Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)
The annual Pennsylvania System School Assessment is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment which provides students, parents, educators and citizens with an understanding of student and school performance related to the attainment of proficiency of the academic standards. These standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology 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.
Every Pennsylvania student in grades 3 through 8 is assessed in English Language Arts and Math. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 4 and 8 is assessed in science.
Individual student scores, provided only to their respective schools, can be used to assist teachers in identifying students who may be in need of additional educational opportunities, and school scores provide information to schools and districts for curriculum and instruction improvement discussions and planning.
In compliance with §4.51(a)(4) of the PA School Code the State Board of Education approved, "specific criteria for advanced, proficient, basic and below basic levels of performance."
Getting Ready for the 2016 State Assessments
Getting Ready for the 2016 State Assessments (Webinar Recording)
Performance Level Descriptors and Cut Scores
English Language Arts Resources
The Braille PSSA Item Samplers are now available in contracted braille format.
Item Samplers for students who will take the PSSA in Braille format are available and will need to be ordered by contacting Ms. Cathy Nadberazny at the PaTTAN AIM Center by phone at 1.800.360.7282 extension 3317 or by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. If possible, please return the Item Sampler that includes tactile graphics. An envelope with a return address is being sent so that the tactile graphics can be returned. Please note that no new items have been added since the 2010 Braille Item Samplers were released last year.
The samplers can be accessed below and are in a braille-ready file (.brf) format which can be embossed locally. The tactile graphics are available in a PDF format which can be reproduced with appropriate equipment (i.e., tactile image enhancer or PIAF) and specialized paper. Please note that these files do not contain any new or additional sample items. They are provided for the convenience of any LEA who may want to emboss locally.
State Fiscal Stabilization Funds Information and Data
PSSA Individual Student Reports