Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From the Official PSSA Handbook

Student had a parental request for exclusion from the assessment: Section 4.4 of Chapter 4 provides for the right of any parents or guardians to excuse their child from the state assessment if, upon inspection of the testing materials, they find the assessment to be in conflict with their religious beliefs. This is the only basis for a parent or guardian to excuse his or her child from the statewide assessments.

Two weeks prior to each testing window, each assessment must be made available for review by parents and guardians. The assessment must be reviewed on school district property and district personnel must be present at all times. Districts must provide a convenient time for the review. This may include an evening review time, if requested. Proper security and confidentiality of the assessment must be maintained at all times throughout the review process. District personnel may remove the prompt seals from one copy of a writing booklet to facilitate a review of the writing assessment.

Parents and guardians must sign a locally prepared statement concerning the requirements of assessment security and confidentiality. A copy of this should be locally maintained. (It is not necessary to send this statement to PDE or DRC.) Parents and guardians may not photocopy, write down, or in any other manner record any portion of the assessments, including directions.

After reviewing the test, parents and guardians must provide a written request addressed to the Superintendent or Chief Academic Officer to excuse their child based upon religious conflict. The parents and guardians do not have to defend their religious beliefs, nor do they have to identify specific test content to which they object. Simply stating that they are requesting exclusion based on religious grounds is sufficient.

If the student is excused from the state assessment due to parental or guardian request, school personnel must provide an alternative learning environment for the student during the assessment and complete the “Non- Assessed Students” grid on the student’s answer booklet by marking “Student had a parental request for exclusion from the assessment.”

2011 PSSA Handbook for Assessment Coordinators (All Subjects) Page 12

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