Monday, October 6, 2014

PSSA's - What Are They Good For?

Every year Pennsylvania students spend about 35% of class time per subject during the school year on test prep and testing days for the PSSA's.

What is the educational value of the PSSA's?  

The PSSA's are used to rate teachers and schools for state funding.  There is no educational value for parents, teachers or students.  Yet, students are spending 35% of their time A YEAR in 3rd through 8th grade on the PSSA's.

PSSA scores are sent out in September when students are already promoted to their next grade and with their new teacher(s).  Teachers, parents and students do not get any student-specific information for educational learning opportunities.

What education information is provided from such time consuming test prep and testing schedule?  (This is from a student who was opted out of the PSSA's so there are no scores.)

That is it.  No educational opportunity for teachers to review with their students their strengths and weaknesses.

The testing window's for administrating the PSSA's for the 2014-2015 school year is:
April 13, 14, 15, 16, 17                        May 1, 13, 14, 15
April 20, 21, 22, 23, 24                        May 18, 19, 20, 21
April 27, 28, 29, 30                              May 26, 27
This is a total of 24 school days out of 42 school days during the moths of April and May.  58% of time in school for those two months is scheduled for testing which translates also to 58% of lost instructional time.  Even though there is about 42% of class time not scheduled for testing, this is time devoted to test prep or 'down time' for students.   Regular classroom instruction and homework is not occurring during this testing window schedule so the students can focus on the PSSA's.

Consider also that there are 180 school days a year.  Students are spending 14% per school year taking the PSSA's.  That doesn't include the time they spend throughout the year doing test prep like Study Island, or CDT's as described HERE which totals about 20% of time in a class per subject each year.

In teacher administered and scored tests; teachers, parents and students have instant feedback as to what their strengths are and can review their incorrect answers as an educational learning opportunity.  There is no such opportunity with the PSSA.
Opting out is simple and your request cannot be denied.  Go HERE for information on how to Opt Out of the PSSA's.

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