Modernizing and digitizing PA standardized tests applauded by Republicans, Dems alike

22 April 2024- Gov. Josh Shapiro recently announced actions to reduce and modernize standardized testing in schools. House Republican members were thrilled to see reforms they have advocated for included in Shapiro’s announcement, such as online PSSA and Keystone testing, as well as benchmark assessments throughout the year, thereby enabling educators to access results and data more swiftly. 

“Most of the reforms Shapiro announced are ideas from my proposal, House Bill 887,” state Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) said.  “I am thrilled to see Gov. Shapiro listening to Republican ideas about transitioning to electronic testing, which provides real-time results and benchmark assessments to ensure students are learning throughout the school year. Reforms like this are exactly what we are looking for in the ‘Back to Basics’ plan – returning agencies to their core functions before adding unnecessary spending.” 

“I’m pleased the governor is building off the work Rep. (Eric) Nelson and I started last year and others like Rep. Barb Gleim have been working on for many years before that,” state Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) said. “I support any action that lessens the burden on students, teachers and school administrators. Duplicative standardized testing takes too much time out of classroom instruction with little benefit to student outcomes. Our education system needs reforms so kids throughout our state can succeed. This is something Democrats and Republicans agree on.”

“I’m glad the governor is embracing these Republican-led initiatives and is looking to improve our broken testing process,” said state Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland). “Wanting to give educators the tools they need to deliver great results is not a partisan issue.”
“I am happy the plan to reform the state system of standardized testing will focus on helping teachers assess students based on a benchmark-type assessment, designed to provide them with data they can use during the school year in which the students are tested,” said state Rep. John Schlegel (R-Lebanon). “This will help drive instruction and improve student achievement.” 

“We are proud to see the governor embrace these changes and hope he uses this as an opportunity to incorporate other Republican initiatives,” the members shared. 

“I am hopeful this announcement, unlike many other announcements Shapiro has made over the past year and a half, will be followed up with action,” Grove added. “We’ve seen enough poorly thought-out proposals; let’s work together to get this one done.”