the security or validity of the assessment in any way. Any parent requesting a review must sign a Parent Confidentiality Agreement and attest that he/she will not discuss, disseminate, or otherwise reveal the content of the assessment materials to anyone, including his/her own child or children.