PSSA results show steep drop in math; 2015 test a lot harder

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Students have fared a lot worse on Pennsylvania’s new, more difficult standardized math test.

Statewide results show a decline of more than 31 points in the math test of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and a 9-point drop in English. The state education department released the results on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Pedro Rivera says the new PSSA exam is “fundamentally different.” He cautions against comparing this year’s scores with last year’s, saying it’s not an accurate indicator of student growth or academic achievement.

The most recent PSSAs were the first to test students on their mastery of skills based on Pennsylvania’s version of the Common Core. The new math standards are widely regarded to be more rigorous.

Some parents blame the lower scores on Common Core itself, saying it’s resulted in an unnecessarily convoluted and complicated approach to math instruction.

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