BASD superintendent ponders the point of PSSA testing this year

Written by on April 16, 2021

BASD superintendent ponders the point of PSSA testing this year

By Brittany Sweeney

April 16, 2021

Photo by CDC from Pexels

As of April 13, elementary students in the Bethlehem Area School District are back in class four days a week more than a year after the pandemic began. 

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Superintendent Joseph Roy says the decision to resume in-person learning came after weighing factors like health, safety, academics and the social-emotional toll.

Roy also sent out a letter to parents this week about standardized tests, particularly the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) testing,  which parents can choose to opt their children out of this year.

That’s what Roy plans to do for his own kids. 

“I’m not going to have them sit for the test when it makes them anxious. I know that, particularly for my fifth grader. There’s no useful information that’s going to come to me as a parent or an educator,” he says. 

This year, the tests can’t measure how much students have learned, he says. 

“Tests are designed for specific purposes and these tests were designed to assess student learning over a full complete school year. So, the test doesn’t match what happened this year,” Roy says. 

Parents who do not want their children tested need to email their school principal by April 30.

Roy also says it does not look like students in grades 6 through 12 will return to more in-person learning this year, as the COVID case count in Northampton County continues to climb.

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