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York City School District postpones some state tests, others eye options

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
Shrewsbury Elementary School third-grader Christian Dozier works on a Flexible Instruction assignment at her home in Shrewsbury Township Friday, March 13, 2020. Students in the district were provided with daily Flexible Instruction packets originally intended to minimize the impact of snow days. Southern York County School District canceled classes Friday after a community member was tested for the virus. Bill Kalina photo

York City School District Superintendent Andrea Berry announced the district would postpone the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, or PSSAs, until May, following an option from the state Department of Education to delay standardized tests. 

Students typically take the PSSAs in March or April, and Berry said administrators thought it would be best to postpose the tests until May. Districts can delay state assessments up until this fall, but Berry said officials still wanted students to take the tests this school year. 

"We're still trying to iron out exactly how many days we can get in," Berry said. 

Berry announced the decision March 8 at a school board meeting.

Other state assessments, including the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment and the Keystone Exams, will proceed with the district's original dates, which fall between March and May, and May and June, respectively. Many other districts have not decided whether they will postpone assessments, and a few have already declared they will not delay any tests. 

More:To test or not to test (for now)? York County school districts mull options after state announcement

More:Some York County school districts delay standardized tests due to COVID-19 pandemic

The York City School District superintendent Dr. Andrea J. Berry recognizes 45 teachers as "Shining Star" teachers whose students exceeded academic growth expectations. This celebration is an opportunity to reinforce the districtÕs focus on academic growth as a measure of success in the classroom and the districtÕs commitment to high-quality instruction for all students. 
Monday, December 16, 2019 
John A. Pavoncello photo

The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced in February that schools could delay administering state assessment until the fall, citing challenges to teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last year, Pennsylvania canceled its remaining standardized tests for the school year after the COVID-19 pandemic caused schools throughout the state to close. State officials waived the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments requirement for students that year, and students scheduled to take the Keystone exams were marked as proficient. 

Officials from the Northern York County and Southern York County school districts confirmed Monday that they have not decided whether they will delay the assessments, but both said they hope to administer the tests this spring. York Suburban Superintendent Timothy Williams previously told The York Dispatch he also thought it was unlikely that his district would delay the tests. 

Eastern York Superintendent Joseph Mancuso confirmed Monday that his district would not postpone any state assessments. Dover Area School District and South Eastern School District officials previously told The York Dispatch that their districts also would not delay assessments. 

"Honestly, we don’t see the benefit of waiting two to three months to administer the spring assessments," South Eastern Superintendent Nathan Van Deusen said in an email.