March 9, 2017
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers,
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. The specific testing window for each area is included in the table below.
Please see the specific school testing schedule below for each PSSA test.
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 addition, you will find links for three letters below (each letter is available in English and Spanish). Each letter contains information pertinent to the PSSA tests. The first letter details the reasons a student would not take the PSSA tests according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Administrator's Handbook. The second and third letters are from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and detail the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) of the PSSA and the PDE cell phone policy during the PSSA tests.
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.
If you have any questions about the PSSA tests please feel free to contact me directly at 610.205.6422 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your continued partnership to ensure the success of your child in the the Upper Merion Area School District.
Dr. Sean W. Gardiner
Director of STEM Education
District Assessment Coordinator