State reduces length of PSSAs

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State reduces length of PSSAs

Voice: September 2017

Gov. Tom Wolf’s legacy on public education continues to expand.

The governor and state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera announced in August that the length of the PSSAs will be reduced by an average of at least 20 percent in grades three through eight.

“This reduction will ease the stress placed on our kids, and will allow students and teachers to focus more on learning than on testing,’’ Wolf said. “This change should also reassure parents that we’ve listened to their concerns about overtesting.”

The governor said the changes stem from feedback he has received from educators, students, and parents on his “Schools That Teach’’ tour.

Beginning this school year, students and teachers in grades three through eight will spend an average of 20 percent less time on statewide testing, and 25 percent less on the math, English language arts, and science sections of the PSSA.

The Education Department is removing a section in math and another in English language arts, and is also removing some questions from the science section – changes which could eliminate up to two full testing days in some schools.

“Gov. Wolf reaffirmed what educators have been saying for a long time – that too much emphasis on standardized testing interferes with teaching and learning,’’ said PSEA President Dolores McCracken.

“We want to make sure that our testing policies work for our students, teachers, and support professionals. Public schools are places where students learn. By creating a more balanced, research-based, and appropriate use of standardized tests in Pennsylvania’s public schools, we can find the right balance – and do what’s right for our kids.”

The reduction in standardized testing time is the latest in an impressive list of acts Wolf has taken to aid public education.