Examinations cause a lot of tension amongst students because of the time that goes into preparation. However, technology has provided a new innovative approach that allows students preparing for the final exams to adequately practice and familiarize themselves with test administration and procedures.
What is PSSA?
PSSA is an acronym for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. This is a standardized statewide test that is taken by students in public schools in Pennsylvania. With adequate PSSA training and assessment, students are well prepared to take these exams that cover various grade levels. Students in grade 3-8 are assessed in Math and English Language Arts while grade 4 and 8 students sit for Science examinations.
The objective of the test is to help teachers identify weak student areas and help them to improve. Regardless of which level they are administered, education stakeholders use these tests to assess student performance to verify their ability to apply knowledge they’ve learnt in school. PSSA tests help to identify what capabilities students should have at various grade levels in key subjects of Mathematics, English Language Arts and Science.
Background and Schedule of PSSA Tests
PSSA tests have been in existence since 1998 and, similar to other state assessments across the country, they have undergone major structural and curriculum changes.
Testing Time Periods
The testing window for PSSA exams vary based on the year. Typically, PSSA exams are administered in the Spring.
PSSA released items aim to measure the level of skills acquired and therefore, test timing is flexible. In some cases, students may be allowed extra time if need be under special circumstances. Generally, tests last between three to four hours depending on the test administered and grade level.
Format of PSSA Questions
The aim of PSSA training is to equip students with prior knowledge of exam formats and questions administered during the main exam. PSSA tests involve three types of questions: selected-response, multiple-choice and constructed response.
Focus Testing Areas in PSSA Tests
English Language Arts Assessment
Some of the areas tested in the exam include; reading, writing, literature and informational genre. In addition students are expected to respond to questions about passages that test both reading as well as comprehension of various texts.
A lot of students fear math assessments. But with adequate PSSA training and instruction that covers the right subject areas, students should feel confident to take their exams. Some of the key subject areas include: Numbers and Operation, Geometry, Algebraic Concepts and Measurement and Data. On the other hand, during exams, students tackling open-ended questions are required to show their work including drawings, graphs and calculations. Students in grades 4-8 are not permitted to use a calculator.
Science assessments cover four major categories which include: Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Science, The Nature of Science and Biological Sciences.
How Edulastic Can Help Students to Prepare For PSSA Tests
Edulastic’s free online assessment platform helps students practice for PSSA with question types that mimic the technology-enhanced items on the PSSA and our Edulastic Certified item bank including questions from previous released PSSA tests.
Regular online practice with Edulastic allows students to learn key skills such as keyboarding, which is a must-have for high-stakes online assessments. Students need to learn various navigation buttons and how they can maneuver from one question to another. In addition, PSSA practice on an online interface helps students to learn how to perform various tech aided tasks such as drag and drop and use of online calculators.
Students taking for the main exam are required to use technology devices such as computers, tablets or ipads. Online practice assessments help students to regularly use tech gadgets which boosts confidence as the exam date draws near. Students should always take their practice assessments using the same gadgets that will be used in the final exam.
Instructional Topics to Cover In Preparation for PSSA Tests
During the school year, students should learn the following topics in math to be ready for the PSSA: measurements, geometry, numbers and operations, algebraic concepts and data analysis, and profitability. For English Language Arts topics include comprehension and reading skills, including learning to read independently. Other ELA subject areas include: interpretation and analysis of fiction and non-fiction text as well as analyzing and interpreting literature.
PSSA Practice tests
Grade 3 PSSA Mathematics
Grade 5 PSSA Mathematics
Grade 7 PSSA Mathematics
Grade 8 PSSA Mathematics
Grade 4 PSSA Mathematics
49 questions | PSSAAssign
Grade 6 PSSA Mathematics
48 questions | PSSAAssign
8. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
22 questions | PSSAAssign
3. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
4. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
5. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
6. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
7. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
4.Trekking the Trail
13 questions | PSSAAssign
12 questions | PSSAAssign
4. The Greedy Dog and The Man and the Golden Fish
6. Nail Soup
7. Mission of Mercy
8. Joe’s Reward
3. Animals at Play
5. Anita Roddick
5. The Clever Wife
6. School Days
7. Aboard the Polaris
8. Editorial: Teens are going to extremes with texting
8.The Flight of Phaethon
3. It Rained Cement
6. Children Under 12 Banned from Skateboarding
6. The Body’s Clock
7. Letter to Her Daughter from the New White House
4. Mystery Club
8 questions | PSSAAssign
8. Talks About Talking
8 questions | PSSAAssign
3. Words Free As Confetti
5. First Men on the Moon