Shaler Middle School Principals and Dept. of Education Letters to Parents Regarding PSSA Testing for 2017

ATTENTION PARENTS AND GUARDIANS – The following letters from the Shaler Area Middle School Principals and the Department of Education contain information you need to know concerning the 2017 PSSA testing for this year.

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The students at Shaler Area Middle School have been preparing all year for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) Tests. The PSSA tests are used to measure how well a student is learning the academic standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. Students will take the PSSA tests throughout the month of April and May:

April 4 & 7, 2017 PSSA-English Language Arts

April 25 & 26, 2017 PSSA-Mathematics

May 3, 2017 PSSA-Science (8th grade only)

The encouragement and support that you provide will help your child achieve advanced and proficient scores on the Spring 2017 PSSA Test. Here are a few things to know about PSSA week:

  • It is very important that students are well-rested, eat a healthy breakfast, and arrive to school on time. This will ensure that they will be ready to do their best!

  • Students should bring two #2 pencils to the tests. Additional pencils will be available in the testing rooms if needed. We will provide scratch paper and highlighters (if needed).

  • There are a limited number of calculators available, so please provide your own during testing. Please note that iPads, phones, and other like devices are not permitted to be used as calculators on the PSSA.

  • Students are not permitted to bring their iPad, iPod, phones, Apple / smartwatches, or other electronic devices into the testing room. These devices should be locked in their lockers during the testing period. Please be aware that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has issued an electronic device policy due to an unprecedented number of issues during the statewide assessment. PDE requests that parents and students understand that the integrity of the test cannot be compromised.

  • Students should bring an appropriate novel and/or magazine to read for pleasure when they are done with testing. Per state regulations, written work/drawing/coloring is not permitted after testing.

If you have any concerns regarding the content of the test, please schedule an appointment with Mrs. Howard at 412-492-1200 x2500 to review any concerns. According to state regulations, “if after reviewing the test the parents/guardians find the test to be in conflict with their religious belief and wish their student(s) to be excused from the test, the parent/guardians must provide a written request that states the objection to the Superintendent.”

As we approach this final stretch to the test, we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the best possible results for the children at SAMS. Thank you for your cooperation and participation in the testing process.

Best wishes,

Martin J. Martynuska


Shannon M. Howard

 Assistant Principal

Testing Coordinator



Rules for using electronic devices during the PSSA testing this year are as follows according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education:

Dear Parent/Guardian:

In the era of cell phones, smart phones and other electronic devices which can easily photograph and instantly share photographs, confidential and secure test materials can be easily compromised. Not only is it expensive to replace a compromised test item, the material contained in the PSSA and Keystone Exams is copyrighted property of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Copying or duplicating the material from the assessment, including the taking of a photograph of secure assessment material, is a violation of the federal Copyright Act. Penalties for violations of the Copyright Act may include the cost of replacing the compromised test item(s) or fines of no less than $750 up to $30,000 for a single violation (17 U.S.C.§ 101 et seq.).

In order to ensure reliable test results and to avoid the cost of replacing test items, the Department of Education requires schools to set rules and take certain steps to protect test materials. Electronic devices such as but not limited to cell phones, smartphones, smartwatches, E-readers, Nooks, Kindles, iPods, tablets, camera-ready devices, and any other electronic device which can be used to photograph or duplicate test materials, access the internet and/or communicate with others during the administration of the PSSA or Keystone Exams are not permitted in any testing site. Please speak with your child and let him or her know that the possession and/or use of a cell phone or other electronic device during the administration of the PSSA or Keystone Exams will result in consequences.

You will be contacted by the school if your child is discovered using and/or having a cell phone or other electronic device in his or her possession during the administration of the PSSA or Keystone Exams. Students who ignore this directive will be subject to the school’s discipline policy and the Department of Education’s requirement that the student’s test will not be scored and the student will be required to retake the entire exam. The electronic device will be held by school staff, and the device’s stored photographs and other functions will be examined with your permission. You may request to be present when the electronic device is examined. If a photograph of the PSSA or Keystone Exam is discovered or if permission to search other functions of the electronic device is refused, the device will be held by the school staff. The Pennsylvania Department of Education holds the copyright to all material contained within the PSSA and Keystone Exams, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will be contacted and further action may be taken.

If, after testing is complete and test materials have been returned, it is discovered that a student used and/or had a cell phone or other electronic device in his or her possession during the administration of the test, the school’s discipline policy will be followed and the student’s scores will be invalidated.

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Handbook for Assessment Coordinators

DRC Customer Service 1-800-451-7849


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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard Glenshaw, PA. 15116 P 412-492-1200 F 412-492-1236
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