What Is the Impact of the PSSA on College Performance?

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The PSSAs place a lot of pressure on students and staff alike.
The PSSAs place a lot of pressure on students and staff alike.

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is meant to test how well students in Pennsylvania public schools are keeping up with their required curriculum. Students who do well on PSSA tests tend to do well in college, but this may not be a direct result of PSSA scores.

  1. SAT Scores

    • A study conducted in 2003 by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) found evidence that students who do well on PSSAs also do well on the SAT and other assessments. SAT scores are a good indicator of what type of college a student will be accepted into. The higher the SAT scores, the more prestigious the college.

    Prediction of Performance

    • Another study by HumRRO compared the PSSAs with university placement exams that are designed to test a student's preparedness for college-level coursework. The study indicates that the PSSAs provide an accurate prediction of a student's performance during the freshman year of college. Students who perform well on the PSSAs often are ready for college-level work their first semester, while other students are catching up with what they missed from high school.

    Reflection of Study Habits

    • Both of the previously mentioned studies make note of the fact that students who do well on the PSSAs also tend to do well on other assessments, including GPA and course grades. This indicates that students who do well on the PSSAs already have good study habits and are at a proficient or advanced level of cognition when it comes to the state standards for their grade level. Therefore, it is technically more accurate to say that a student's academic performance has an impact on PSSA scores, rather than the other way around.

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