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Assessments and Graduation Requirements
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22 Pa. Code §4.51


Assessments and Graduation Requirements

DATE OF ISSUE:  November 1, 2002             


         The State Board of Education has determined that a certificate of Proficiency or Distinction will be developed by PDE to be awarded to graduating students who have scored in that manner on one or more of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments (PSSA).  And a certificate will be awarded to graduating students who score at a Proficient or Distinction level on all the PSSA tests. 


         Prior to graduating in 2002-2003, students must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics.  A school entity may choose one of two methods of determining whether a student has met the proficient level of achievement.  First, the school entity may choose to graduate students achieving proficiency on the PSSA administered in grade 11 or 12.  In the alternative, the school entity may choose to graduate students achieving proficiency on a local assessment aligned with the academic standards and the PSSA.


In the event that a school entity chooses to use a local assessment to determine whether a student is proficient, the local assessment must be included in the school entity’s strategic plan.  Local assessments may be a single exam or a combination of assessment strategies such as those described in Section 4.52(d) of the Chapter 4 regulations on Standards and Assessments.  There are no specific guidelines related to how a school entity is to determine proficiency on a local assessment, however, proficiency is expected to be comparable with proficiency on the PSSA.  Over time, the comparability or degree of alignment between the PSSA and a local assessment will be demonstrated via repeated administrations of the two assessments.  The existence of large numbers of students not achieving proficiency on the PSSA who are deemed proficient by a local assessment will strongly suggest that the local assessment is not aligned with the PSSA or the PSSA’s meaning of proficiency.  In the event that it becomes apparent that there is a disparity between the level of proficiency on local assessments and that of the PSSA, further regulation related to local assessments may become necessary.


         The amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 (NCLB), do not prescribe the use of academic assessments for student promotion or graduation purposes.  It is important to note, however, that demonstration of adequate yearly progress, required by NCLB to be defined by each state, in Pennsylvania is defined as including graduation rates at the secondary level.  Thus, the Department and State Board will need to be conscious of the extent to which the PSSA and local assessments impact graduation rates and statistics related to adequate yearly progress.





Purdon's Statutes


         24 P.S. Section §16-1611

         24 P.S. Section §16-1613


State Board of Education Regulations


         22 Pa. Code §4.13

         22 Pa. Code §4.51

         22 Pa. Code §4.52


Federal Statute


         20 U.S.C. §6301 et. seq.





         Bureau of Curriculum and Academic Services

         Pennsylvania Department of Education

         333 Market Street

         Harrisburg, PA  17126-0333

         Phone:  (717) 787-8913