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Pennsylvania Department Of Education Considers Changes To Testing, Accountability Measures

The Pennsylvania Department of Education hopes to alleviate testing pressure on students and teachers as the state prepares an education plan in compliance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, a top department official told lawmakers Monday.

The Obama administration in 2015 replaced the No Child Left Behind Act with ESSA. The new law gives states more freedom to select measures used to determine whether a school is successful and strategies used to support low-performing schools.

ESSA still requires annual statewide testing in third through eighth grades, as well as once at the high school level across three subject areas. But the department hopes to use the opportunity to write a new state education plan to reduce the amount of time spent on standardized tests and to eliminate double testing for middle school Algebra I students, who must sit for the Keystone Algebra I exam as well as the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA, math exam, Stem said.