Parents of the 72 Russell Elementary School students whose Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests were lost in transit have been invited to an informational meeting Thursday night at Paxon Hollow Middle School.
The moms and dads initially learned of the mix-up last week by phone, then received an email from Marple Newtown School District Superintendent Dr. Carol Cary. According to the email, the district learned that “through no fault of its own,” math tests taken by the affected students were misplaced while being shipped by UPS between the school and Data Recognition Corp (DRC), the commonwealth’s assessment vendor headquartered in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The correspondence also included a letter from Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro Rivera.
According to DRC, the box was last tracked to a UPS hub near the company, but UPS never delivered it and is unable to locate it. DRC receives and processes more than 63,000 boxes annually for the Pennsylvania program and the situation was the “first and only case” of a missing box between the company and UPS, it said in a letter to Cary.
Administered in language arts, math and science and technology, the PSSA is an annual standards-based assessment that identifies what a student should know and be able to do at varying grade levels. Every student throughout the state in grades three-eight is tested in the first two categories, with the latter subject added in grades four-eight.
Individual student scores can be used to assist teachers in recognizing students who may be in need of additional educational opportunities. School scores provide information to schools and districts for curriculum and instruction improvement discussions and planning, according to the PDE website.
Parents were provided with a phone number and email address for district solicitor Mark Sereni and the phone number for PDE to address any immediate concerns.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the school, 815 Paxon Hollow Road, Broomall.