High standards for all students in Pennsylvania’s public schools are a good thing. Parents and community members should want students to graduate from high school with the knowledge and skills that they need in order to succeed in college or the 21st Century workforce.
However, many questions are being raised about the disproportionate emphasis on standardized tests in our public schools and the impact the implementation the new PA Core Standards is having on student achievement levels.
The PSSAs and Keystone exams our children take provide a snapshot of students’ knowledge of specific standards in math, language arts, and science. Nothing more, nothing less. Education Voters applauds efforts Pennsylvania’s Education Secretary, Pedro Rivera, is making to re-evaluate the use of standardized tests on the state’s School Performance Profiles.
In addition, it is vital to understand that raising the bar that measures what students should know through the implementation of the new PA Core Standards is a process that will require time and a significant investment in resources. We must ensure that curriculum and instruction are up to date and students have had a chance to learn the new content before we can use this information in a meaningful way, and even then, standardized tests should only be one tool in a tool box of looking at learning.
To learn more about the impact of the implementation of the new PA Core Standards on standardized test results and what this means for our students and schools read our policy brief: PSSA_FAQs