Curriculum leader to assist with PSSA science exam review
An Upper St. Clair School District teacher has been selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to participate on a PSSA Exam review committee. Pam Dillie, science curriculum leader and third grade teacher at Baker Elementary, will spend four days in Harrisburg this summer assisting with the review of the PSSA science exams.
Currently, PSSA science exams are administered to Pennsylvania public school students in grades four and eight each spring. Having served as a teacher for nearly 30 years and a science curriculum leader for five, Mrs. Dillie hopes to help evolve the exam from memory recall to analysis and interpretation.
“Science is a discovery and extensive thinking subject, not a memorization subject,” Mrs. Dillie said. “I would like to be able to help redesign the tests to evaluate the understanding of major science concepts, as opposed to recalling specific science facts.”
Upper St. Clair’s science curriculum is inquiry-based and spirals each year with increased complexity.
“We focus on the BIG IDEAS in science and I would like to see the PSSA science test improved to reflect this best practice,” she said. “When children can ask SIRI a question, I would rather see the students explain scientific principles.”
According to officials at DRC, each committee member has been carefully selected to represent diversity across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Serving on a committee is a serious commitment; it is also a very important professional development opportunity for educators.
“I’m looking forward to gaining a better understanding of how the tests are created and in the role of the Pennsylvania Department of Education in creating these tests,” Mrs. Dillie said. “I know it must be extremely difficult to create a test that is diverse enough for 500 school districts across the states with so many variables.”
In addition to serving on the PSSA Exam review committee, Mrs. Dillie plans to take a field trip during her time in Harrisburg.
“Even though I’m a Sarris chocolate fan-I hope to visit the Hershey Chocolate World while I am there!” she said.