Time spent on standardized test-taking reduced under new plan

August 9, 2017 by  

After the controversy of ‘No Child Left Behind’, educators and parents are primed for the changes that the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ (ESSA) can bring to Pennsylvania pupils.

To reduce the pressure teachers felt to “teach to the test” and the anxiety-inducing high-stakes exams endured by students, the state of Pennsylvania decided to comply with the ESSA law signed in 2015 by President Obama. The recent decision to create a state ESSA plan will also reduce the heavy role these tests play in rating schools’ performances.

Under ESSA, more control is given to the states regarding the frequency of proficiency testing and how and when those tests will take place. The state’s ESSA will mandate students take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests in the third and eighth grades, and Keystone exams be given to high school students in English, biology and algebra.

Under the ESSA state plan, Bethlehem students will spend less time taking PSSA with the English portion being reduced from four to three sections and the math changing from three to two.

Comments from the public will be accepted through August 31, with the plan’s submission to the U.S. Department of Education scheduled for September 18. The assistance of brochure printers can be used to help the public better understand the new plan. Trial implementation will start in 2017-18 with a full rollout intended for 2018-19