PA Dept of Ed releases state assessment results…and they’re not great

29 November 2022- The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today released results from the 2021-2022 school year administration of state-level assessments: the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA), and Keystone Exams. 

“Like states across the nation, we are not yet seeing test results at pre-pandemic levels. However, student performance is generally improving year-over-year and schools across Pennsylvania are working overtime to accelerate learning and meet students where they are at as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “We know that assessments show point-in-time data that does not reflect the full scope of learning happening in classrooms across the commonwealth, and we expect student performance will continue to improve as students and educators proceed with a more normalized, uninterrupted year of in-person learning.”    

Participation and achievement data have been added to the Future Ready PA Index, a comprehensive reporting system for presenting school-level data across a broad range of indicators, such as English language acquisition, career readiness, access to advanced coursework, and regular attendance. 

Pennsylvania’s statewide assessments include the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment for grades 3 through 8; end-of-course Keystone Exams administered in middle and high school depending on when students take the corresponding subject; and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment that ensures equitable participation by students who are unable to participate in the general assessments. Assessments must be administered in-person, which has affected assessment participation rates across the state over the past three years. 

Additionally, Act 136 of 2020 waived “banked scores” for middle and high school students who would have taken a Keystone Exam in school year 2019-20, decreasing the count of eligible testers in the cohort of test takers. These test waivers will impact Keystone results reporting through at least 2023-24. 

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website. Follow PDE on FacebookTwitterYouTube, or Pinterest.