Editorial: Waiving the PSSA tests will relieve students and teachers


Throughout the duration of the 2020 – 2021 school year,  students and teachers all over the U.S. transitioned back and forth between many instructional methods. The new learning environments presented challenges for PSSA exams.


Due to the lack of a consistent learning environment, limited time for preparations and coping with the pandemic,  students shouldn’t be forced to take the upcoming PSSA tests.


The 2020 – 2021 school year challenged teachers when educating students in different models. Pennsylvania’s teachers slowed the curriculum because students needed assistance with assignments, technology and motivation. Test-takers are not as prepared as previous years. 


The PSSAs allow the federal education system to track every student’s understanding and performance in relation to the proficiency of academic standards. This year’s scores may be inaccurate because the acting education secretary, Noe Ortega, announced that the administering of the exams may be delayed until the the fall in order for more preparation. The announcement allows schools to conduct the PSSAs  after students return from summer break, which could possibly hurt scores. 


Taking the PSSAs will be challenging for a large number of students struggling with school this year. Adjusting to different learning environments, staying focused on virtual classes, completing school related assignments and spending long periods of time on devices created negative mental symptoms. Students are now progressing through exam preparations possibly adding more stress to their lives. Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will not use any results from testing in reviews of school district performances this school year.


Many believe the PSSA results for the 2020 – 2021 school year will be beneficial to compare previous student’s scores with current results. Though the results would give constructive material, the current students aren’t as prepared as past pupils. Different learning systems changed the speed at which youths were taught. Therefore, scores producing accurate results compared to past years may be skewed. 


Coronavirus difficulties led teachers to focus more on the health and overall well being of students. Giving a simplified exam version or canceling this year’s assessments would be a step in the right direction for all test takers.


Clearly, many students struggled and are currently struggling this year. Instead of inflicting unnecessary stress on students and teachers, omit testing for this school year.