PSSAs & Keystone Testing » Faculty


Please review the information below pertaining to PSSA's and Keystones.  
Roles and Responsibilities
District Test Coordinator (DAC)
The District Assessment Coordinator is responsible for attending training provided by PDE. The DAC is then responsible for coordinating all training that takes place in the LEA and for determining specifics related to test administration such as a schedule, type of administration (paper/ pencil or online) and other LEA‐level administrative aspects of the testing.   Whereas the DAC is responsible for ALL training in the LEA, the primary training done by the DAC directly is for School Assessment Coordinators and LEA‐level staff who handle and/or have access to secure test material.
School Assessment Coordinators (SACs)
Every District Assessment Coordinator must train School Assessment Coordinators before the School Assessment
Coordinator can train the Test Administrators. The following topics must be included in the training:
a. The district assessment schedule
b. Directions in this handbook; emphasizing
     i) student participation;
     ii) requirements for completing demographic and accommodations information for all participating students;
     iii) barcode labels (every used answer booklet must have a label applied to the front cover);
     iv) required PAsecureID lists; and
     v) Test Security Certifications
c. Procedures for distribution and collection of assessment materials, including Test Tickets for online testers
d. Directions in the eDIRECT Test Setup User Guide, if testing online
e. Test Administrator training
f.  School Assessment Coordinator responsibility for the security of assessment materials
g.  Distribution of parent information
h.  A complete review of test security
i.  School Assessment Coordinators should be given ample time to distribute the Directions for Administration
Manuals (available in Shipment 1 and online) to Test Administrators and to schedule an orientation session
within the two weeks prior to the assessment window.

Additional information appears in Appendix B concerning the SAC responsibilities.
Test Administrators/Proctors
Any person who functions as a Test Administrator must complete the PSSA and Keystone Exams Test Administration
online training module at This interactive course is designed as an individual, one-to-one
training for Test Administrators and is a key component of the oversight that School Assessment Coordinators
are required to perform as outlined in this manual. School Assessment Coordinators must ensure that their Test
Administrators register and complete this training annually prior to administering the PSSA or Keystone Exams.
At least one week prior to the scheduled assessment dates, School Assessment Coordinators must conduct a training
session for Test Administrators and Proctors. Teachers, counselors, administrators, and paraprofessionals who meet
the following qualifications may be Test Administrators:
  • employed by the LEA
  • have completed the annual Pennsylvania State Test Administration Training (PSTAT)
  • trained by the School Assessment Coordinators annually
  • not prohibited from being a Test Administrator by the PDE or LEA
  • Student teachers may be present during the administration of the assessments as part of their professional
    experience; however, they may not be either Test Administrators or Proctors. In this training session, the following
    topics must be included:
    • Assessment Schedule—Be certain that Test Administrators and Proctors know the assessment schedule.
    • Administration Preparation—Test Administrators and Proctors must receive and study the Directions for Administration Manuals and the Handbook for Secure Test Administration (Appendix B) prior to training.
    • Students with Special Needs—Explain which students are to be included in the assessment and what special accommodations assessment conditions may be provided for these students (see “Participation Guidelines for All Assessments” starting on page 8 of this handbook).
    • Assessment Conditions—Remind Test Administrators and Proctors of assessment conditions of testing(e.g., a comfortable, quiet room) and a positive approach to the assessment.
    • Special Instructions—Remind Test Administrators and Proctors that all testers using paper of testing must use a No. 2 pencil when responding to the assessment. Also, if there is no student specific label, all demographic data must be coded using a No. 2 pencil prior to the assessment.
    • Electronic Devices—All unapproved electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, smartphones, smartwatches, cameras, etc.) are to be collected as students enter the testing site. To ensure students and parents/guardians are aware of this policy, school districts and schools should distribute the letter found in Appendix A to parents/guardians before testing. The consequences for using and/or having an unauthorized electronic device during the test administration includes:
      • the student must retake the assessment during the same administration testing window. For paper/pencil place a Do Not Score Label on the student’s answer booklet and re-test the student in a new booklet of a different form. For online, contact DRC at 1-800-451-7849. DRC will need to invalidate the assessment and reset the test prior to the student re-taking the test;
      • the unapproved electronic device will be confiscated and, in the presence and with the permission of the parent or guardian, the device will be reviewed to ensure that no information or material regarding the assessment is present;
      • any data (e.g., photos, images, text, etc.) that violate the security or integrity of the test must be copied and reported to the Department of Education immediately at 1-844-418-1651 or;
      • possession of an electronic device where the security or integrity of the test has not been compromised does not have to be reported to the Department of Education;
      • the student will be disciplined in accordance with LEA policy, and that discipline will vary depending on whether test material has been compromised; and
      • the parents and students may be responsible for the cost of replacing compromised items.
      • District personnel, school personnel, and students must understand that the integrity of the test cannot be compromised.
    • Use of Calculators —Except for the Non-Calculator section of the PSSA Mathematics assessment, calculators may be used for any part of the following assessments as long as the Pennsylvania Calculator Policy (Appendix C) is followed:
      • Remaining sections of the PSSA Mathematics assessment
      • PSSA Science assessment
      • Use of Dictionaries, Thesauri, Spell- or Grammar-Checkers—Ensure that all Test Administrators and Proctors are aware that the use of these items is not permitted on any section of the PSSA.
      • Note: As an accommodation for English Language Learners, word-to-word dictionaries that translate a native language to English (or English to a native language) without definitions or pictures are allowed on the mathematics and science assessments only.
    • Classroom Displays—Explain that only the General Description of Scoring Guidelines, Writer’s Checklists, and the mathematics formula sheets may be displayed in the testing room. The subject-specific scoring guidelines and formula sheets are printed as separate documents for easy student reference. They can also be found in eDIRECT and the PDE website at
    • Barcode Labels—Emphasize the important aspects of barcode label use for paper/pencil mode (see “Labeling Answer Booklets” starting on page 14 of this handbook).
    • Make-up Sessions—Clarify the school entity’s make-up procedures (see “Make-up Sessions” on page 39 of this handbook for complete instructions).
    • Scratch Paper—Remind Test Administrators and Proctors that scratch paper must be provided to students for use during the assessments. Blank graph and grid paper are allowed. All scratch paper must be removed from the answer booklets by the students. Collect all scratch paper at the end of each test session and return it to the School Assessment Coordinator to be destroyed. Test Administrators must collect all used scratch paper after the mathematics non-calculator portion in addition to collecting at the end of the session to ensure students have not recorded non-calculator items on scratch paper.
    • Response Space—Emphasize that students are limited to the response space provided in the answer booklets or in the online test engine (INSIGHT). Additional pages/booklets will not be scored.
    • Code of Conduct—Remind Test Administrators to review these requirements (Appendix D) with all students in advance of the testing day. Prior to starting the assessment, students will be required to indicate that they understand the Code of Conduct for Test Takers that was reviewed with them by their Test Administrators (or teachers). It is important that Test Administrators are prepared to answer any questions about the Code of Conduct so that all students can acknowledge their understanding of the requirements.
    • Security—Emphasize that all test materials, including test booklets, answer booklets, test tickets, and content in the online test must be kept secure at all times prior to, during, and after the assessment, and that completed booklets must be kept secure. To prevent any suspicion of testing anomalies, PDE strongly encourages school entities not to allow teachers to be Test Administrators and/or Proctors of their own students. As such, it is recommended that other teachers be used as Test Administrators and/or Proctors, or that a Proctor be in the testing room with the teacher if the teacher acts as the Test Administrator of his/her own class.

Additional information on the Test Administrator Responsibilities appears in Appendix B.