Promising Improvements in 2022-23 PSSA and Keystone Exam Results
November 10, 2023
Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,
Today, I am pleased to share some positive news regarding our 2022-2023 PSSA and Keystone test scores. On November 8, 2023, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released the results of the 2022-2023 school year Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and Keystone Exams. The District saw improved student test scores in 13 out of 17 areas for students in grades 3-12, including increases in Proficiency and reductions in Below Basic.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires Pennsylvania public school students to take two types of standardized assessments: the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) (or the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) for students with disabilities) in grades 3-8, and the Keystone exams in grades 8-11, upon completion of specific courses. Third through eighth grade students take the PSSAs in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Students in fourth and eighth grade are also tested in Science. See below for key PSSA and Keystone highlights:
- The percentage of grades 3 through 8 students who scored Proficient or Advanced increased by 4.2 percentage points from 16.5% in 2021-22 to 20.7% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of grades 3 through 8 students who scored Below Basic declined by 4.9 percentage points, from 61.7% in 2021-22 to 56.8% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of grade 3 students who scored Proficient or Advanced increased by 5.7 percentage points from 20.8% in 2021-22 to 26.5% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of grade 3 students who scored Below Basic also declined by 6.9 percentage points from 58.9% in 2021-22 to 52% in 2022-23.
PSSA English Language Arts
- The percentage of students who scored Proficient or Advanced in grades 3 through 8 remained stable at around 34%.
- The percentage of grade 3 through 8 students who scored Below Basic declined by 1.8 percentage points from 28.2% to 26.4% between 2021-22 and 2022-23.
- The percentage of grade 3 students who scored Proficient or Advanced increased by 2.9 percentage points from 28.1% in 2021-22 to 31% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of grade 3 students who scored Below Basic on the PSSA ELA declined by 6.6 percentage points, from 38.2% in 2021-22 to 31.4% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of students who were proficient in Science increased 3.1 percentage points from 37.1% in 2021-22 to 40.2% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of grade 3 through 8 students who scored Below Basic declined by 2 percentage points from 35.6% to 33.6% between 2021-22 and 2022-23.
- The percentage of 11th grade students who scored Proficient or Advanced in Literature increased by 6.3 percentage points from 47.6% in 2018-19 to 53.9% in 2022-23.
- The percentage of 11th grade students who scored Below Basic declined by almost 5.2 percentage points from 43.2% in 2018-19 to 38% in 2022-23.
Additionally, the percentage of eligible 12th grade Career and Technical Education (CTE) students who scored competent or above on an industry-aligned National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) test increased from 43.4% in 2021-22 to 49.1% in 2022-23, an increase of 5.7 percentage points. PDE requires NOCTI as an industry-based assessment for CTE.
Our students’ academic progress aligns with the steady improvement of our supporting goals: safety, student attendance, teacher attendance, dropouts, and the graduation rate. Specifically, we increased the number of safe pathways from 6 in 2021-22 to 13 in 2022-23, increased student regular attendance by 3 percentage points from 57% in 2021-22 to 60% in 2022-23, increased teacher regular attendance by 7 percentage points from 77% in 2021-22 to 84% in 2022-23, and decreased student dropouts by 265 students from 2021-22 to 2022-23, while ensuring that 86% of 12th grade students met new state graduation requirements.
The academic strides your children are making are a direct reflection of your invaluable involvement. These positive results are proof that our collective hard work is truly making a difference.
Thank you for choosing the School District of Philadelphia for your child’s education. We look forward to working with you as we continue to prepare our students to imagine and realize any future they desire.
Tony B. Watlington Sr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia