GUEST BLOG: Hear it From a Teacher: Reducing the PSSA Means Two More Days of Meaningful Education

By: Lorena Mitchell, 7th grade math teacher for the Pittsburgh Public Schools

August 21, 2017

On August 17, Lorena Mitchell, a 7th grade math teacher for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, joined Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera in announcing significant reductions to the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). Beginning this year, students and teachers in grades 3 through 8 will spend an average of 20 percent less time on statewide testing, which is equal to two more days of meaningful classroom education for some schools. As a teacher, here is what two more days of meaningful education could mean for Lorena Mitchell’s classroom.


As a 7th grade math teacher for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I am ecstatic that teachers voices are being heard when we speak in regards to the pressures that we put on our students and teachers who are plagued with an abundance of testing during the school year.

A reduction of 20% of testing time could equate to up to two full days that the classroom can be used to maintain structure and provide opportunities for our teachers to focus on educating students.

With an extra two day of classroom instruction, I could provide activities where students could develop their critical thinking skills and strengthen their team building by having them work on classroom adventures and projects.

As a middle school math teacher with a couple of extra days, I could collaborate with my local community members and have them share their knowledge with our students on being actively involved and provide additional programming around spending, saving, budgeting, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

With an extra two days, I could find ways to make my classroom less stressful and more fun. I want my classroom to be a classroom in which the middle school child would enjoy coming to every day.

I am excited that I finally may have an opportunity to allow my students to have more time for exploration, because they will spend less time worrying about testing.


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