The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced on 3/19/2020 the cancellation of all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year as a result of COVID-19. This includes the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). (more from Secretary Rivera’s message)
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Pennsylvania Assessments will be conducted at a variety of sites around the state. Efforts will be made to locate a testing site within an hour of your home. In certain cases it may be necessary to travel longer than an hour. These tests are given over a one- to four-day period depending on the student’s grade level.
Specific testing dates and locations will be published no later than two weeks prior to the testing window. The school cannot guarantee that the student’s assigned teacher will be the test proctor.
Parents or guardians do have the right to have their children excused from specific instructions or testing that conflict with their religious beliefs. Parents or guardians must review the tests and submit a written request that the student be excluded from participation.
The PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) describes a paper and pencil evaluation given to students, third through eighth grade, enrolled in a government-funded school in Pennsylvania. The test reveals cumulative and individual scores that determine progress by students, teachers, schools and districts statewide. These tests are comprised of assessments in English Language Arts, math and science, and the scores are used to locate those needing additional support and resources.
The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in various subjects. During the school year the following Keystone Exams are available: Algebra I, Literature and Biology. In future years, pending funding, additional Keystone Exams will be administered.
Testing Attendance Policy
Agora, a Pennsylvania public school, must follow the laws set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Absence from required Pennsylvania State Testing is considered an unexcused absence.
- All public school students enrolled in grades 3 through 8 are required to participate in the English Language Arts and Mathematics PSSA assessments.
- All public school students enrolled in grades 4 and 8 are required to participate in the Science PSSA assessments.
- All Keystone eligible public school students must participate in Keystone testing.
Absent from testing
- If a student does not attend the required days of testing Agora will mark this as an unexcused absence for each day missed. If a student is ill and not able to attend the first day of testing he/she should attempt to attend the remaining days of their scheduled site. After two missed days the student should reschedule for another testing site. If a student misses three days a doctor’s note must be provided to substantiate the absences.
- If a student has not submitted a valid excuse, each subsequent day that a student does not attend testing will be marked as an unexcused absence. After three cumulative unexcused absences a student is considered truant. Should a student have 10 consecutive unexcused absences, the student will be removed from the active school rolls consistent with Pennsylvania School Code.
- According to PDE, a medical emergency “applies to rare circumstances in which a student cannot take or finish taking the assessment during the entire testing window, including make-up dates, due to a recent significant medical emergency.”
- A “medical emergency” can only be approved by a program director.
- If the “medical emergency” is not approved by a program director it must be logged as an unexcused absence.