1. What is the PSSA?
The PSSA (Pennsylvania System of Schools Assessment) is a standardized test administered in all Pennsylvania public schools. The test was first implemented in 1995 and became mandatory in 1998. Presently, the content areas included on the test are Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The Reading and Math tests are given to students in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. The Writing tests are given in 6th grade. The purpose of the test is to determine student achievement of the Pennsylvania Standards.
2. What is an Alternative Assessment?
An alternative assessment is a district assessment that determines student achievement of the PA standards. The assessment must be approved by the Board of Education. One option is a standardized test other than the PSSA. Another option is a student portfolio.
3. How might a different standardized test compare to the PSSA?
Another standardized test would have a similar format, including the use of a scan-tron answer sheet for multiple choice questions. The test would also assess achievement of the PA Standards, however the student would not have the option of earning a PSSA certificate.
4. What are the PENNSYLVANIA STANDARDS?
The PA Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening are as follows:
1.1 Learning to Read Independently
1.2 Reading Critically in All Content Areas
1.3 Reading, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
1.4 Types of Writing
1.5 Quality of Writing
1.6 Speaking and Listening
1.7 Characteristics and Function of the English Language
The PA Standards for Mathematics are as follows:
2.1 Numbers, Number Systems and Number Relationships
2.2 Computation and Estimation
2.3 Measurement and Estimation
2.4 Mathematical Reasoning and Connections
2.5 Mathematical Problem Solving and Communication
2.6 Statistics and Data Analysis
2.7 Probability and Predictions
2.8 Algebra and Functions
2.11 Concepts of Calculus
9. What is a PROFICIENT score?
(Click here for information on levels from the PA Dept. of Ed. website)
READING Levels for 11th Grade:
Advanced 1520 and above
Below Basic 1139 & below
WRITING Levels for 11th Grade:
Advanced 1563 & above
Proficient 1236 - 1562
Basic 1088 -1235
Below Basic 1087 & below
MATHEMATICS Levels for 11th Grade:
Advanced 1490 & above
Proficient 1310 - 1489
Below Basic 1179 & below