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Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA) - Grade 7 math test scores by proficiency level in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

The Pennsylvania System School Assessment (PSSA) is annual testing that provides a systematic review of student performance in all public schools across the Commonwealth related to attainment of proficiency standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.[1] PSSAs are aligned with Pennsylvania academic standards, which define what students should learn each year and measure student ability using four levels.[2] Such levels include advanced (superior academic performance), proficient (satisfactory academic performance), basic (marginal academic performance), and below basic (inadequate academic performance). Assessment topic areas depend on grade level. Students take assessments in math every year from 3rd grade through 8th grade. Although these PSSA scores have no influence on student grades, they are a useful way for schools to collect data regarding student achievement and assist teachers in identifying children’s strengths and weaknesses.[3] For this reason, PSSAs play an essential role in the development of curriculum and the personalization of instruction to best support student growth.

[1] Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2022). Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA).

[2] Time 4 Learning. (2022). Pennsylvania PSSA Test Prep.

[3] School District of Philadelphia. (2022). PSSA: The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment.

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Definition and Source



The percent of seventh grade students who took the math PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) test grouped by proficiency level.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Department of Education, Assessment and Accountability

District and school level results are also available.


Beginning 2012-13, PSSA tests were administered to only grades 3 - 8. Scores are not available for 2013-14.

In 2014-15, there were changes to the reading, writing and math PSSAs to reflect that these tests are now aligned to the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards. Implementing the stronger academic standards and measuring how well students are doing on the more challenging PSSA tests resulted in an initial decline in test scores when they were released. This drop in scores was not unexpected and should not be interpreted as a decline in student learning or teacher performance. It simply means Pennsylvania is recalibrating expectations and raising the bar for student achievement to ensure our kids are on a pathway to graduate from high school post-secondary and workforce ready.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, statewide PSSA & Keystone assessments were cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year.  For the 2020-2021 school year, Pennsylvania, like many states across the nation, afforded school entities the option to administer assessments at any time between the traditional spring window and the following fall to allow for flexibility as schools navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the test results will not be used for educator evaluations and the variability in testing periods, sharply reduced student participation rates, and other factors make comparisons between school entities and across school years improper.  Given these circumstances, the results should not be viewed as a complete, representative sample of all students in the commonwealth and will not be available.

Last Updated

December 2023