Hillary Chybinski: The Upside of the PSSAs - No Homework

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Upside of the PSSAs - No Homework

This week all over the state of Pennsylvania, public school kids are taking the PSSAs. For those of you in other states (or countries), the PSSAs are the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. Assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics are given to children in grades 3 through 8 and 11, while students in grades 4, 8 and 11 are administered the Science assessment.  There is also a written assessment for students in grades 5, 8 and 11.

Binders and school supplies

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website, "The English Language Arts and Mathematics PSSAs include items that are consistent with the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.  The Science PSSA include items that are aligned to the Assessment Anchors/Eligible Content aligned to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science, Technology, Environment and Ecology."
The purpose of the tests are two-fold, to assess the proficiency of student attainment of academic standards and also to determine the degree to which school programs enable students to obtain proficiency.

There is much debate on whether these tests work. Whether it is fair to judge a teacher's performance or acumen in the classroom, on their student's scores.  There is evidence to support both sides of the story, personally I'm anti standardized tests. However, I have not opted to exempt my children from taking them . . .yet. Despite much press on schools with parents that have exempted their children, and in NJ, where teachers refused to give standardized test; my oldest is taking them this week.

Our schools provide pep rallies, assemblies, and  have even held a teacher served breakfast to students before the "big test".

The one shinning light in all this? There is no homework.  For one week, teachers and schools get together and promote learning and education and good study habits - and do not detract from having a peaceful evening at home, after a stressful and busy day at school.

My question is, why does that scenario ONLY happen during the PSSAs?

Do you kids take standardized tests in schools? What kind of things does your school do to prepare your kids?

catch you soon -

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