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Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

Waivers Submitted to USDE​ 

Science Assessment Waiv​​er Request

  • ​​​Public comments will be accepted in response to the following waiver request for 30 days, from March 18, 2024, through April 16, 2024. Comments can be sent by:
    • Email at; or
    • Mail at
      PA Department of Education       
      Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
      Division of Assessment and Accountability
      607 South Drive, Harrisburg PA 17120

Summary - PDE is requesting a one-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) of certain Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 (ESEA) requirements in order to support the development of a new science assessment aligned with new Pennsylvania science content standards. The Pennsylvania State Board of Education ratified updated science standards during the 2022-23 school year, to take effect in 2025-26.

Pennsylvania proposes to administer a census field test of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSAs), covering new science academic standards in spring 2025 for all eligible students enrolled in grades 5 and 8. This field test will serve to realign Pennsylvania's assessment to the newly adopted science standards and transition the assessment system from grade 4 to grade 5. The grade 11 Keystone Exam will continue to be administered as usual in 2024-25, with an embedded field test used to aid in the transition to the new content standards in 2025-26.

Pennsylvania proposes not to administer the current general science assessments and not report individual field test results to parents, educators, or the public during the 2024-25 school year. Correspondingly, Pennsylvania requests a one-year waiver for the PA Alternate System of Assessment Dynamic Learning Maps (PASA DLM) for spring 2025 for grade 5.

Read the full Science Assessment waiver request​ (PDF)