PSSA and Keystone Exams
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, § 300.160 Participation in assessments, provides that a State must ensure that all children with disabilities are included in all general State and district-wide assessment programs, including assessments described under section 1111 of the ESEA, 20 U.S.C. 6311, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments, if necessary, as indicated in their respective IEPs.
In Pennsylvania, the general assessment used for federal accountability in grades 3-8 is the PA System of School Assessment (PSSA). Keystone Exams taken at the end of courses Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature are used as the 11th grade accountability measure. Most students with intellectual disabilities will participate in the PSSA and Keystone Exams with or without accommodations as determined by the IEP team. Both the PSSA and Keystone Exams are managed through the PA Department of Education, Bureau of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Each year, trainings, resources, and handbooks are provided regarding test administration and allowable accommodations. It is important to review annually the Accommodations Guidelines for the PSSA and Keystone Exams for any revisions and directions for unique accommodation requests.
Resources on the statewide assessments and accommodations are available at: