March 13 — 12:00 am, 2003

Understanding Philadelphia’s tests

 Last summer, the School District of Philadelphia announced that it would be using a new standardized test to judge students’ academic performance starting in the fall. The new test, the TerraNova, replaced the District’s previous test, the SAT-9, which was retired by the testing company. The TerraNova is being given in the fall and spring this school year (and will be only in the spring in future years).

In addition to the TerraNova, students in Philadelphia public schools continue to take the state’s standardized test, the PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment), in selected grades. While these two standardized tests share some similarities, they differ in how they are designed, in what grade levels they are administered, in how scores are reported, and in how their results may be used to evaluate students and schools.

This guide is designed to help you compare the tests, learn more about some useful testing terms, and consider some of the pressing questions about standardized testing. See related articles, including a glossary of testing terms and frequently asked questions about standardized tests.

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