PSSA and Keystone Information

The Ligonier Valley School District is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to administer an achievement test called the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).  This year, students in grades six, seven, and eight will be tested in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.  In addition, the science assessment will be administered to students in eighth grade and the Algebra I Keystone for eligible students.  The assessment window has been determined as follows:

  • ELA                  April 10-12
  • Mathematics   April 17-18
  • Science           April 24-25
  • Algebra I          May 15-16 (Keystone)

The purpose of this assessment is to provide a direct performance measure of the students’ proficiency in attaining the mathematics and ELA standards.  Students who are absent will be scheduled to complete any portion of the test that they miss upon their return to school per the guidelines set forth by the Department of Education.

In Chapter 4 of the PA Code, provisions permit parents/guardians who, upon inspection of the testing materials, find the assessment to be in conflict with their religious beliefs to request that their child(ren) be excused from the assessment.  This written request from the parents/guardians must be addressed to the district superintendent.  To inspect testing materials, parents/guardians are required to appear in person, review the assessment in the presence of school personnel, and sign a state approved confidentiality agreement (no notes may be taken and electronic devices may not be used).  This request should be made at least two weeks prior to the first day of the testing window.

If a student in anyway violates test security, there are consequences at the local and state level.  This is mandated by the PA Department of Education.  In an era of cell phones, smartphones, and other electronic devices which can easily photograph and instantly share photographs, confidential and secure test materials can be easily compromised.  Not only is it expensive to replace a compromised test item, the material contained in the PSSA and Keystone Exams is copyrighted property of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Copying or duplicating the material from the assessment, including the taking of a photograph of secure assessment material, is a violation of the federal Copyright Act.  Penalties for violation of the Copyright Act may include the cost of replacing the compromised test item(s) or fines of no less than $750 up to $30,000 for a single violation (17 U.S.C. 101 et. seq).

If you would like additional information, please contact Dennis Henderson, School Assessment Coordinator, at 724-238-6412, during office hours, 7:10 A.M. to 2:55 P.M., Monday through Friday.