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The PSSA, or Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, is a series of standardized tests given to students to evaluate their understanding of math, reading, writing and science. Each student in grades three to eight and in grade 11 is assessed in math and reading. Students in fifth, eighth and 11th grades are also tested in writing, and students in fourth, eighth and 11th take tests in science. Because the test evaluates their understanding of material they should be learning yearly, the best and only way to prepare students for it is by heavy review and practice.

Step #1: Read PSSA Scoring Samplers

Pennsylvania's Department of Education has released valuable resource materials on the PSSA website. The "scoring samplers" are one of these resources. Basically, a scoring sampler is a document that includes sample questions that are relevant to each grade level (and for each subject). The sampler explains the correct answer for each question, as well as why the other listed answers are incorrect. This information is valuable for helping a child to prepare for the PSSA, as it can provide insight into where a student's understanding of a concept requires clarification.

Click for Scoring Samplers

Step #2: Use PSSA Anchors and Glossaries

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has also provided an "anchor" and and "anchor glossary" for each grade level and subject tested. Basically, the anchor is a document that lists all of the eligible material a student can be tested on within each subject. The anchor is then followed by example questions. The anchor glossary is a list of all of the vocabulary or terms that a student should be familiar with in each subject, according to grade level. This is a great tool to use in reviewing or studying for an upcoming PSSA, as it specifically defines what a student is expected to know and consequently, what the student will be tested on.

Click for Anchors

Step #3: Use a Practice Test

One excellent way to prepare your student for the PSSA is to have them take a practice test that uses the same format and covers the same material as the actual exam. Not only will this help the student to feel calmer and more confident when they sit to take the real PSSA, they will have a better idea of what concepts or subjects they need to work on.

Standardized Test Preparation for Teachers

Assessment Test Resources: Practice tests and questions by grade level

Math Practice By Grade Level and Concept

Basic Math Skill Practice

Reading Comprehension Practice By Grade Level

Language Arts Practice By Grade Level


Refer to our P.S.S.A. Prep link at your left to access more information including practice tests, testing dates, and websites that can be utilized to prepare for the upcoming exams.


PSSA Parent Letter

PSSA Parent Information

PSSA Cell Phone Guidelines