What I Need to Know About PA Testing and Accountability

The Pennsylvania state assessment system is composed of assessments and the reporting associated with the results of those assessments.

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)

Includes assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics which are taken by students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Students in grades 4 and 8 are administered the Science PSSA. The English Language Arts and Mathematics PSSAs include items that are consistent with the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The Science PSSA includes items that are aligned to the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science, Technology, Environment and Ecology.

Five Key Points about the PSSA

The Keystone Exams
Are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S. History, World History, and Civics and Government.

The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania's new system of high school graduation requirements. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.

Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA)
Is a statewide alternate assessment designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Specifically, it is intended for those who are unable to participate meaningfully in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) even with accommodations. By administering the PASA to students with severe disabilities, schools achieve compliance with federal laws and the Pennsylvania School Code that require that all students participate in the statewide accountability system.

WIDA ACCESS Exam for the English Language Learner
ACCESS for ELLs (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners) is a secure large-scale English language proficiency assessment given to Kindergarten through 12th graders who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). It is given annually in WIDA Consortium member states to monitor students' progress in acquiring academic English.