A Message About PSSAs
Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) notified schools that the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science (4th grade only) assessments will be administered to all students in Pennsylvania public schools this year. Specifically, elementary students will take the ELA PSSA on May 4, 5 and 6, the Math PSSA on May 10 and 11, and the Science PSSA (4th grade only) on May 13 and 14. Testing typically begins at 9:15 a.m. each testing day.
Per PDE rules related to test security, all students are required to complete the PSSA exams at school under the supervision of school employees. To accommodate our cyber school students our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade cyber teachers will report to school to serve as proctors for their students. These students will test in various locations in our schools and the district’s Health and Safety Plan regrading distancing will be maintained. Cyber school parents would need to drop their students off in the morning by 8:58 a.m. and pick-up their children at the conclusion of testing. While the tests are untimed, we anticipate students will conclude testing by mid-day and all cyber students should be picked up at 12:45 p.m. The afternoon of the cyber schedule will include asynchronous and synchronous instruction with their teachers.
We have carefully scheduled each of the sections of the PSSA so that students are not overly taxed on any one day of testing. As stated previously, the PSSA is an untimed test, so all students may work without fear or anxiety about reaching the end "in time" but rather should focus on showing their best work. After a test section is completed for the day, a modified schedule of classes is held so that students continue with the learning expectations of a typical school day.
For students with learning differences, accommodations are allowable as specified in their Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Service Agreements. Furthermore, students with limited English proficiency may also have accommodations that will enable them to participate meaningfully in this assessment. If you have questions regarding these guidelines, please contact your child's Learning Support Teacher or English Language Teacher. Other questions can be directed to your child's counselor or building principal.
All students in grades 3-8 must take either the PSSA or the PASA. The only exemption given by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is for religious beliefs. In order to obtain a religious exemption, parents must contact the building principal and make arrangements to review the test materials. Tests can be reviewed beginning April 12, 2021 through April 23, 2021. Parents will view the materials in a secure location in the presence of school personnel. Parents who view the assessment materials must sign a Parent Confidentiality Agreement and may not take notes or photos or make any kind of representation of the assessment.
If after reviewing the assessment, a parent believes that the assessment conflicts with his/her religious beliefs, the parent/guardian must provide a written request to excuse the child based on religious grounds. The written requests must be addressed to the Superintendent, but should be submitted directly to the building principal. Requests may be hard copy or may be sent through email.
While the PSSAs are only one measure of your child’s achievement, these assessments are important. The assessments provide information about the quality of our school programs and the progress of our students. Results are used for planning to guide instruction, to identify individual student needs, as well to provide a source of information in our efforts to continually improve our curriculum. Additionally, school and district results are published through various media outlets and reflect the overall performance of the Radnor Township School District.
Please note that new state regulations dictate that any students beyond 5% of a school’s enrollment who do not participate in PSSA testing will be assigned a score of “not-proficient” for the purpose of reporting that school’s data. This would have a negative impact on the reported results.
We thank you in advance for encouraging good attendance during this testing time. Certainly, students who are ill when the tests are administered should stay home until well. These students will be scheduled for a make-up at a later date. We also appreciate your efforts in not planning trips or medical appointments during testing. Finally, we value your assistance in making sure that your children are well rested and have an adequate breakfast each morning on the days of the tests.
Included within this letter are two informational flyers provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education with important information about the upcoming PSSA testing; one that includes Frequently Asked Questions about the PSSA tests, and the second is regarding exam security.
Thank you for your continued support of your child's success and the success of Radnor Schools. If you have any questions regarding PSSA testing, please do not hesitate to contact me.