PA State Bd of Ed Welcomes Acting Sec Hagarty, Takes Action on Grad Requirements and PASA Redesign (May 12, 2022)

At its May 4, 2022 meeting, the PA State Board of Education (Board) welcomed the new Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty and took action on items that included issues concerning waivers related to meeting state graduation requirements and changes in the test design and performance level descriptors for the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA).

With regard to graduation requirements  for the classes of 2024 and 2025, the Board approved one of two recommendations from the PA Department of Education (PDE) regarding the continuing impact of the effects of the pandemic on high school graduation requirements. It approved PDE’s recommendation to extend Covid-19 as an extenuating circumstance pursuant to Act 158 of 2018 for students in the classes of 2024 and 2025. The Act allows a chief school administrator to grant a waiver of the requirements for demonstration of statewide graduation requirements to accommodate a student who experiences extenuating circumstances. Previously, the Board approved PDE’s recommendation to modify the waiver provision to add Covid-19 as an extenuating circumstance for students graduating in 2023.

The Board also approved changes involved with the redesign of the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). The redesign of PASA requires adoption of four new performance levels and descriptors, which are: “emerging,” “approach target,” “at target,” and “advanced.” New cut scores for the assessment will be considered at the next meeting. Click here to view the report on the new performance levels and descriptors.

Following discussion, the Board decided to defer to the General Assembly the establishment of an allowable two-test composite score (in place of the three-score composite) for students who were eligible for the Act 136 exemption under Act 136 of 2020. Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster), who sits on the Board, will introduce legislation to make the change. Click here to view reports on the above.

Two additional presentations were made at the meeting. They included a presentation by the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Coalition (PEDC) regarding provisions under the newly revised Chapter 49 regulations for educator certification regarding requiring teacher preparation programs to include culturally relevant and sustaining education (CR-SE) and a PDE update on programs, services, and initiatives regarding career and technical education (CTE).

Many thanks to PSBA’s Cindy Eckerd.