Change Indicator

PSSA - Overall writing test scores by proficiency level (2010-2013) in Pennsylvania

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Why This Indicator Matters

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) scores represent a snapshot in time of student performance and should not be considered the sole indicator of student achievement. Standardized assessments, like the PSSA, help Pennsylvania meet federal and state requirements, as well as provide educators, stakeholders, and policymakers with important information about the commonwealth’s students and schools, and inform instructional practices.
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Definition and Source



The percent of all students who took the writing PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) test for each district, charter school or technical school grouped by proficiency level.

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. As a result of this alignment, the separate writing PSSAs in grades 5 and 8 were eliminated and students in grades 3-8 instead took an English Language Arts PSSA that includes both reading and writing. 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.

Data Source

Pennsylvania Department of Education, Assessment and Accountability


LNE = Low Number Event.  Statistics (rates, ratios, percents) are not calculated and displayed for counts less than 10 (or less than 3 for Bayesian/Nearest Neighbor rates).

Beginning 2012-13, PSSA tests were administered to only grades 3 - 8.

Last Updated

December 2014