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Pennsylvania Educators’ Ultimate Guide to Prepare for PSSA & Keystone Testing

Pennsylvania Educators’ Ultimate Guide to Prepare for PSSA & Keystone Testing

More time for learning? That’s music to every educator’s ears, and with the amount of testing reduced this year (hooray!) for Pennsylvania students in 3rd through 8th grades taking the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams, we know that educators in the state are working hard to utilize that critical time for learning. In addition to the changes to PSSA testing, Governor Tom Wolf has also signed a law that updates high school graduation requirements in order to give students several opportunities beyond traditional testing to demonstrate that they are ready to graduate (double hooray!).

This extra time for learning is great news for Pennsylvania educators, but to make the most of it for students, a solid plan is still key. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best PSSA and Keystone preparation resources, including FAQs, test timelines, and the latest news from Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera. We hope it’s helpful!

Pennsylvania Testing Resources from the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Did you know that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) offers a whole library of online resources to help you get ready for 2019 assessments? We’ve done the legwork to find the most useful materials!

Getting Ready for the Pennsylvania State Assessments 

Learn about the basics of the PSSA and Keystone Exams in this video, including general information of each test, testing windows, an overview of statewide assessments, and resources and tools for the PSSA and Keystone Exams.

Accommodations Guidelines 2019

Refer to this guide to understand the selection, use, and evaluation of appropriate accommodations for individual students in regard to PSSA testing.

Pennsylvania Guidance Document for Online Testing - Frequently Asked Questions  

Understand the ins and outs of online testing, including impacts on instruction, scheduling, and device use. Check out the frequently asked questions for the PSSA exam.

Alternative Assessments and the Future Ready PA Index

Pennsylvania is working hard to make new and flexible options available to allow learners to demonstrate their understanding. At Edmentum, we have created multiple rubrics that can help Pennsylvania districts take advantage of Future Ready PA Index options in selecting and evaluating alternative assessments for their district that are in compliance with PDE guidelines. Even if you aren’t quite ready to utilize this alternative assessment option just yet, be sure to check out these resources to lay a solid foundation for test planning and preparation next year.

Preparing for Success with Future Ready Pennsylvania Index

Understand the basics of the Future Ready PA Index program and what it means for Pennsylvania educators.

[Program Updates] Study Island Benchmark Assessment & Future Ready PA Index Rubrics

Check out recent updates to Edmentum’s Study Island classroom practice solution designed to help Pennsylvania educators track student progress toward the Future Ready PA Index.

Career Readiness with the Pennsylvania Future Ready Index

Learn more about how the Future Ready PA Index supports career-readiness goals.

[Edmentum’s Commitment] Our Alignment to the Future Ready PA Index

As a demonstration of our commitment, we have completed rubrics that address each section of the Future Ready PA Index for two of our assessment solutions, Study Island and Edmentum Assessments Test Packs. For even more Future Ready PA Index info, you can learn about the Career Readiness Indicator here.

General Test-Prep and Test-Taking Tips for Educators

No matter the exact situation, testing is a stressful process. But, successful test taking, beyond content knowledge, is also a skill that can be taught, acquired, and mastered. Here are some of our best resources on general test prep and test taking to help the PSSA/Keystone testing process go smoothly at your school.

       10 Classroom and School Tips to Improve Test Scores

Helping students achieve PSSA/Keystone test success is about much more than targeted practice in the classroom. Check out these 10 holistic tips to make sure that your students are ready for their assessments in all ways.

8 Last-Minute Steps Districts Can Take to Improve Test Scores

Administrators may not feel like they have a direct hand in making sure that students are well-prepared for PSSA/Keystone assessments. But, there is no shortage of steps administrators can take to ensure that their teachers and students have what they need for a successful testing season—even when it comes down to the wire.

6 Tips for Teachers to Help Students Manage Stress

Testing season inevitably means classroom stress will hit a new high. So, how can you keep anxiety levels in check and help your students stay cool, calm, and collected when test day rolls around? Here are six tips for a low(er) stress testing season:

8 Tips for Parents to Help Your Child Prepare for High-Stakes Tests

Parents and other caregivers are critical to every student’s education journey. So, get them involved in the PSSA/Keystone–preparation process! Share these eight simple tips with parents to help them support their learners on testing days.

What Other Assessment Resources Should I Be Using or Know About?

Here are a few additional resources for practice and preparation that will help make sure that you and your students have a successful testing season.

5 Proven Ways to Get the Most Out of Practice Testing
The old adage “practice makes perfect” is a familiar turn of phrase for a reason. Ensure that you’re getting the most out of every minute your students are spending on practice testing.

3 Ways Online Practice Can Support Your Test-Prep Program
As you are considering different options to ensure that your students have achieved standards proficiency, it’s critical that you have a program that’s aligned to the PA Core Standards. Consider this and other benefits of using an online program.

Start your FREE trial of Study Island
A recent study, validated by Marzano Research, confirms that when students spend just 30 minutes a week practicing in Study Island, they achieve significant academic gains. Check out the programs offered in Pennsylvania.

Interested in hearing more from Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera on how PA schools are charting a new course in education policy? Be sure to check out the latest news directly from the PA DOE.'s picture
Brianna Pyka holds a BA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from The University of St. Thomas and an MBA from Concordia University, St. Paul. She is a Marketing Manager who is eternally optimistic and a passionate lifelong learner and teacher at heart. Her favorite part of each week is the time she spends at a local Minnesota elementary school practicing reading with first graders.

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