March 29, 2017
Time to Opt Your Child Out of the PSSA Tests
It’s testing time in PA once again! Pennsylvania students are inundated with tests and most of these are not to prove how well your child is learning compared to students in their own grade, but it is to determine how well the school’s teachers are teaching. As a result “teaching to the test” has become a major part of classroom instruction. The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) will begin in just a few days!
As education advocate Cheryl Boise has written, ” The old achievement tests (such as the old versions of the California, Iowa, Metropolitan, and California tests) were norm based testing. They compared students in specific age groups, and what they should have mastered in that specific grade. The test was not based around a specific set of standards, but tested what children by end of 4th grade, for example, should have mastered. The format of the test permitted parents and schools to be on the same page when it came to student performance. Information was provided to both home and school that permitted for an annual comparison as to whether a child had made a year’s worth of progress. It also provided information as to skill sets, which showed a child’s weaknesses or strengths in various subject areas. This was a general knowledge test. The testing purpose was focused on the child.”
Every Pennsylvania student in grades 3 through 8 must take the PSSA and is assessed in English Language Arts and Math. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 4 and 8 is assessed in science.
The PSSA has asked subjective questions that really have nothing to do with what the child is learning in school. Additionally, the English writing prompts have also included controversial subjects. These tests are NOT achievement tests that determine what level of achievement your child has attained. Additionally, according to the PA Department of Education website, individual student scores are only provided to their respective schools.
Click here for more information and action steps.