Educational standards matter to students, parents, educators, and the nation as a whole. They also matters to the individual states, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education has shown a long-standing commitment to high standards for all of its K-12 public school students.
Joining the group of states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 was thus a natural move for Pennsylvania, but doing this created a need for testing that would align to these challenging new academic expectations.
Rather than start from scratch, the state adapted a series of exams that were already in place: the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), which dates back to the earliest years of the millennium as a response to No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Over the years, the PSSA has developed into a progressively tougher criterion-referenced battery of assessments aimed at measuring student academic proficiency. With a longer history than many statewide standardized tests, the PSSA serves as a fascinating subject of study as we explore five things you might not know about these assessments.