Berks County PSSA Data

2014-2015 School Year


The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) standardized tests annually measure academic performance of public schools and districts.  The first year that tests are administered is 3rd Grade.  Individual student raw scores are broken into four performance categories:  Advanced, Proficient, Basic and Below Basic.  “Proficient” performance is considered to be performing “at grade level”.


With the recent adoption of the PA Common Core Standards, the annual Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA) tests were updated in Spring 2015. The PSSA test that assesses language and literacy skills is first given in third grade, and the new test was designed to be in alignment with the new standards and included increased writing elements. The state adopted these standards in 2013 in an effort to teach and measure more complex 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving and critical thinking. The tests are also heavier on writing. The “cut scores,” or passing levels, were changed significantly to reflect the new test. As a result, it was predicted that PSSA scores would significantly drop across the state, which happened. The PA Department of Education has indicated that the 2015 scores should be viewed as the new baseline for future comparison purposes.

How did Berks County third grade students perform on the 2015 PSSA English Language Arts test? Unfortunately, across the county, only 60% of all students scored as Proficient or better, which represents a 10% decrease from the previous year. The 40% who tested as being below proficient, represented over 1,900 students.

Ready.Set.READ! recognizes the greater challenge that it faces to achieve its goal of 90% Proficiency by 2023. However, it believes the current programs and activities that it has initiated since 2012 have had positive impact on participants. RSR will continue to partner with school districts to support struggling readers and will increase its efforts to support children and families from birth. Collectively, given enough time, all of the community’s efforts will ultimately produce early grade reading success for children in Berks County.


View Berks County PSSA Data