State Assessments » Background


PSSA and Keystone Exams

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is an annual assessment administered to students in grades 3rd-8th. Students are tested in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science.

Assessment scores represent one piece of the student’s performance, and should not be considered the sole indicator of student achievement. Standardized tests like the PSSA help Pennsylvania meet the federal and state requirements, as well as provide educators and policymakers with important information about students and schools, to formulate best practices.

Keystone Exams

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the Algebra, Biology, and English Language Arts. These assessments are given when a student completes the course. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards and career and/or college readiness guidelines.

For more information, please go to the PA Department of Education PSSA website: or
Keystone website: