HARRISBURG – With the support of school superintendents, Westmoreland County Rep. Eric Nelson and Philadelphia County Rep. Martina White unveiled a plan to eliminate the annual PA System of School Assessment or PSSA testing system used by public schools and replace it with benchmark testing technology. PSSA testing began in 1992. Each April, PA students in grades three through eight are assessed in English language arts and math. Students in grades four and eight are assessed in science. The cost to taxpayers for the testing is nearly $50 million annually. Many schools already use benchmark testing technology because of how quickly information is provided. It uses competitive assessments, and provides real-time performance data to parents and teachers, which becomes useful in tracking individual education plans and academic performance. In many cases, schools use benchmark tests a few times a year to better track student performance. Their bill would enable a minimum of three benchmark assessments during a child’s school year. Aggregate data of schools and district results would be publicly available. Education experts say the current system is archaic, expensive, and burdensome for students and staff. It provides no value because it fails to actually measure what students truly must know, understand, and be able to do to be successful in today’s world. The lawmakers are circulating a co-sponsorship memo seeking support.

REP. MARTINA WHITE

REP. ERIC NELSON