Heather Buchan is the BLM RC reporting Literacy Advocate for 2017-2018. Any questions or inquiries may be directed to her at: buchanh@southbutler.net

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
Pennsylvania’s Proposed Consolidated State Plan
September 2017 Update

Review the Consolidated State Plan (PDF)
PowerPoint Guide to the Plan (PDF)
Webinar Guide to the Plan (YouTube)

What does ESSA mean for Pennsylvania?
New flexibility for:
• Identifying fairer, more valid ways to measure school performance
• Determining how to best support schools identified as needing improvement
• Accelerating important reforms already underway
• Moving state education policy away from a strict focus on compliance, and toward the establishment of rigorous expectations for all students

Plan is aligned to Pa’s Education Vision
Underscores the importance of:
• Investments in education funding
• Comprehensive measures of school success
• High-quality early childhood education
• Investment in great teachers and leaders
• Growth in STEM innovation and capacity
• Expansion of pathways to postsecondary success
• Support for Community Schools

Section 1: Long-term Goals
Academic proficiency goal: Cut in half the percentage of non-proficient students on PSSAs and Keystone Exams by 2030
• Applies to all students and each subgroup
Graduation rate goal: Cut in half the percentage of students who fail to graduate
• Applies to all students and subgroups
• Seeks to use greater of four-year and five-year cohort rate
English Learner proficiency goal: Growth in scale score toward attainment of English proficiency as measured by ACCESS for ELLs assessment

Section 2: Consultation and Performance Management
• Ensure diversity of perspectives from education stakeholders (parents and families, educators, legislators, community leaders, education advocates, researchers, experts, and others)
• Specify the system for collection and approval of consolidated LEA plans
• Describe the Department’s protocol to monitor LEA compliance with ESSA requirements

Section 3: Academic Assessments
• PDE will reduce the testing time for PSSAs in both English language arts and Mathematics, effective spring 2018
• As ESSA requires states to develop additional assessment for these students, PDE is not currently pursuing exception to eliminate double testing for 8th grade math assessment
• PA will continue to provide side-by-side assessment materials in Spanish
Section 4: Accountability, Support and Improvement
• Ensure fair, transparent, and appropriate accountability determinations
• Shift focus from prescription to appropriate flexibility and support
• Align state and federal reporting

Four indicators mandated by the statute:
• Proficiency: Percentage Proficient/Advanced in English language arts and Mathematics on state assessments
• Academic Progress: Growth calculations derived from PVAAS,* which measures whether students gain, maintain, or decline in academic performance
• Graduation Rate: Percentage of students who earn a high school diploma in four (or five) or fewer years
• English Learner proficiency: Growth in scale score toward attainment of English proficiency as measured by ACCESS for ELLs assessment

Additional school quality and student success indicators chosen by Pennsylvania:
• Career readiness benchmark: Percentage of students who demonstrate engagement in career exploration and preparation, with individualized career plans through specific measures by grades 5, 8, and 11
• Chronic absenteeism: Percentage of students who have missed more than 10 percent of school days in the academic year; or approximately 18 days in a 180-day school year

Section 5: Supporting Excellent Educators
• Reaffirm commitment to educational equity provisions in ESEA
• Focus attention on: o PA’s educator workforce pipeline including concerns about teacher shortages
• Supports for PA’s existing teacher preparation programs
• Rigorous and effective alternative routes to certification
• Improved data quality and stronger partnerships between LEAs and preparing institutions and programs
Section 6: Supporting All Students
• Identifies Pennsylvania’s key strategies for ensuring all students have access to well rounded, robust educational opportunities
• Describes models for school-based supports and community partnerships
• Focuses on supports for students during important transitions

PDE Statement about PSSA ELA Test Reduction:
Pennsylvania plans to reduce the ELA 3-8 PSSA assessment from four to three sections. This will take effect with PSSA testing in 2018. The mode-specific writing prompt has been removed and the number of language multiple choice items has been reduced. PDE will post the revised ELA test blueprint when finalized.

KSRA Literacy Advocacy Committee Update—June 1, 2016

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations regarding accountability, state plans, and data reporting provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Why are these regulations important, what did they say, and what was the reaction to them from key members of Congress?
Watch the latest episode of Federal Flash to find out: https://youtu.be/YBW1SmuEBXU
**Education Department Releases ESSA Accountability Rules**

Proposed rules released Thursday by the Education Department include state accountability plans and what school report cards have to include under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Read more.
(Politics K-12)
**On-Demand Webinar: ESSA Explained**

**Engaging Stakeholders to Define School Quality Under ESSA**

(Learning Deeply)
**Gates Chief Acknowledges Common-Core Missteps**
In a letter posted on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's website, CEO Sue Desmond-Hellman acknowledged that the group had made some miscalculations regarding implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Read more.
(Curriculum Matters)

**New Jersey Changes Names of Common-Core Standards, Makes Few Changes**

(State EdWatch)

**Make ESSA Accountability Rules Clear and Strong, Democrats Tell the Ed. Dept.**
In a May 24 letter, the top two Democrats on K-12 issues in Congress told the federal department to make sure that ESSA has robust accountability language on a number of fronts. Read more.
(Politics K-12)
**A Look at 4th and 5th Grade Students' Digital Literacy Skills**

(Curriculum Matters)

Indiana, PA Third Grader Speaks at Title 1Conference

KSRA Literacy Advocacy Committee Update—May 25, 2016

Education Secretary Advocates Robust ESSA Rules Amid GOP Backlash
Meeting with reporters, Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said his department will look to ensure that federal Title I aid to students from low-income backgrounds is truly supplemental. Read more.
(Politics K-12)
Teaching Reading Via Background Knowledge: Will ESSA Shift Tactics?

(Curriculum Matters)

Biggest Transitions Facing States for ESSA Accountability Flagged in New Report
The Every Student Succeeds Act will require at least a few significant shifts for the indicators states use for student achievement and school quality, the Center for American Progress says. Read more.
(Politics K-12)

Key GOP Senator Blasts Ed. Department's Approach to ESSA Title I Spending

May 16, 2016 02:08 PM
Representative Duane D. Milne
All House members
Regulatory Flexibility/Creating Act 48 credit carryover
On Wednesday, May 18, I plan to introduce legislation to support educators in the pursuit of professional education hours that help sustain excellent teaching. Specifically, this legislation will allow regulatory flexibility by creating a carryover provision of professional education hours under qualifying circumstances.

Pursuant to Act 48 of 1999, the Public School Code requires professional educators to complete 180 hours of continuing professional education every 5 years. A professional educator may satisfy the Act 48 requirement through completion of 6 college credits, 6 credits of continuing professional education courses, 180 hours of continuing professional education programs, activities or learning experiences, or any combination of these equivalent to 180 hours.

My proposed legislation will allow an educator who has completed more than the required number of continuing professional education hours (for a given five year compliance period) to carry over up to 50 excess professional education hours, or their credit equivalent, earned during the final two years of the educator’s compliance period. These hours would be applied to the educator’s next succeeding compliance period.

My legislation seeks to reward those educators who make a significant investment in professional enrichment in the latter stage of an Act 48 compliance period by permitting a portion of that investment to apply to their next succeeding compliance period. These situations can happen, as examples, because of the design of certain university curricula or due to the timing of when professional education opportunities arise.

By limiting the total hours eligible for carryover, my legislation honors the intent of Act 48 by ensuring that educators will have to continue to participate in professional education activities during each five year compliance period. Further, Act 48 will hold true to its primary purpose of enhancing the professional knowledge and skills of Pennsylvania educators, thereby boosting excellence in the Commonwealth’s classrooms.

KSRA Literacy Advocacy Committee Update—May 4, 2016

Daily coverage of education news, commentary, special reports, andtop jobs.
Daily coverage of education news, commentary, special reports, andtop jobs.

The Searchfor Common-Core Curricula: Where Are Teachers Finding Materials?
The Searchfor Common-Core Curricula: Where Are Teachers Finding Materials?
The Search for Common-Core Curricula: Where Are Teachers Finding Materials?

In common-core states, nearly all math and language arts teachers are at least somewhat reliant on materials they've developed or selected themselves, according to a new nationally representative survey. Read more.
(Curriculum Matters)

|| ||

State Tests: //Education Week//'s Interactive Breakdown of 2015-16 Plans
Education Week's survey of all states shows three key shifts in testing, including a continued erosion of the strength of PARCC and Smarter Balanced, particularly at the high school level. Read more.
(Education Week)
State Testing: An Interactive Breakdown of 2015-16 Plans

Are We Serious About the Goal of College and Career Readiness for All?
With the passage of ESSA, states must build on the college-and-career readiness progress of the past decade, writes Matt Gandal. Read more.
(Education Week)


Alternative Tests Aligned With Common Core Find Niche in Special Ed.

(Education Week)

New Jersey Postpones PARCC Exam After Technical Problems

(State EdWatch)

Missouri Board Approves Standards to Replace Common Core

(State EdWatch)

ESSA Committee Agrees on Special Education Testing Rules

(On Special Education)

Diane Ravitch Urges Parents to Opt Children Out of Common-Core Exams

(State EdWatch)

Common Core: Is Its Achievement Impact Starting to Dissipate?

(Education Week)


Common-Core Backlash:Track State Efforts
Common-Core Backlash:Track State Efforts
Common-Core Backlash: A Bill Tracker

Use our updated interactive tracker to follow the development of legislation and executive orders in states seeking to pause, delay, or repeal the Common Core State Standards. Read more.


SPONSOR WEBINAR - Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 2 to 3 p.m. ET
Prevention to Intervention: Formative Assessment Reimagined
Learn the possibilities and potential of a new breed of technology that reimagines formative assessment through the authentic and adaptive integration of instruction and assessment to ensure success of, by, and for each learner. Click here to attend this free live event.
Content provided by: DreamBox Learning

FREE WEBINAR - Thursday, April 28, 2016, 3 to 4 p.m. ET
English-Learners and the Common Core: New Instructional Strategies
Veteran teachers Larry Ferlazzo and Katie Hull Sypnieski, authors of the forthcoming Navigating the Common Core With English Language Learners, will offer practical guidance on integrating the common-core standards into instruction for English-learners. Click here to attend this free live event.
Sponsored by: Middlebury Interactive Langauges


Charlotte Danielson on Rethinking Teacher Evaluation (Commentary)

3 Reasons Instructional Coaching May Not Be Working (Finding Common Ground Blog)

No Child Left Behind Overview: Definitions, Requirements, Criticisms, and More
ESSA Cheat Sheet: What's in the New Testing Regulations?


The Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Assessment Governing Board Invite You to View a WebinarNAEP’s Technology and Engineering Literacy Assessment: A New Approach to AssessmentThursday, May 5, 2016

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EDT)
The Alliance for Excellent Education is joining with the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) to host a webinar on National Assessment of Educational Progress’s (NAEP’s) new Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment.
We live in a world shaped by technology: the computers and smartphones we use, the cars and planes we travel in, the homes and offices we inhabit; the food, clothes, entertainment, and medical care are all created and driven by technology. Technology is also at the root of critical challenges faced by society, such as linking experts throughout the world, searching for sustainable energy, and developing environmentally friendly agriculture to feed a growing world population.
There is a growing focus on the use of technology to support instruction and assessment in the nation’s education system, particularly at the elementary and secondary levels. Because of the increased importance of technology and engineering, and to support America’s ability to contribute to and compete in a global economy, NAGB developed the first NAEP TEL assessment.
The TEL assessment is a new part of NAEP and reflects a new approach to assessment. This webinar will share information about the assessment—its genesis, the types of information in the report, and potential use of that information. In addition, the webinar will highlight the TEL assessment’s departure from typical assessment designs used in NAEP; it relies on scenario-based problem sets that test students through their interaction with multimedia tasks.
The event will feature Stephanie Wood-Garnett, vice president of policy and advocacy for standards, assessment, and deeper learning at the Alliance for Excellent Education; Bill Bushaw, executive director at NAGB; and Peggy Carr, acting commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics. Panelists will address questions submitted by viewers from across the country.

Opening Remarks

  • Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Bill Bushaw, Executive Director, National Assessment Governing Board
  • Peggy Carr, Acting Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics
  • Stephanie Wood-Garnett, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for Standards, Assessment, and Deeper Learning, Alliance for Excellent Education
Register Now
Other Upcoming Alliance Webinars
May 4: Personalized Learning: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities and English Learners
May 6: District Strategies for Achieving Digital Equity
May 11: Communicating K–12 Student Data Privacy to Parents and Stakeholders
May 31: Using Open Educational Resources to Develop Dynamic Digital Content for Classrooms

Sticker Shock? Figuring Out the Cost of Potential ESSA Spending Rules
There's a lot of disagreement about what possible ESSA spending regulations could cost. But there have been a couple of attempts to put a price tag on the proposal to make spending between rich and poor schools more equal. Read more.
(Politics K-12)
Amid Changes, School Librarians Keep Student Learning Central

KSRA Literacy Advocacy Committee Update—April 20, 2016
Article about ESSA in PA

New from Secretary King Header
New from Secretary King Header

Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

Dear Colleague:
Responding to calls from stakeholders across the education system to provide clarification in key areas of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) -- particularly those essential to the equity and excellence goals of ESSA and to protecting the civil rights of students -- the Department began the process of negotiated rulemaking last month in two areas of Title I, Part A: student assessments and supplement not supplant requirements. And, it will begin shortly the regulatory process on state accountability systems and reporting, submission of state plans, and Title I, Part B innovative assessment demonstration authority. While the Department will continue to seek input on where guidance and technical assistance would be helpful, it does not plan to propose regulations on any other areas of the new law this year.
There will be numerous opportunities for stakeholders to engage in the regulatory process. Along with the regulations currently under development through negotiated rulemaking (in fact, reflecting conversations from the first negotiating session, new materials -- including draft regulations -- will be posted soon on the ESSA web site for the negotiating committee to review and discuss), the public will be invited to comment on the Department’s draft regulations on accountability and reporting, state plans, and innovative assessments later this year. The Department will also provide guidance and make additional technical assistance resources available beginning this summer.
We greatly appreciate the thoughtful feedback and suggestions thus far from individuals and groups and look forward to a continuing conversation on how we can work together to help ensure every student is ready to graduate from high school and thrive in college and careers. Please continue to direct questions about the ESSA to ESSA.questions@ed.gov.
U.S. Department of Education

Daily coverage of education news, commentary, special reports, andtop jobs.
Daily coverage of education news, commentary, special reports, andtop jobs.

Can Latin Help Younger Students BuildVocabulary?
Can Latin Help Younger Students BuildVocabulary?
**Can Latin Help Younger Students Build Vocabulary?**

Students as young as 1st grade are learning Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes, and bases as a way to build vocabulary skills. Read more.

KSRA Literacy Advocacy Committee UpdateMarch 30, 2016

Publications from the Alliance for Excellent Education

**Everything You Need to Know About the Every Student Succeeds Act**

The Alliance has created a series of one-page fact sheets on several key areas within ESSA, including accountability, assessments, high schools, and teachers and school leaders, as well as a side-by-side chart comparing accountability provisions in NCLB, NCLB waivers, and ESSA. These materials have corresponding five-minute video segments that provide concise, but comprehensive, analyses of these topics. The Alliance also submitted recommendations on ESSA implementation to the U.S. Department of Education (ED), urging ED to clarify the law’s focus on traditionally underserved students and the nation’s lowest-performing high schools. These resources are available atall4ed.org/essa.
**Adolescent Literacy: Bridging the College- and Career-Readiness Gap**
(January 29, 2016):

Many of the more than 700,000 students who leave U.S. high schools each year without a diploma have low literacy skills. More than 60 percent of eighth graders and 60 percent of twelfth graders scored below the “proficient” level in reading achievement according to the most recent administrations of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card. This fact sheet provides updated facts on adolescent literacy that make the case for aggressive action to improve the reading and writing skills of adolescent learners across the nation.

SPONSOR (Curriculum Associates) WEBINAR - Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 2 to 3 p.m. ET
Demystifying the Role of Reading Comprehension in the Common Core
The role of reading comprehension in the common core appears to be a mystery. In this webinar, we unlock this mystery and provide practical, classroom-ready ideas for teaching students to comprehend to their greatest potential. Click here to attend this free live event.
For States, Question Is: To Time Tests or Not?
While New York state recently opted to drop time limits on its tests, Texas is ending a 35-year policy of untimed testing. Read more.
For States,Question Is: To Time Tests or Not?
For States,Question Is: To Time Tests or Not?
(Education Week)

ASCD—Other News

  • § Test scores vary little between states using Common Core State Standards and those not using the standards, according to a report from the Brown Center on Education Policy. Data show Common Core is changing instruction, with 45% of teachers emphasizing nonfiction in 2015, up from 38% in 2011.
Alliance for Excellent Education: This week marked the beginning of negotiated rulemaking for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.
Today’s episode of Federal Flash explains negotiated rulemaking and examines the issues discussed in this week’s session. It also reviews U.S. Secretary of Education John King’s appearance before a Senate subcommittee to discuss federal education funding, as well as a House committee hearing on effectively using student data while protecting student privacy.
Watch at https://youtu.be/wq87uAJ5pvE .

View the most popular stories your colleagues are reading on Education Week
View the most popular stories your colleagues are reading on Education Week

As spring arrives, take some time to catch up on what your colleagues have been reading over the winter. Here are the 12 most popularEducation Week stories and opinions from the last 90 days. Take a look!

Teachers at Low-Income Schools Deserve Respect
PARCC Scores Lower for Students Who Took Exams on Computers
2016 Education Rankings Put States, Nation to the Test
Why I Plan to Stay in Teaching
ESSA Loosens Reins on Teacher Evaluations, Qualifications
Author: To Reach Struggling Students, Schools Need to Be More 'Trauma-Sensitive'
16 Books Educators Should Consider Reading in 2016
Why Ability Grouping Doesn't Work
Nurturing Growth Mindsets: Six Tips From Carol Dweck
Three Ways Teachers Can Make School Suck Less
Technology in Education: An Overview
Why I'm Tired of 'Grit'


NEA Today:

Six Ways ESSA Will Improve Assessments

From high-stakes to multiple measures to opt-out, here's how the Every Student Succeeds Act will impact testing. READ MORE »

Here are (some of the) most popular Education Week stories and opinions your colleagues have been reading this week: 3-23-2016

Immigrant Children Have a Right to a Good Education

States' Accountability Systems Flawed for College Readiness, Report Finds

Online-Testing Stumbles Spark Legislation in Affected States

**Immigrant Influxes Put U.S. Schools to the Test**

In St. Cloud, Minn., educators are grappling with language and cultural differences in the city's growing Somali community. Read more.

**Includes Video: Helping Immigrant Students Adjust to New Schools, New Lives**
Immigrant InfluxesPut U.S. Schools to the Test
Immigrant InfluxesPut U.S. Schools to the Test

**Advocacy Groups Unhappy With List of ESSA Negotiators (Politics K-12 Blog)**

**Pennsylvania School Districts Make Stark Choices During Budget Impasse (District Dossier Blog)**

**Capacity of State Ed. Departments Waning on Brink of ESSA Rollout**

Capacity of State Ed. Departments Waning on Brink of ESSA Rollout
Capacity of State Ed. Departments Waning on Brink of ESSA Rollout
In some states, budget-driven cutbacks may pose challenges as state education agencies gear up for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Read more.

From Editorial Projects in Education, Inc.—Education Week Whitepapers

11 Quick Tips: Turn Your Students Into Close Readers

Provided by Great Books Foundation | **Read Whitepaper Now**

Think Thoughtfully

Provided by Mentoring Minds | **Read Whitepaper Now**

Teaching Adolescents to Read: It's not too late

Provided by Voyager Sopris | **Read Whitepaper Now**

11 Elements of Response to Intervention

Provided by McGraw Hill Education | **Read Whitepaper Now**



Senate Passes Fourth Budget to Send to Governor 3/17/2016

Working to restore money slashed by Governor Wolf’s line-item vetoes, the Senate today approved, again, an appropriations bill by a vote of 31-18 that would close the Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget. House Bill 1801, the fourth budget sent to the Governor, restores $6 billion in funding for essential programs and services and provides for $30.03 billion in total spending. Said Senator Brooks, “This budget represents an approximate three percent increase over Fiscal Year 2014-15 levels. For those who say it is not enough, ask how many hard working families and senior citizens are receiving a three percent increase in their income?”
As amended by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and approved by the full Senate on Wednesday, HB 1801 provides approximately $450 million increase in education spending which includes a $150 million increase to basic education, $50 million increase for Ready to Learn Block Grants, a $30 million increase in special education and a $30 million increase to pre-kindergarten and early education. Further, the budget package includes an approximate five percent increase for higher education, which equates to roughly $60.2 million. The State spends approximately 40 percent of its budget on education. Said Senator Brooks, “This is a substantial investment in educating our children, especially in a time when families are struggling and we are in a challenging economy.” (as a side note, the state did not cut $1 billion for education in previous years, it was a loss of federal stimulus dollars)
This budget also funds important items such as critical care access hospitals, like in Titusville and Corry, county social service programs and regional cancer institutes.
HB 1801 would provide approximately $50.5 million for agricultural extension and research and 4-H that are currently in jeopardy since they were defunded by the Governor’s line-item vetoes. Further, funding for county and community fairs is reinstated at Fiscal Year 2014-15 levels, which is funded through the Racehorse Development Fund and not through tax revenues.
As a colleague of mine said, it takes 129 people to enact a law, including a majority of the members of the House (102), a majority in the members in the Senate (26) and the Governor (1). To date, 128 of the 129 have agreed four times to pass a budget.
“It is my hope the Governor ends this impasse and the issues it has created for our schools, our agriculture, critical care access hospitals and so many others by signing this budget”, said Senator Brooks.
HB 1801 returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

KSRA Literacy Advocacy Committee UpdateMarch 16, 2016

· Students Prefer Print. Why Are Schools Pushing Digital Textbooks?

  • “Why the Common Core Will Be Declared a Failure, And Why That Will Be Dead Wrong”


High-school graduates in the US perform on average or below average in literacy, technology and math when compared with international counterparts, according to a study by the Program for International Assessment of Adult Competencies. Data show that the US is about average in literacy, but it lags behind in math and technology.

  • Education Week Spotlights contain essential news and commentary on the big issues. These Spotlights provide the information you need to understand the most talked-about topics. For a limited time, download these Spotlights for free.

Download the Spotlight on Differentiated Instruction
Download the Spotlight on Differentiated Instruction
Differentiated Instruction

Learn about the challenges of differentiation, how educators are personalizing instruction in literacy and math, and identifying students' academic strengths.

Read Now

· Senate Education Panel Votes To Confirm King As Education Secretary.

The Washington Post (3/9, Brown) reports that the Senate HELP Committee voted 16-6 Wednesday “in favor of confirming John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary.” The Post paints the vote as confirmation of a bipartisan climate surrounding education policy, touches on King’s background, and notes that President Obama has touted King’s “powerful personal story.” The piece notes that President Obama had not been expected to formally nominate King, but when HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander signaled support for King’s confirmation, Obama changed course. The Post reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren voted for confirmation, but “said she will not vote aye on the floor unless he provides more ‘direct answers’ about how he intends to overhaul the department’s efforts to protect student loan borrowers.”

The AP (3/9, Kerr) reports that if the full Senate confirms King, he will oversee ED during the implementation of ESSA. The AP reports that Alexander “said he did not think it was ‘good for our system of government to go through an entire year’ with no one firmly in place to lead the department as it works with the states and local school districts to implement the new K-12 law.”

Alyson Klein writes at the Education Week (3/9) “Politics K-12” blog that despite Alexander’s support and the general bipartisan support for King’s confirmation, several Republicans voted against it. All Democrats voted to confirm.

The Huffington Post (3/9) reports that the full Senate will “soon” take up King’s confirmation. The Post says that King’s “confirmation process has so far gone relatively smoothly,” but notes that he was “polarizing” during his time as New York Education Commissioner. The Chattanoogan (TN) (3/9), the Politico (3/9) “Morning Education” blog, the Dallas Morning News (3/9), and the Washington Examiner (3/9) also cover the hearing.

  • PA Senate Bill 1159

Senator Andrew Dinniman and Sen. Lloyd Smucker
All Senate members
Affirming the Legislature’s Role in Executing the New Federal “Every Student Succeeds Act”

We will soon be introducing legislation to affirm the General Assembly’s role in implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which has replaced the No Child Left behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 at the federal level.

The ESSA is a 1,061-page law which grants important decision-making powers to the states in crafting education policy. The ESSA calls upon the state Department of Education to engage in “meaningful consultation” with the Governor, the Legislature, and the State Board of Education in developing Pennsylvania’s State Plan, which addresses such important topics as under-performing schools, standardized testing requirements, early childhood education, teacher training and more.

With greater decision-making power delegated to the states, our bill ensures that the State Plan will be submitted to the chairs of the Senate and House Education Committees and to the full General Assembly for approval. The bill will also require periodic updates to the chairs during the development of the plan. The State Plan would be proposed as a resolution and be subject to the approval of a majority of the members of the General Assembly.

This bill would thus ensure legislative input and involvement in developing major education initiatives such as the following:

  • Statewide accountability systems, with an emphasis on schools performing in the lowest five percent
  • High-quality, individualized academic assessments in appropriate curriculum areas, employing the “principles of universal design,” as set forth in the federal law
  • Statewide standards that emphasize a challenging academic curriculum and a system of assessments that allow students to succeed in today’s economy
  • An annual, online state report card to track the progress of students and sub-groups of students, reflecting a respect for different student needs and learning styles
  • School stability requirements for children in foster care, reflecting the best interest of the child
  • The phase-out of School Improvement Grants and the launch of a new statewide system of technical assistance and support awards, and
  • Teacher evaluations.

In our shared goal to provide a world-class education for every student, we hope you will join us in affirming the Legislature’s role as active partners in establishing high-quality education policy in the Commonwealth.

Thank you for your consideration in working to advance federal academic objectives and adapt them to Pennsylvania’s own goals and objectives.




Date of Meeting:
March 15, 2016
Subject of Roll Call:
Senate Bill 1159 Printer's No. 1595

Reported as Committed


SCARNATI , ex-officio
Vote Summary

PA House Bill 1899

Representative Kristin Hill and Rep. Seth Grove, Rep. Kate Klunk
All House members
Creation of a student centered assessment system that empowers teachers and increases instruction time

One of the greatest challenges facing our education system today is reforming our antiquated approach to assessing educational progress and academic growth. The Iowa model, in use today, has been the accepted method for student assessment for over four decades. However, this approach fails to meet the needs of our students today. In order to meet the requirements for the standardized tests under the Iowa model, schools across the commonwealth often devote weeks of classroom instruction to prepare for the test.

The impact of “teaching the test” is well documented, as teaching for the standardized test fails to help students better understand the material. Instead of reviewing the subject in greater detail or going over material slowly for students who are struggling, teachers must focus their curriculum around the standardized tests. The reason for this is simple, schools are judged on their performance. In large part, on standardized tests. Effectively, these tests take precedence over the needs of the student, as classroom instruction focuses on teaching a test rather than mastery of a subject.

Not only do standardized tests take away from necessary instruction on a given subject, but the results fail to inform teachers of student performance or growth within a school year. The delay of notification hurts teachers because it fails to provide them enough time to make any necessary adjustments to help students the following year.

In order to provide students with more instruction time in the classroom and provide teachers with quick results on student performance and academic growth, we plan to introduce legislation to move education forward. This legislation will direct the Department of Education to work with the state board and establish a pilot program utilizing new approaches to testing and technology to improve education. In particular, the program will allow school districts to use adaptive testing, which will track student performance and measure academic growth over the school year. Additionally, these tests will provide teachers with assessment results faster than the current standardized test. School districts, which are currently using adaptive testing, have the results available within 24 hours.

For school districts in the pilot programs, these adaptive tests will replace standardized tests for grades 1-8. We believe this resource empowers teachers and will allow them to adjust their curriculum or teaching based upon the performance and academic growth of their students.

Please join us and co-sponsor this legislation to create a pilot program, which will create a student centered assessment system that empowers teachers and increases instruction time. If you have any questions, please contact Jordan Grant by email at Jgrant@pahousegop.com or by phone at 717-767-3947.



A New Education Law ESSA Click Here for More

Educational Weekly on ESEA

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.
The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country.
For example, today, high school graduation rates are at all-time highs. Dropout rates are at historic lows. And more students are going to college than ever before. These achievements provide a firm foundation for further work to expand educational opportunity and improve student outcomes under ESSA.
The previous version of the law, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, was enacted in 2002. NCLB represented a significant step forward for our nation’s children in many respects, particularly as it shined a light on where students were making progress and where they needed additional support, regardless of race, income, zip code, disability, home language, or background. The law was scheduled for revision in 2007, and, over time, NCLB’s prescriptive requirements became increasingly unworkable for schools and educators. Recognizing this fact, in 2010, the Obama administration joined a call from educators and families to create a better law that focused on the clear goal of fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.
Congress has now responded to that call.
The Every Student Succeeds Act reflects many of the priorities of this administration.


White House Announces ED Program To Combat Poor School Attendance With Mentoring. 2-19-2016

The Washington Post (2/19, Brown) report the White House announced on Friday “that it plans to tackle the problem of poor school attendance by connecting 1 million at-risk students with mentors over the next five years.” Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University, which is overseeing the initiative in partnership with the US Education Department, said, “This is a solvable problem. We have evidence that we can attack this and figure out how to help kids come to school.” Balfanz added, “By mobilizing all this person power we can make a huge difference.” The program, part of President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, will begin in 10 cities and train mentors to work with students.

The AP (2/19, Holland) reports that officials say students who miss large amounts of school are “at risk of falling behind and dropping out,” an issue which applies to some 7.5 million students nationwide The piece reports that My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Chairman Broderick Johnson said that “pairing mentors with some of those students can stop children from risking their futures.” The program, dubbed the MBK Success Mentors Initiative, “will pair trained adults with children to meet with them three times a week.”

Andrew Ujifusa writes about the program at the Education Week (2/21) “Politics K-12” blog, saying that in addition to the mentoring program, “the Absences Add Up public relations campaign will try to highlight the issue for parents, particularly for those with children in elementary and middle schools.” Ujifusa reports that Education Secretary John King said Friday “that the initiatives will help address underlying issue behind chronic absenteeism, while also making schools safer and more supportive.” He quotes King saying, “We know that chronic absenteeism is really an epidemic in the country.”

US News & World Report (2/19, Camera) calls the initiative the largest such effort on the part of the Administration, and quotes King saying that when such students “are absent they are more likely to be retained in grade, more likely to drop out of high school and more likely to get in trouble.” This piece notes that the PR component of the plan “will be a joint effort between the Education Department, the Ad Council and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Flint, Michigan.”

A number of media outlets from the ten cities involved in the rollout also cover this story, including thePhiladelphia Inquirer (2/19, Graham, Snyder), the Philadelphia Tribune (2/21), the Seattle Times (2/22), theProvidence (RI) Journal (2/19, Borg), the Boston Globe (2/19, Vaznis), NY1-TV New York (2/19), and the Miami Herald (2/21)



House Education Committee approves two-year delay on Keystone Exam graduation requirement

  • A proposal to delay the Keystone Exam graduation requirement was approved by the state House Education Committee today.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 880, according to a staffer for Sen. Lloyd Smucker, the Republican from West Lampeter Township who introduced the bill.
The Senate approved the bill in June. The bill must pass a floor vote in the House before it can cross the governor's desk to be signed into law.

High school students and some middle schoolers take Keystone Exams at the end of courses in algebra I, literature and biology. Under current law, students in the class of 2017 and younger must pass the tests to graduate.
Those who fail the exams twice will need to complete a project-based assessment. School administrators and lawmakers have raised concerns about the implementation of those projects. Finding staff to supervise student work on the projects has burdened some schools, for example.
The bill under consideration would delay the graduation requirement tied to the exams for two years. The committee also approved an amendment from Rep. Stan Saylor, a York County Republican, that would require the Department of Education to explore other ways students can show proficiency for graduation.

Some legislators want to do more than delay the Keystone Exam graduation requirement. In January, Rep. Dan Truitt, a Chester County Republican, introduced a bill that would repeal the requirement altogether. Rep. Mike Tobash, a Republican who represents parts of Dauphin and Schuylkill counties, sponsored a bill that would allow districts to decide for themselves whether to use Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement.



6 reasons why Chromebooks are the device of the moment

What makes Chromebooks popular, and will they outlast their buzz?
As the familiar refrain goes, “It’s not about the device,” but even so schools need to choose one to advance their digital instruction goals. And by all accounts, Chromebooks are the device of the moment, with 2.5 million shipped to schools in the first half of this year alone. There’s no doubt they’re trendy, but is there any deeper reasons for the sales surge beyond appearance and affordability? Recently, I joined host Larry Jacobs and Google Certified Innovator and trainer Chris Scott for an episode of Education Talk Radio in which we talked through these issues at length and came up with a handful of reasons for the Chromebook’s trendsetting status. Here’s the CliffsNotes of that discussion, but be sure to check out the full conversation embedded above and available online.

Google’s name has staying power. We’ve been Googling for more than a decade by this point, and with the near ubiquity of Google Apps for Education in the nation’s classrooms, educators and students feel comfortable with the Google ecosystem. Branding helps, but at the end of the day, educators do realize that Google is just the conduit for students to advance their learning, not the first and last steps.
Chromebooks have some surface-level advantages. First, they’re cheap, with models often starting around $200. And while the cheaper cost can mean lower quality, it also means cheap replacement parts, too. IT management is simple — and there are few horror stories equaling what schools went through with iPads. They’re easy to share among students, and at a time when online high-stakes testing is still very much a part of the conversation, Chromebooks have the all-important built-in keyboard. None of these things necessarily makes the Chromebook the ideal or superior device for education, but they certainly don’t hurt.
It works. Many educators can still recall a time when technology was as liable to fail as it was to work properly. One of Google’s most noticeable innovations — besides eliminating spam from email — is its consistency. Sparse of features as Google Apps and Chromebooks may be, they’re simple to use and even simpler to collaborate with.
Chromebooks are the safe choice. As a Google trainer, Chris Scott goes into a lot of schools and frequently sees teachers who are unprepared for using devices in the classrooms. They haven’t yet given much thought to how devices will lead to a redesigned classroom experience and, at least at first, are looking for quick tips and lesson ideas they can start using immediately. For them, Chromebooks are easy to use and, being that they’re based on Google, familiar and easy to learn on the fly.
There’s a support network to tap into. Google provides ample training on its devices and a large network of certified trainers and innovators, who aim to be more visible and approachable than Apple or Microsoft certified educators — to reach out to for help or getting started. Google also offers a number of workshops and summits for training and professional development.
They last. Scott’s four-year-old Chromebook is still going strong and, to him at least, doesn’t feel outdated. Whereas some devices get bogged down and begin to crawl after years of downloading and heavy use (and others feel less useful thanks to planned obsolescence), Chromebooks are capable of lasting for years without much noticeable change.



Tell Congress: Get ESEA done! Get ESEA right!

Educator teaching class
Educator teaching class
NEA and nine other leading education groups kicked off a digital ad campaignthis week urging Congress to finish rewriting ESEA and focus on opportunity for all students, no matter their zip code. “If Congress is serious about every child’s bright future, let’s get serious about putting kids first,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. “Now is the time to finish the job and deliver a bipartisan education bill to the
take action
take action
president’s desk right away. Students can’t afford to live another yearunder the failed No Child Left Behind law.” Agreement on a final bill is likely to be announced by before Thanksgiving—Congress is hearing the urgency from educators! Continue to add your voice so that Congress cannot ignore the need to pass ESEA now. Call your senators and representative via our “Opportunity for All” hotline at 1-866-331-7233. Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to finish ESEA now.

Urge Congress to invest in students most in need

Kids eating lunch
Kids eating lunch
Now that overall funding levels have been set, it is time to push for a larger share for the students most in need. Congress must put together an “omnibus” appropriations/funding bill by
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December 11
, when current funding expires. Students have been short changed for years and it’s got to stop! Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to invest more heavily in programs for the students most in need, like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start.

Higher Ed Act turns 50! Tell Congress to make college more affordable

50 HEA Anniversary
50 HEA Anniversary
The Higher Education Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago today (November 8, 1965), has helped make a college education attainable for thousands of lower- and middle-income students. The law governs Pell grants, work-study, student loans, the
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take action
National Teachers Corps, Title IX, andmore. NEA’s principles for HEAreauthorization include making college more affordable, improving teacher preparation, and recognizing educators as stakeholders. Click on the “take action” button and tell Congress to make sure the Higher Education Act lives up to its promise of opportunity for all.

Urge senators to oppose DC voucher program

“Instead of taking taxpayer funds away from public schools and handing them over to private schools, we should focus on equipping all students for success and closing opportunity gaps for all students, no matter what zip code they live in,” NEA wrote in comments submitted to the Senate
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take action
Homeland Security andGovernmental Affairs Committee in connectionwith its Nov. 4 hearing onreauthorizing the Washington DC private school voucher program. A committee markup is likely November 18, and proponents may try to add the legislation to a year-end funding bill. Click on the “take action” button to urge your senators to vote NO on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (S. 2171), which funds the DC voucher program.


It’s been 13 years and 302 days since No Child Left Behind – the main education law that governs our schools -- was signed into law.

Everyone acknowledges that this law isn’t working for students. It’s done nothing to address students’ unequal access to opportunities like AP classes, art programs, and technology. It’s pushed out critical and creative thinking skills in favor of test prep. This is particularly a problem for our most vulnerable students.

Luckily, the current legislation being considered is a huge improvement over current law. Our challenge now is to get a final bill passed.

**It is critical that you email your representative to ask them to get ESEA done and get it done right?**

We need Congress to act now, in the best interest of students, and pass a law that ensures equal opportunity and a high-quality education for all our students, regardless of their zip code.

**Email your representative now. It only takes a few minutes!**

Thanks for everything you’ve done to advocate for your students!

Marc Egan

NEA Government Relations

Published weekly by the National Education Association. To subscribe: www.nea.org/lac.

To tell your story: www.EdVotes.org.




September 8, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver Receives Federal ApprovalAllows for one-year pause in School Performance Scores

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has approved Pennsylvania’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver which allows for a one-year pause in the use of the state’s School Performance Profile (SPP). Governor Wolf and Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera had requested the waiver in using the 2015 PSSA scores to calculate SPP and teacher effectiveness ratings due to sweeping changes to the assessment that took effect in the 2014-15 school year.

"Fixing our schools is my top priority, and part of improvement is having fair and consistent accountability standards,” Governor Wolf said “We must prepare students to be college and career ready in the 21st century, and we need accountability measures that ensure we are on track to do so, but we cannot over burden our students and teachers with measures that do not fairly account for performance or improvement.”

The SPP is a significant part of Pennsylvania’s obligations under the federal accountability system established by the ESEA. The SPP was first used in the 2012-13 academic year to provide students, families, school districts, and the general public with information to review the performance of Pennsylvania schools using a common measure. The SPP relies heavily on student scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), measuring both achievement and growth. The PSSA, administered in grades 3 through 8 in English Language Arts and math, was fully-aligned to the more rigorous PA Core Standards for the first time in 2015, and the results on the most recent assessment cannot fairly be compared to those in previous years.

The waiver means schools that administer Keystone Exams will continue to receive SPP scores. That means the only schools that administered PSSAs in 2015 that will have SPP scores will be those that also administered Keystone Exams. The Keystone Exams will be the only test used to help establish the SPP scores.

The 2015 PSSA was a brand new assessment, aligned for the first time to the new and more rigorous PA Core Standards, adopted by the State Board of Education in 2013. Performance level scores for the new 2015 PSSAs, adopted by the State Board in July, resulted in significant drops in student performance across the state.

“While it is critically important to hold our schools and educators accountable for student success, we must take care to do so with indicators that are fair and accurate,” said Secretary Rivera. “This year’s PSSA scores establish the new baseline from which we can most effectively measure student progress in future years.”

In the absence of SPP scores this year for most schools with grades kindergarten through 8, PSSA achievement scores will not be part of the evaluations of teachers and principals in these schools. Evaluations will continue to include student growth scores.

Secretary Rivera also noted that the pause in use of the SPP is part of a broader discussion regarding potential revisions to the SPP. Governor Wolf has directed PDE to consider how the tool could be adjusted to be a more comprehensive measure of school and student performance beyond single, high-stakes test performance.

In its approval of the one-year waiver, USDE noted the progress Pennsylvania has made toward improving students’ college and career readiness.

According to a press release, USDE said, “The state is taking important steps toward ensuring that every child has the opportunity they deserve but needs more time to make adjustments to its flexibility plans in order to fully meet its commitments. To that end, the state is receiving a one-year renewal while it continues finalizing its plans for the future.”

“Successfully measuring school performance is an important part of ensuring our students are prepared for the future,” said Secretary Rivera. “With a new PSSA baseline in place, we can ensure the SPP is an accurate, useful tool that helps educators, administrators, community members, and leaders evaluate schools’ progress and performance for years to come.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman, 717-783-9802



National Study Finds Pennsylvania's Funding Gap among Nation's Worst; Calls Disparity "Devastingly Large"

GRC Update 3-10-2015



Five Issues That Will Decide If the Era of No Child Left Behind is Really Over


March 15, 2015
Many public school educators may be surprised to learn that 535 members Congress and their staffs are deciding what teaching and learning will look like in the classroom over the next ten years. But that is exactly what is happening right now on Capitol Hill – the reauthorization, or rewriting, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – better known as No Child Left Behind.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. What kind of education will we be able to deliver to our students for the next decade? Will public schools exit the era of “test and punish,” “narrow curriculum,” “drill and kill” and enter a period characterized more by “opportunity for all” and a “well-rounded education”?

That all hangs on how these five critical issues are addressed – and whether the voices of educators over the next few weeks are heard loud and clear.
external image ?auth=co&id=32268&part=1.21. How Many Tests?
The number of federally-mandated standardized tests almost tripled over the past ten years. Harder to measure, however, is the intense stress felt by students and teachers from an accountability system based strictly on test scores. Whether Congress decides to preserve the one-size-fits-all annual federal testing structure or create a more flexible system for teachers and students is one of the most important questions being resolved right now on Capitol Hill. Less time spent on tests means more time to develop the types of assessments that will provide educators the most useful information to improve instruction and help students learn.
external image ?auth=co&id=32268&part=1.32. More Time for Teaching and Learning
The expression “teach to the test” didn’t originate with NCLB, but the law practically branded it on every classroom door in the country. The average teacher now spends about 30 percent of her work time on testing-related tasks, including preparing students, proctoring, and reviewing results. The hours and days dedicated to test prep and test-taking have drained the joy out of teaching and learning, which, according to a recent NEA survey,has driven almost half of teachers to consider leaving the profession.

external image ?auth=co&id=32268&part=1.4
//Click on the image and spread the word: Let’s hold states accountable for providing opportunity for all students./

3. Opportunity for All Students: Measuring the Important Things
In its relentless focus on measuring outcomes with test scores, NCLB failed to provide the resources to ensure that every student had the opportunity to learn and excel. As a result, achievement goals were never reached and teachers, students and schools were pilloried by everyone and anyone looking for a scapegoat. A new education law can set a better course by fostering greater transparency to parents and communities about the kinds of supports students truly need to learn and hold states accountable for providing the necessary resources and learning opportunities. This is why, when applying for ESEA funding, states should be mandated to report “opportunity dashboard” data. This includes student access to extracurricular activities, advanced placement courses, early education, school counselors and nurses and other indicators that can be used to attack inequity and the role of zip codes in determining quality of education.
external image ?auth=co&id=32268&part=1.54. Remember Arts, Music and Social Studies?
If Congress approves a bill that reduces the amount of, and high stakes attached to, standardized testing, time may be freed up to bring back subjects that have been sidelined during the NCLB era. Over the past decade, the presence of history, art, music, and physical education has diminished. Why? Because these subjects aren’t covered on standardized tests. High-poverty schools have been forced to narrow the curriculum much more drastically than wealthier schools—with worse consequences for low-income students. Regardless of socioeconomic background, every student should have access to a curriculum that fosters creativity and critical thinking—key skills that can’t be developed through rote memorization and no. 2 pencils.
5. Smaller Class Size and Professional Development
ESEA reauthorization isn’t all about the future of testing. Lawmakers are also debating what to do with Title II funds, which are dedicated to training and supporting teachers. Title II can also be used to hire more teachers and decrease class size. Congress is actually considering putting these programs on the chopping block by capping the use of Title II funds for reducing class size at 10 percent. During the 2013-14 school year, districts used 35 percent of their funds for this purpose. Unless this provision is protected, educator jobs will be lost and class sizes – especially in high-poverty schools– will increase, depriving countless students of valuable one-on-one instruction time.

Subject: Federal Flash: Your Weekly Update on Federal Education Policy in Five Minutes or Less

This week's "Federal Flash" focuses on three things:
  • New legislation pending before the U.S. Senate with ramifications for education
  • ESEA waiver proposals that are due from states at the end of the month
  • A preview of the education budget and appropriations process, which is just getting underway

Watch at https://youtu.be/mR0JXtr5x_g .
Federal Flash is the Alliance for Excellent Education's weekly video series on important developments in education policy in Washington, DC. In five minutes or less, it highlights what's happened in federal education policy this week and previews what to expect next week.

Alliance for Excellent Education, 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 901, Washington, DC 20036

Important Updated Information Regarding Reading Specialist Certification in PA

February 5, 2015

PDE Immediate Release for September 22, 2014
Acting Secretary of Education Announces Flexible Instructional Days Pilot Program for PA Schools

Click Here for details.

Government Relations is the legal information and law changes made dealing with literacy and education including PSSA, Keystones, and other state testing.

Check here for updates, files, and links of interest.

Need to know who your Legislator is? Find Your Legislator Here

Education Announcement
Please see letter for full details concerning this movement.

TO: Acting Secretary of Education, Carolyn Dumaresq and Christina Baumer, Division Chief Division of Professional Education and Teacher Quality Pennsylvania Department of Education ­ School Leadership and Teacher Quality
FROM: PA Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (PA AECTE)
Affiliate of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (http://naecte.org/)
RE: Division of Professional Education and Teacher Quality,*Email Update, June 2, 2014 “Certification by Adding On”, p.3 http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/chapter_49/8627/announcements/523438

The Pennsylvania Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (PA AECTE) stands in firm opposition to the new certification policies (Update June 2, 2014) that allow teachers with one PA certification to add another without further content study and age-group related field experiences.

Click Below for the:

KSRA Government Relations Page

Government Relations information is shared and provided by KSRA (Keystone State Reading Association).

BLM RC Government Relations Representative: Kim Deniker

See Below

The following is the Keystones to Opportunities, The PA Comprehensive Literacy Plan that is now in place.PDE SAS Comprehensive Literacy Plan

PA System of School Assessment (PSSA)

This site includes resource materials and individual student reports.

PSSA Testing Windows
English Language Arts – Grades 3-8 April 11-14, 2016
Mathematics - Grades 3-8 April 18-22, 2016
Science - Grades 4 and 8 April 25 – 28, 2016
Make-up: May 3-6, 2016

In 1999, Pennsylvania adopted academic standards for Reading, Writing,
Speaking and Listening and for Mathematics. These standards
identify what a student should know and be able to do at varying grade
levels. School districts possess the freedom to design curriculum and
instruction to ensure that students meet or exceed the standards' expectations.

The annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)
is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment used to
measurea student's attainment of the academic standards while also determining
the degree to which school programs enable students to attain proficiency
of the standards. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 3 through 8 and
grade 11is assessed in reading and math. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 5, 8 and 11 is assessed in writing.
Every Pennsylvania student in grades 4 and 8 is assessed in science.

Keystone Testing
This site includes summary reports and administrative materials.
Important Dates:
Keystone Exams Testing Windows – Algebra 1, Biology, Literature

Spring: May 16-27, 2016

Summer: July 27 - 31, 2015

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to
assess proficiency in the subject areas of Algebra I, Algebra II,
Geometry, Literature, English Composition, Biology, Chemistry, U.S.
History, World History, and Civics and Government. The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania's
new system of high school graduation requirements.
Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.Preliminary Keystone Exams Testing Window 2016-2017

Assessment Dates Winter:
Wave 1 December 4-16, 2016 Winter:
Wave 2 January 9-23, 2017
Spring May 15-26, 2017
Summer July 31-August 4, 2017

Preliminary Keystone Exams Testing Window
2017-2018 Assessment Dates
Winter: Wave 1 December 4-15, 2017
Winter: Wave 2 January 8-22, 2018
Spring May 14-25, 2018
Summer July 30-August 3,2018
Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content

This site includes Math, Reading-Language Arts, and Science Anchors and Anchor Assessment Toolkits
The Assessment Anchors are one of the many tools the PennsylvaniaDepartment of Education (PDE) has developed to better align curriculum,
instruction and assessment practices throughout the state. PDE first released the
Assessment Anchors for Mathematics and Reading in 2004.
The Assessment Anchors, like the Standards, are dynamic documents and will be adjusted periodically.

Features to Know about Eligible Content:

e.g. – The list is made up of examples but are not limited to those given
i.e. – The list is limited to those specific examples given
– a student can be assessed on all or just some of the elements in the Eligible Content
– the intent is to assess each element in the Eligible Content

New Test Question Types
Grades 3-8
  • Selected Response (SR) (multiple choice) – worth 1-2 points
Grade 4-8
  • Text Dependent Analysis
Essay Answer – worth four points
Scored with a holistic rubric

PA Core StandardsThis site links to the PA Department of Education and provides the implementation guidelines for the new standards.
The State Board approved the final Chapter 4 regulations on September 12, 2013. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved the final regulation on November 21, 2013. With publication of Chapter 4 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, the new regulations took effect on March 1, 2014.

As part of the new regulations, Pennsylvania’s Core Standards offer a set of rigorous, high-quality academic expectations in English Language Arts and Mathematics that all students should master by the end of each grade level. The PA Core Standards are robust and relevant to the real world and reflect the knowledge and skills our young people need to succeed in life after high school, in both post-secondary education and a globally competitive workforce.


Pennsylvania Teacher Effectiveness Rule 22 What the PA Code States: