Changes for PSSA Testing

SCRANTON -- Students across Pennsylvania will be spending less time preparing and taking standardized tests and more time on their regular studies.

Governor Tom Wolf got together with other state leaders to make the announcement that teachers and students will spend less time preparing for state testing beginning this school year.

Governor Wolf says the move to cut the time getting ready for tests could end up giving back two to three learning days for students.

Students and teachers in grades three through eight will spend an average of 20 percent less time on statewide testing.

Two sections have been cut from the standardized statewide test known as PSSA -- one in math, one in English/language arts.

"One of the things that I hope that it does is give us a little time to dedicate to our curriculum," said Rob Nolan.

The governor promises the move could give back two to three days back to teaching.

As a teacher and a parent, Rob Nolan says every day counts for students.

"A day in the life of a student--whether it's elementary, middle, or high school--one day is a couple days of instruction sometimes," Nolan said.

Carbondale School District starts school in a couple weeks on August 29.

Superintendent Bob Mehalick is excited that teachers will have more time to help students prepare for the future.

"I think it has limited our teachers' ability to teach and it's taken away from the creativity from our staff so, with this announcement, it gives the opportunity to do things a little differently," Mehalick said.

Some people would like the federally required testing to be thrown out altogether.

"Really we should do away with the system of test-based funding anyways so maybe this is a start of getting rid of the testing system as a whole," said Jason Reeves of Factoryville.

Students and parents can expect these changes once the school year begins.

17 comments

  • bob

    School is not cool anymore. Kids could be learning skills and getting prepared for the real world but instead are held captive in government buildings preparing for pssa testing. At least they can have romantic relationships with the teachers though!

  • ***

    They need to get rid of standardized testing all together. I did terrible, even on my SATS and guess what. Still graduated with 2 degrees from PSU and carried on to obtain a 3rd one and several certifications. those stupid test mean nothing!!

  • coffee

    School districts could gain more than two or three days of teaching if they didn’t delay or cancel school whenever the weather forecast calls for some snow.

    • Dumb Argument

      … and many districts would do so if there weren’t so many people waiting to file a lawsuit/storm the board meetings/call for the administration to be fired/etc if there’s an accident. The school policies are softer because the populace is softer…. and maybe that’s not all bad. How many bus accident injuries or deaths would you consider to be worth keeping school open on a snow day?

  • Hate them!

    They’re all about money. Nothing to do with learning. The more high scores the kids get, the more money the school gets. It’s sad that it’s about money and not learning.

  • Hate them!

    You can opt your child out from taking them. That’s what I’m going to do cuz they are pointless.

  • BARRIOS

    standardized testing is a scam. I know people who scored high on Sat’s in high school and at 35-40 they are bankrupt still living in the coal region.
    They never taught personal finance or common sense in high school did they?

    • Student

      I also know people that scored high and went nowhere. I know people that scored average to low who took that challenge and bettered their lives by digging in and tying harder and became successful! It’s just a test!

    • Roger Ebert

      Perhaps if you paid attention in English and Grammar, you could write a sentence/paragraph that makes sense.

  • Student

    Aw jeeze! A test!? Ya mean I should’ve been paying attention in class? Maybe I should’ve done my homework? Maybe I should’ve worked to my potential or tried to Excel? What a bummer.

  • 1 + 1 = 3

    Standardized testing and the preparation for it has been a thorn in the side of the teachers for some time now. This is nothing more than payback from Governor Wolf to the teachers for their major support in the last campaign via political contributions from the PSEA ( the teacher’s union).

    • Jared

      Teachers are against standardized testing because it is an objective measure of the results of their teaching. Much better (and easier) to stick with the more subjective “let’s keep our students creative” philosophy.

      • Allen

        Actually, it is not as objective as you may think. The tests fail to consider the socioeconomic backgrounds of the students taking the test. I realize that it’s the “politically correct” thing to say that all children are equal and have the same ability to learn. However, the big pink elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention is that schools with a large population of kids with rough home lives are going to have much lower scores overall. The result is the teacher is essentially punished in their evaluation for teaching lower income and disadvantaged children. Facts are facts. This group continually scores low and it can be very frustrating to be labeled a bad teacher primarily because you are willing to teach challenging students.

      • Tom

        In medicine a doctor looks at the difficult cases as a challenge and is not concerned about bringing down his “score”. Teachers should be so virtuous.

      • Apple / Oranges

        In medicine, it is accepted that different patients will have different outcomes based on many factors. Teachers don’t get that consideration.

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