Harrisburg, PA – Students are taking PSSA tests this week, but this is the first year in more than a decade that standardized testing has been cut back.

Governor Tom Wolf has reduced testing time for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment by as much as two days. Teachers say this gives students more time in the classroom for learning.

The changes came after parents, students, and teachers were concerned that too much focus was being placed on meeting test requirements instead of preparing kids for their future.

According to Jerry Oleksiak, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, before the changes, students had been spending more than 100 classroom hours a year on test preparation alone, while many are sacrificing things like art, music and elective courses.

“Things that our kids love, that keep them in school,” he said. “We need to focus on what we know works for our kids, and filling in bubble sheets on standardized tests do not do that.”

Listen to more quotes from Jerry Oleksiak.

PSSA testing for 2018 started yesterday, but next year it could start as late as April 25. There will also be fewer questions on the test. The English and math language skills portions have been removed, and they have cut down on the number of science tests.

Details about the PSSA reduction, the Future Ready PA Index, and Pennsylvania’s ESSA Consolidated State Plan are available on PDE’s website.

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