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Department of Education reveals PSSA test scores from 2021-22 school year

Department of Education data reveals proficiency levels are down between two and 10 points in all subjects.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Testing numbers across the Commonwealth continue to fall short of pre-pandemic levels. 

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released its PSSA test scores from the 2021-22 school year. PSSA data from the 4th and 8th grades showed proficiency levels down between two and 10 points from 2019 to 2022 in language arts, math, and science.

In 4th grade, proficiency in English and language arts sits at 52.2% compared to 63.3% in 2019. In science, proficiency is at 73.7% compared to 77.8% in 2019. Math proficiency showed improvement, increasing to 42.3%. However, that still sits below the 46.2% mark set in 2019.

In 8th grade, language arts proficiency is at 55.6% compared to 57.9% in 2019. Science proficiency is at 51.1% compared to 58.2% in 2019. Math proficiency sits at 22.6%, which is nearly 10 points separated from the 32.2% mark set in 2019.

The lower tests continue to be an effect of the pandemic.

“It’s not terribly surprising," said Chris Lilienthal, a spokesperson with the Pennsylvania State Education Association. "We have seen this playing out in states all across the nation and it’s certainly playing out in Pennsylvania.”

Lilienthal says while test numbers are down, progress is being made to get students back on track, with many schools implementing new summer learning and after-school tutoring programs.

“All of that has been happening for the past six months and progress is being made," said Lilienthal. "But it’s being made in real-time, and we don’t necessarily see that when we look at a test from six months ago.”

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association added on with a statement, saying that meaningful comparisons to pre-pandemic PSSA scores are invalid, due to decreased participation.

Lilienthal says continued support from the state and school boards will be vital in helping students stay on track in the classroom.

“It’s going to be really important to keep investing in the programs that work, hiring the staff that students need to learn, and giving those students the opportunities, not just during school but after school," said Lilienthal.

Parents are also advised to talk with teachers about their child’s progress in school

“They may have simple things your son or daughter can do on their own time that will help close the learning gap and get them back on track in school," said Lilienthal.

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