PSSA Overview

Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA)


What is the PSSA?

The PSSA is a state academic assessment designed to measure student mastery of the PA Core Standards in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science. All students in grades 3 - 8 are required to be assessed in these content areas by both the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Chapter 4 of the state education code.

Who takes the PSSA?

Students in Grades 3 - 8 participate in the PSSA English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments annually. Students in Grades 4 and 8 also participate in the PSSA Science assessment.

When is the PSSA administered?

The PSSA tests are administered in April and early May of each school year.

How long is the PSSA assessment?

English Language Arts: 3 sections, approximately 1 hour each

Mathematics: 2 sections, approximately 1 hour each

Science: 2 sections, approximately 1 hour each

How are students scored on the PSSA?

Students are awarded points for correct answers. Open-ended questions that require students to write an extended response are scored against a rubric by teams of assessors. The total number of points earned by a student is converted to a scaled score and a proficiency level. There are four proficiency levels: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Students at the Proficient and Advanced levels are considered to have mastered the standards for that grade level and subject.

How do I find out my student's score on the PSSA?

Student scores are posted in the Home Access Center (HAC) after they are received from PDE. In addition, hard copy student reports are available from the state during the Fall months of the next school year and are made available to parents.

Where can I find more information about the PSSA?

PSSA Resource Materials from the Pennsylvania Department of Education

Student Report Guides in Multiple Languages