September 26, 2016

PSEA President testifies against creating yet another standardized test for PA schools

PSEA believes that a good education cannot be reduced to one high-stakes standardized test – and that sometimes, this testing can stifle meaningful instruction.

PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak brought this message to a Sept. 26 joint hearing of the state House Education and Veterans Affairs Committees regarding House Bill 1858, legislation that would create a high-stakes standardized test on civic education as a graduation requirement. 

Jerry Oleksiak Testimony - Sept 2016

“We agree with state lawmakers that we can and should do more to meet the goal of increasing our students’ understanding of how government works and better prepare them to be engaged citizens in our democracy,” Oleksiak said. “We disagree that another test is the answer. 

“There’s no doubt that civics education is important, but adding another high-stakes test that could serve as a barrier for students to graduate – regardless of their performance and achievements throughout their academic career – does a disservice to the very students we are trying to engage.”

Read Oleksiak’s testimony here.

“HB 1858 needs to be considered as part of a comprehensive conversation around graduation requirements,” Oleksiak said. “We have too many standardized tests as it is. We don’t need another one.”

Earlier this month, Oleksiak testified against the state’s Keystone Exams and the impact of high-stakes standardized testing at a hearing of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Find a copy of that testimony here.

It’s time to change the culture of standardized testing

On average, students currently take 112 standardized tests between grades K-12.  

Testing Graphic - Hours

Learn more about PSEA’s efforts to improve the culture of high-stakes testing at


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