pssa tests

2022 PSSA Test Scores Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

November 29, 2022, Harrisburg Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) newly released 2022 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test score results show that our students have not recovered from the significant learning loss incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest test scores reveal that 77 percent of eighth-grade students are not proficient in math, and 44 percent are not proficient in language arts. This represents a 9.6 percentage point decline in math and a 2.3 percentage point decline in language arts proficiency rates since 2019.

Almost 160,000 more students—a 29 percent increase—participated in statewide testing this year compared to 2021, near the historical participation rate.

“Pandemic school closures—too often prolonged by government union executives—resulted in significant learning loss for our students,” said Nathan Benefield, the senior vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation. “These same union executives lobby for endless increases to education funding, earmarked for school buildings and bureaucrats.”

The 2022 PSSA scores declined from the already low levels despite Pennsylvania public schools receiving over $6.7 billion in federal pandemic aid. The state distributed $13.2 billion in funding to public schools in fiscal year (FY) 2021–22, an amount set to increase to a record $14.8 billion this fiscal year.

“Continual funding increase to unaccountable institutions has not helped our students,” Benefield added. “With half or more of all students left behind, it’s time we provide students with a lifeline to an excellent education.”

Benefield emphasized, “All students—especially those trapped in failing schools—deserve immediate alternatives. As a top priority for 2023, Governor-elect Josh Shapiro and the new legislature should give students direct access to funding and the educational options that best fits their needs.”

Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Stefanie Mason [email protected] or 414-418-5132 to schedule an interview.

# # #

The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.