The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced Thursday that it will cancel all PSSA testing and Keystone exams–including the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) for the 2019-20 school year as a result of COVID-19.
“Our school communities are operating within unprecedented conditions,” said
Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera in a news release about the decision. “Schools are making extraordinary efforts to remain connected to students and families, to provide food service and to put appropriate systems in place to continue student learning. Assessments should not be the focus of school leaders right now.”
“To be clear, all assessments are cancelled for this year,” he added. “The department
will submit the requisite waivers to the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), but no
schools in the Commonwealth will be administering these tests this year.”
PSSA testing was scheduled to begin April 20, and Keystone testing was scheduled to begin May 11.
“The PASA testing window is open; however, all testing was halted on Monday, March 16, when all public schools closed,” the news release said.
Rivera said the department is monitoring emerging federal guidance, working
with other states to advocate for flexibility and will pursue appropriate waivers to the
fullest extent allowable as soon as the U.S. Department of Education guidance is clarified.
The USDE has already said it will consider a “targeted one-year waiver of the assessment requirements for those schools impacted by…extraordinary circumstances.”
Rivera added that the Pennsylvania Department of Education will continue to release information on the effects on accountability and school reporting as it becomes available.
The department has been providing ongoing guidance to school communities in the
form of FAQs. That guidance information is also available online.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs visit the Department of Education’s website or follow it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
All K-12 schools in Pennsylvania are currently closed because of the pandemic. The earliest schools could reopen is Monday, March 30, although due to an escalating number of cases statewide, a return to classes that soon seems increasingly unlikely.