Talking to your child's teachers about the PSSAs and Keystone Exams

Partners Post, October 2015

Parents and guardians may have questions for their children's teachers about the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSAs) and Keystone Exams.

The PSSAs in English language arts and math, given to students in grades 3-8, were revised last year to bring them in line with the new PA Core Standards. As a result, student scores were lower last year than in past years.

Pennsylvania recently received permission from the U.S. Department of Education to delay the use of PSSA scores in the annual PA School Performance Profiles. Read "Pennsylvania delays use of PSSA scores to measure school performance" and "What this year's PSSA scores mean (and what they don't)" for more background.

High stakes testingDuring parent-teacher conferences, parents may want to discuss the PSSAs. Consider asking what your child's PSSA scores tell you about your student's academic progress and if there is any need for concern.

Parents of high school students may have questions about the Keystone Exams in algebra, biology, and English literature. All Pennsylvania students must show proficiency on these end-of-course tests or complete a project-based assessment in order to graduate — unless a superintendent grants a waiver because of an extraordinary situation.

Read "Understanding Pennsylvania's Keystone Exams" for an overview of the Keystones and suggested questions you can ask your child's teacher during conferences.

 

 

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