With all of the changes taking place, and with a lot of media coverage of the situation, we wanted to take a minute to officially update you on the Charleroi Area School District plan to implement state testing (PSSAs and Keystone Exams) for the Spring of 2021.
Federal and state law both require that schools administer periodic exams to assess students’ proficiency in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. Students in grades 3-8 will take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests (PSSAs). Junior and senior high students enrolled in Algebra I, 10th Grade ELA, and Biology take the end-of-course Keystone Exams, which serve as two of the five pathways to graduation in Pennsylvania. Although we were hopeful that the added burden of high-stake tests would be removed from the students during a year that has been disrupted by the pandemic, the Federal Government has decided to keep them in place. Pennsylvania did apply for a waiver, and the state was granted some leniency including an extension allowing districts to test students any time between April and October of this year. The Charleroi Area School District has decided to not take advantage of this extension. This decision was made for several reasons:
- We want to allow our students as much time as possible to learn before the exams but do not want to place another 3-month learning gap (summer) between learning and the state assessment.
- Testing students in the fall on material they learned the previous school year may confuse, frustrate, or cause even more undue stress on our children.
- Testing in the summer would be difficult for families and costly for the district.
- We do not want to disrupt the 2021-22 school year with an additional round of standardized testing.
- Any data that could be useful and relevant in informing instructional decisions must come from the most valid results possible. We believe the April/May testing window will provide the highest level of validity possible in this scenario.
Obviously, the testing schedules that always present logistical problems will be even more complicated this year due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Each building will be running their tests a little differently because of their unique challenges. Building administrators will contact parents/guardians of full-time virtual students to discuss state assessment plans for their children.
The Pennsylvania State Assessment Spring 2021 dates are as follows:
PSSA Assessments - Grades 3-8
ELA: April 20-22
Math: April 27-28
Science: May 4-5
Keystone Assessments – High School
Literature: May 18
Algebra: May 19
Biology: May 20