PSSA / Keystone Assessments

  • Within the District’s system of state and local assessments, the annual PSSA and Keystone assessments are one of many data points RTSD refers to in evaluating teaching and learning.

    With the upcoming PSSA/Keystone assessments, the District would like to provide a reminder about the importance of these assessments in our ongoing efforts to provide the very best instructional program for all of our students. The PSSA/Keystone exams provide teachers with individual student data that are used to plan and adjust programming for each student. The District encourages all students who are eligible to participate in these assessments and to do their best.

    If, for religious reasons, any parent/guardian wishes to exempt their child(ren) from a particular state assessment, we ask them to please follow the guidelines required of Pennsylvania Department of Education as outlined below.

Religious Exemptions to State Assessments Q & A

  • What is the Process for Expressing a Religious Objection?

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    Step 1: Chapter 4, provides for the right of any parents/guardians to excuse his/her child from the assessment if, upon inspection of the testing materials, he/she finds the assessment to be in conflict with his/her religious beliefs.  This is the only basis under Chapter 4 rules for parent/guardian to excuse his or her child from statewide assessments.

    Requests for a student to be to be excused based on religious beliefs from testing, cannot be accepted from parents/guardians that have not previewed the assessment materials.

    • Prior to the assessment dates, parents/guardians may contact their child's school to review the assessments from the time of receipt through the end of the testing window.
    • The assessment must be reviewed on district property and district personnel must be present at all times.
    • The school will provide a secure place for the parents/guardians to view the assessments.
    • The parents/guardians must sign a Parent Confidentiality Agreement prior to reviewing the assessment.
    • The parents/guardians may not photocopy, write down, or in any other manner record any portion of the assessments, including directions.


    Step 2: If after reviewing the assessment, parents/guardians find the test to be in conflict with their religious beliefs and wish their student(s) to be excused from the test, the parents/guardians must provide a written request to excuse the child based on religious beliefs. The written objection must be addressed to the Superintendent, but submitted directly to the building principal. Objections must be in hard copy and signed by the parent/guardian.

    If excused:  If the student is excused from the state assessment due to parent or guardian request, school personnel will provide a alternative learning environment (this may include the administration of a local assessment) for the student throughout the assessment window.

    Students who do not participate in the assessment due to parent or guardian request will negatively affect the school's participation rate and can potentially have a negative impact on the school's accountability status.

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  • Can I, or my child, simply "refuse" to participate in the testing?

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    Under state law, the school district is unable to grant a request to have a child excused from taking the PSSA or Keystone examination.  The only allowable basis to be excused from testing is for religious reasons. 

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