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Assessment Resources

General Information

In recognizing that student performance will be benchmarked against state, national and international standards, as well as standardized achievement tests, the New Castle Area School District acknowledges that a system of assessment and evaluation of student performance can assist the students, teachers, and parents with the following:
  • regularly monitoring the students' progress in the successful acquisition of particular skills and knowledge.
  • providing aid in determining a student’s perceived ability or readiness to learn.
  • identifying academic weaknesses and strengths so that educators can provide specialized academic support.

PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment)

The PSSA tests are administered each year in the areas of math, reading, and science. Currently, students in grades 3 through 8 are assessed in reading and math, and student in grades 4 and 8 are assessed in science.

Keystone Exams

Keystone Exams are given to students at the High School and Junior High School levels. Keystones are end of course assessments given as students complete Algebra, Biology and 10th grade Literature. 
Keystone Exam Overview

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in the following subject areas:

  • Algebra I
  • Biology
  • Literature

Additionally, the Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania's new system of high school graduation requirements.


Students who need to re-take a Keystone Exam will do so during the Winter Wave, while students who are currently enrolled in Algebra I, English 10, or Biology will take the corresponding Keystone Exam at the end of the course during the Spring Wave.
  • Parent Confidentiality Letter if Reviewing Exam 
  • Procedures & Possible Consequences for Test Security Violations
  • NCASD Assessment System Policy No. 127
PSSA Overview
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is an annual assessment administered in commonwealth classrooms in grades 3 through 8, and in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Pennsylvania adopted more rigorous PA Core Standards in late 2013 and the 2015 PSSA marks the first time the assessment was fully-aligned to the standards. These new, more rigorous standards aim to better prepare students for the 21st century work force.
Assessment scores represent a snapshot in time of student performance, and should not be considered the sole indicator of student achievement. Standardized assessments, like the PSSA, help Pennsylvania meet federal and state requirements, as well as provide educators, stakeholders, and policymakers with important information about the commonwealth’s students and schools, and inform instructional practices. For more information visit the information found on PDE's website. 

The PSSA tests are administered in reading, math, writing, and science during the spring in the following grades:
  • Students in grades 3 through 8 are assessed in reading and math.
  • Students in grades 5 and 8 are assessed in writing.
  • Students in grades 4 and 8 are assessed in science.


*Click Here for the 2021-22 Assessment Calendar*

Helpful Resources for Students and Parents:


Keystone Exam Links/Resources
PSSA Links/Resources
Dr. Tabitha Marino
Assistant to the Superintendent
New Castle Area School District
420 Fern Street
New Castle, PA 16101

Phone: 724-656-4756 | Fax: 724-656-4767
© 2023. New Castle Area School District. All Rights Reserved.