A critical component of teaching and learning is assessment. Assessments provide information about student progress that guides future instruction designed to meet specific student needs. Click on the 2023-2024 Assessment Calendar to view this year's schedule.
Requirements - Federal law requires that students be assessed in English Language Arts (ELA) and math annually in grades 3-8, and once in high school. The law also requires that students be assessed in science once each at the elementary, middle and high school levels. These assessments are designed to be summative year-end assessments that provide a measure of student progress.
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is our state’s version of these required exams for elementary and middle school students in grades 3-8. At the high school level, the assessments are called the Keystones and are tied to the specific courses of Algebra I, Biology, and Literature.
PA Department of Education
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
The Measures of Academic Progress assessment, or MAP, are computerized, adaptive tests that align with Pennsylvania standards for Reading and Math. Students take the MAP tests entirely via computer, and the program gives each student a completely unique set of questions and dynamically adjusts to a student’s performance level, presenting easier or harder questions depending on the student’s previous answers. The end result of the tests is a very accurate measurement of the student’s instructional level, which can help teachers differentiate instruction.
Since they are aligned with state standards, MAP tests provide a snapshot or benchmark of how well students are mastering required skills for the PSSA. And since MAP is used with a norming group of over 4 million students across the country, a child’s MAP scores provide helpful information about how his or her performance compares to that of a typical child of the same age across America. MAP assessments also provide norms for expected growth over the course of a year, thus enabling teachers and parents to ascertain if children are making the expected amount of progress.
MAP tests are given three times a year, fall, winter, and spring, in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9.
For more information from the organization that creates MAP, visit http://www.nwea.org/.
The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills tests (DIBELS) are a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. Please click on the following site to learn more about DIBELS.
Acadience Math is an assessment used to measure the acquisition of early numeracy skills. This assessment is used in both kindergarten and first grade. Please click to visit the Acadience Learning site to learn more.
College Board Exams
The College Board addresses programs and services focused on college readiness and college success. These programs and services include:
PSAT - a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT. Versions of the PSAT can be taken by students in grades 9, 10, and 11. It measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills and writing skills. Students receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses in skills necessary for college. It also serves as a qualifier for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for students in grade 11.
SAT - a standardized test that is used to determine a student’s aptitude and readiness for higher education. The SAT is generally taken by students in grades 11 and 12 and is a common data point used by colleges and universities to determine acceptance and scholarships.
AP - (Advanced Placement) are college level courses that students can take during their high school years. At the end of the course in May there is a related AP exam. Students earning a qualified score on an AP exam may be eligible for college credit and different scholarship opportunities. AP courses and exams are one factor colleges and universities use to determine acceptance.