New Study on the 11th Grade PSSA as Predictor of College Success in Comparison to the SAT and Three PA University Placement Exams
The State Board of Education expanded a study they commissioned last year with an independent, non-profit research firm, Human Resources Research Organization, (HumRRo), to investigate the validity of the 11th grade PSSA in relationship to other trusted measures such as the SAT and other local assessments (Terra Nova, SAT-10).
In that study HumRRo reported:
There is a high correlation between performance on the 11th grade PSSA and subsequent performance on the SAT. In other words, students who do well on the PSSA will in all likelihood do well on the SAT.
To read this initial report click on the link below.
In this recent expansion of HumRRo’s study they compared the 11th grade PSSA scores to Pennsylvania university placement exams. Placement exams are given to incoming college freshmen to determine if they are ready for credit-bearing college-level academic work in the core areas of math and English, or if they will need to take remedial courses.
The entire final report on this study is available on PDE’s website. Go to “Pre K-12 Schools”, then “Assessment,” then “Technical Analysis”.
Using common terminology, here are the three most important findings:
- A student who performs well on the 11th grade PSSA will in all likelihood perform equally well on the SAT and the college placement exams. (convergent validity)
- The PSSA will predict how a student will do in their first year’s college performance with the same accuracy as either the SAT or the university’s placement exams. (predictive validity)
- If a student is at proficient or above on their 11th grade PSSA, they have about a 90% chance of placing directly into credit-bearing, college-level course work their first term freshman year.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education encourages districts to use these findings to increase the college preparedness of their students by letting students and parents know about the results of this study. This will help them to have confidence that the 11th grade PSSA is as valid an assessment as others with which they are more familiar. This can also encourage students to use their PSSA assessments to inform them of their remedial needs which can still be addressed during the senior year, and before they are placed into remedial post-secondary courses. We will be investigating what policy implications these findings might have for increasing the alignment between K-12 and post-secondary expectations.