By Heather Campbell
On Tuesday, March 20th, SLA Juniors began the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment testing.
While the content being tested will remain the same–Reading and Math in March; Writing and Science in April–this year’s process has changed from last year, mainly due to a cheating scandal within the Philadelphia School District.
Math Teacher Sunil Reddy, who is helping to manage the testing process along with Science Teacher Stephanie Dunda, stated that “There are some schools within the district who are suspected, but we are nowhere near that.”
However, SLA Juniors will still be affected by the tightened requirements and regulations.
“Some of the rules regarding proctoring changed,” explained Mr. Reddy. “So, primary teachers of students who are testing in the subject that those teachers teach them in are no longer able to proctor those tests, which schedule-wise made it difficult to schedule teachers because they couldn’t proctor those tests for those kids.”
Due to the new rule about teachers proctoring, the organisation of PSSA rooms and times had to be re-sorted. This year, rooms will be testing by streams rather than advisories, which has also minimized the number of rooms that needed to be proctored.
The teachers proctoring the PSSA’s also had to undergo special training, which included instructions on how to proctor tests, what they need to say to students, and also what they can’t say during testing.
There will also be officials from the school district appearing at SLA on certain days to monitor and check that everything is in order.
No cheating has occurred at SLA, nor has the school ever been accused of wrongdoing.
“We just want to make sure that we follow the rules as strictly as possible so we continue to have 100% in the clear name,” said Mr. Reddy.
As well as new rules regarding the PSSA testing, the Juniors will also have a new schedule for the next weeks of testing.
“Typically it’s the first four bands on the first days of testing. And then usually every day after that it’s the first three bands with any extended testing for anybody who is not done yet,” explained Mr. Reddy.
While SLA will have to go through the same process as every other high school in the Philadelphia School District, the juniors will not be allowed to leave after the test.
For Juniors, the PSSA test is a chance to get out of classes; for the school, it is a chance to show the school district how successful our students can be.
“We just want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible,” stated Mr. Reddy.