On November 8, 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released results from the 2022-2023 school year administration of state-level assessments: the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA), and Keystone Exams. This year’s results show that overall statewide achievement continues to improve across all subject areas.
“This year’s assessment results underscore what we have said before—that with each passing year, participation and achievement will continue to improve,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “Pennsylvania’s results are well on their way to returning to pre-pandemic rates and we look forward to helping our students exceed those levels in the years ahead. Schools across the Commonwealth are using innovative new approaches, like online assessments, that are increasing flexibility for educators and learners—and we will continue to see an improvement in results over the coming years.”
Overall improvement is consistent with gains seen in other states, with English Language Arts proficiency increasing from 54.1% in 21-22 to 54.5% in 22-23, Math increasing from 35.7% in 21-22 to 38.3% in 22-23, and Science increasing from 54.4% in 21-22 to 58.9% in 22-23. Another notable area of improvement was seen in English Learner Growth and Attainment, increasing from 22.2% in 21-22 to 29% in 22-23.
Participation and achievement data have been added to the Future Ready PA Index, a comprehensive reporting system for presenting school-level data across a broad range of indicators, such as English language acquisition, career readiness, access to advanced coursework, and regular attendance. The Future Ready PA Index shows continued improvement as well, as four-year cohort graduation rates increased to 87% and career readiness indicators increased to 89.5%.
Pennsylvania’s statewide assessments include the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment for grades 3 through 8; end-of-course Keystone Exams administered in middle and high school depending on when students take the corresponding subject; and the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment that ensures equitable participation by students who are unable to participate in the general assessments. Assessments must be administered in-person, which has affected assessment participation rates across the state over the past three years. Additionally, Act 136 of 2020 waived “banked scores” for middle and high school students who would have taken a Keystone Exam in school year 2019-20, decreasing the count of eligible testers in the cohort of test takers. These test waivers will impact Keystone results reporting through at least 2023-24.