PSSA Tests and How to Help Students to Prepare

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 varies according to the time period exams are administered. For the 2018-19 testing period, exams dates start from April 15th – 26th for Grades 3-8. April 29th – May 3rd is the official testing date for Mathematics Grades 3-8 and Science Grades 4-8. Make-Up assessments dates are April 30th – May 4th 2018.
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.

Mathematics Assessment

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 Assessment

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.
Resource Links

PSSA Practice tests

Grade 3 PSSA Mathematics
50 questions | PSSA
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Grade 5 PSSA Mathematics
50 questions | PSSA
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Grade 7 PSSA Mathematics
50 questions | PSSA
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Grade 8 PSSA Mathematics
50 questions | PSSA
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Grade 4 PSSA Mathematics
49 questions | PSSA
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Grade 6 PSSA Mathematics
48 questions | PSSA
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8. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
22 questions | PSSA
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3. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
21 questions | PSSA
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4. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
21 questions | PSSA
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5. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
21 questions | PSSA
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6. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
21 questions | PSSA
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7. Language Questions and Writing Prompts
21 questions | PSSA
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4.Trekking the Trail
13 questions | PSSA
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5.Eagles
12 questions | PSSA
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4. The Greedy Dog and The Man and the Golden Fish
11 questions | PSSA
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6. Nail Soup
11 questions | PSSA
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7. Mission of Mercy
11 questions | PSSA
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8. Joe's Reward
11 questions | PSSA
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3. Animals at Play
11 questions | PSSA
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5. Anita Roddick
10 questions | PSSA
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5. The Clever Wife
10 questions | PSSA
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6. School Days
10 questions | PSSA
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7. Aboard the Polaris
10 questions | PSSA
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8. Editorial: Teens are going to extremes with texting
10 questions | PSSA
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8.The Flight of Phaethon
10 questions | PSSA
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3. It Rained Cement
10 questions | PSSA
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6. Children Under 12 Banned from Skateboarding
9 questions | PSSA
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6. The Body's Clock
9 questions | PSSA
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7.Bake Sales
9 questions | PSSA
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7. Letter to Her Daughter from the New White House
9 questions | PSSA
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4. Mystery Club
8 questions | PSSA
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8. Talks About Talking
8 questions | PSSA
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3. Words Free As Confetti
7 questions | PSSA
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4. Fallingwater
7 questions | PSSA
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5. First Men on the Moon
7 questions | PSSA
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