During the months of April and May, your child will be participating in the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. The PSSA assesses English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3 – 8. In addition, if your child is in grade 4 or grade 8, they will be assessed in Science. These tests will be administered over several weeks.
In the Upper Merion Area School District we value the results of the PSSA tests and have approximately 95% of our 3rd – 8th grade students take the tests each year. Over the past three years, in our 3rd – 8th grade, only 5% of our students have opted out of taking the PSSA tests. Our expectation is to have students take the PSSA each year from 3rd – 8th grade because the tests are a good indicator of how much a student has learned each year. In addition, the scores from the Mathematics PSSA are used as one data point to determine if a student will have the opportunity to accelerate in math.
Please see the School testing schedule below for specific dates of testing.
Each test will consist of multiple choice questions and open-ended performance tasks. The PSSA tests are aligned with the PA Core Standards. Sample test items and the PA Core standards are available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website. Also attached to this letter is a FAQ document that may address your questions and a Pennsylvania Department of Education letter about the security of test items.
As a parent, you have the right to preview a copy of these tests. Please be aware that all PSSA tests, including the content contained in each test booklet and answer booklet, are the secure, proprietary property of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Education (PDE). Therefore, if you choose to preview a copy of the PSSA tests you must sign a confidentiality agreement indicating you will not discuss, disseminate, or otherwise reveal the content of the assessment materials to anyone, including your own child(ren). If you wish to preview one or more of the tests, please contact your school Administrative Assistant directly at either 610-205-6400 and ask to be forwarded to your child’s school to schedule an appointment.
The results of these assessment tests will be sent to the district in a few months. Copies of test scores will be placed in the student’s cumulative file and a copy will be sent home as well. If your child misses a section of the test for any reason, make-up dates will be scheduled either during the testing window for that test or during the week of May 8 – May 12. Because of the importance of the test, we suggest that you help your child prepare by ensuring that he/she is well rested and eats a nutritious breakfast. If we can be of any assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In order to minimize the disruption to your child’s schedule and fully respect the integrity of the testing environment, it is very important that your student be in school promptly at the start of the day during the scheduled testing days. To that end, I am asking that any non-essential appointments that would result in your child leaving school during the test administration dates be re-scheduled to another time, if at all possible.
Dr. Sean W. Gardiner
Director of STEM Education
District Assessment Coordinator