- The Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA)
- Keystone Exams
- Exemptions to State Assessments
The Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA) is a standards-based, criterion referenced assessment used to measure a student’s attainment of academic standards while determining the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency of state standards.
ACCESS is a large-scale test that provides a snapshot of how well students are using the English language within the school context. This English language proficiency assessment for students in K-12 is used to monitor a student’s progress in acquiring English for the academic environment, to plan support for continuing English language development, and to satisfy legal requirements for assessment and accountability.
Keystone Exams are end–of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in academic content. They measure the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards. Students must demonstrate proficiency in Algebra 1, Literature, and Biology in order to graduate. Students have multiple opportunities to take these exams during their middle and high school years. The Keystones will eventually replace PSSA.
Under Pennsylvania State Law, the school district is unable to grant a general request to have a child excused from taking a state assessment.
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.
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.
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.
Generally, if a student can receive instruction, then they are also able to participate in state assessments; however, the health and well-being of students should take priority in determining whether they can participate.
Students may receive a medical exemption if they cannot participate in a state assessment during the testing window, including make-up dates, due to a significant medical event. Examples include, but are not limited to, a student who is 1) receiving short-term medical treatment due to a medical emergency; or 2) seriously ill or has a medical condition that prevents them from receiving instruction during the testing window.
For more information on Medical Exemptions from State Assessments, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
The Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) assessment offers detailed, accurate information regarding a student’s growth and achievement in specific academic areas: reading, math and language usage. It is a state standards aligned, computer-based testing system which adapts to each student in real time as the test progresses. It provides stability, is grade independent and it scores in equal interval units.
Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) are a set of online assessments designed to measure specific student strengths, areas of need, skills, and knowledge throughout the school year to help guide instruction and intervention. The online assessments are available for students in grades 6-high school and are fully aligned with the Standards Aligned System (SAS). The assessments are based on content covered by the Keystone exams and the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments.
Acadience Reading is a benchmark and progress monitoring assessment that is used to help identify students who have or have not secured foundational reading skills. The data is used to inform instruction and MTSS support.
Acadience Math is a benchmark and progress monitoring assessment that is used to help identify students who have or have not secured foundational math skills. The data is used to inform instruction and MTSS support.
Educational Records Bureau, Writing Assessment Program (ERB WrAP) is a comprehensive approach to evaluating writing. It is scored analytically across 6 traits using a 6-point rubric. It is a direct measure based on standardized prompts and evaluated by 2 writing experts. It includes grammar and writing conventions. There are 5 level s of testing which vary by grade level but include narrative, information/description, expository, persuasive, and critical thinking.
The Star Assessments provide valid and reliable benchmark and progress monitoring information regarding a student’s achievement and growth towards academic standards in reading and math. The Star assessments are taken on a computer and the questions will adapt based on each individual student’s responses. The data is used to inform instruction and MTSS support.
Dear Radnor Township School District Parents and Guardians,
As an important component of the instructional process, Radnor Township SD (RTSD) utilizes a variety of assessments to understand students’ academic strengths and needs. As part of our implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), RTSD will be utilizing the Star and Acadience Math and Reading Assessments. These assessments are universal screening, progress monitoring, and benchmark tools that provide high-quality data for our teachers, MTSS Facilitators, and administrators. We are pleased to share the integration of these tools within our instructional process beginning this school year. Please read below for more information.
Star Math and Reading Assessments:
After piloting Star tools in thirty-seven classrooms representing grades 1-8 in 2021-22, RTSD determined that the assessments provided timely, clear, and actionable data. Aligned with Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, Star provides data that supports our teachers in identification of instructional needs, MTSS interventions and progress monitoring, as well as indicators of student achievement and growth. Considering several other significant advantages, such as reduced testing time, the Star tool was chosen as a replacement to the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment that has been used in RTSD for several years.
Students will take the Star Math and Reading assessments three times over the course of the year in September, November/December, and February/March. Each assessment is administered on the computer and takes approximately 15-25 minutes to complete. As a computer-adaptive assessment, the difficulty and level of the questions changes based on individual student responses. A student’s performance on the Star assessment will have no effect on their progress report grades, and results of the Star assessments will be shared with parents during the Fall and Spring parent-teacher conferences.
RTSD will also be utilizing a supplementary online resource known as Freckle that provides individualized practice of math and reading content that is based on students’ results on the Star assessments.
Acadience Math and Reading Assessments:
Radnor Township SD has utilized the Acadience Reading Assessment in grades K-1 for many years. Until recently, the assessment was known as DIBELS Next. To enhance our access to data for instructional decision-making, RTSD is expanding the use of both the Acadience Reading and Math assessment tools to include all K-5 grades. Acadience Math and Reading offers our teachers, MTSS Facilitators, and administrators another data source to help determine MTSS interventions, identify instructional needs, and monitor student achievement, growth, and progress over time.
Students will take the Acadience Math and Reading assessments three times over the course of the year in September-November, February, and May. Acadience Reading assessments are completed individually with a teacher or paraprofessional and take approximately 1-5 minutes based on the grade level. Acadience Math assessments take approximately 3-28 minutes, and the administration of the assessments differs based on the grade level. Like Star, results of the Acadience assessments will have no effect on student progress report grades and will be shared with parents during the Fall and Spring parent-teacher conferences.
RTSD Board Curriculum Committee Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slsfGY_475M
In August 2022, RTSD Administration presented an MTSS update to the Board Curriculum Committee that included the background of the selection of Star and Acadience and the implementation timeline for each.
Star Information: https://www.renaissance.com/2016/09/09/parents-guide-star-assessments/
Acadience Information: https://acadiencelearning.org/
Please contact me with any questions and thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Shawn Dutkiewicz
Director of Elementary Teaching and Learning Shawn.Dutkiewicz@rtsd.org
Radnor Township School District
Advanced Placement (AP) Exams are rigorous, multiple-component tests that are administered at high schools each May. High school students can earn college credit, placement, or both for qualifying AP Exam scores. Each AP Exam has a corresponding AP course and provides a standardized measure of what students have learned in the AP classroom.
Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. PSAT is given to students in grade 9, 10, and 11. It measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills and writing skills. Students receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study/ PSAT also serves as a qualifier for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for students in grade 11.
The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are a suite of tools designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that's fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math — subjects that are taught every day in high school classrooms. Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year of high school, and almost all colleges and universities use the SAT to make admission decisions.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is administered by the commissioner of Education Statistics from the United States Department of Education and is an assessment used to measure what American students know and can do. It is given to students in grades 4, 8, and 12, across states and urban districts, as randomly selected by the United States Department of Education. Not all schools are selected each year and if a school district is selected, not all grades may be tested.
Note: Some students may be asked to take an additional test or tests for progress monitoring purposes during various points in the school year.