Pennsylvania moves to dial back annual testing of students

Gov. Wolf announced changes in Montgomery County

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania officials are changing standardized tests to reduce their impact on students and teachers.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment will be two weeks next year, down from three.

"We are continuing to respond to the concerns of students, parents and teachers about the amount of classroom time spent of standardized tests," Wolf said during a visit to Colonial Middle School in Montgomery County. "After reducing the classroom time devoted to the PSSA and moving the test window to later in the school year, students and teachers will have more classroom time to focus on learning before taking the test."

This year, the PSSA exams will take place during a three-week testing window, which will begin April 9, 2018.

Changes in place this year also include reducing testing by two days, removing math and English language arts sections, and requiring fewer science questions.

"The changes Gov. Wolf and the Department of Education continue to make to the PSSA are a step in the right direction," said Sally Matthews, a seventh grade math teacher at Colonial Middle School in Plymouth Meeting. "Moving the assessments later in the year will allow students more time to master grade level curriculum."

The Wolf administration noted the Keystone Exams, which test knowledge at the end of courses, is being delayed, and that career and technology education students now have alternative ways to show they are proficient.

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