On March 19, the Department of Education announced the cancellation of all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year as a result of COVID-19. This includes the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA).
“Our school communities are operating within unprecedented conditions,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “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 canceled for this year,” he added. “The department will submit the requisite waivers to the U.S. Department of Education, but no schools in the Commonwealth will be administering these tests this year.”
PSSA testing was scheduled to begin April 20.
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.
Secretary 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 USDE guidance is clarified.
The USDE has already stated that it will consider a “targeted one-year waiver of the assessment requirements for those schools impacted by…extraordinary circumstances.”
Secretary Rivera added that PDE 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.
[Posted: March 19, 2020]