Shapiro says Pennsylvania will move all school standardized testing online in 2026

Educators are concerned that adding standardized tests onto students' responsibilities during the pandemic is too stressful.

By Associated Press

April 19, 2024

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said Thursday that his administration will move all standardized school assessment tests online in an effort to save more classroom time for instruction, create a user-friendly exam for students and relieve a burden from teachers and administrators.

Shapiro, in a news conference at Northgate Middle School just outside Pittsburgh, said about one-third of Pennsylvania schools already provide the tests online and that, in 2026, all schools will be required to administer the tests online, instead of through pencil-and-paper tests.

Students will be able to complete the tests more quickly, saving an average of 30 minutes per test. Teachers and administrators will be relieved of the burden of receiving, preparing, administering, boxing up and shipping back test booklets.

That will mean “less testing and more learning” in schools, Shapiro said. He said he would like to get rid of the federally required standardized tests altogether, but that would mean losing $600 million in federal aid.

Grades 3-8 take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment in the spring, and grades 9-12 take the Keystone end-of-course tests, also in the spring.

The online testing will be more interactive and better at matching how students learn, Shapiro said. It will use methods such as drag-and-drop and sorting and ranking. Those are skills that students practice in school and on their own, Shapiro said.

Such questions take less time for students to answer than the multiple choice and essays questions that are prevalent on pencil-and-paper tests, Shapiro said.

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