The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is a standardized test administered to public schools in the state of Pennsylvania. Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11 are assessed in reading skills and mathematics. Students in grades 5, 8, and 11 are assessed in writing skills. Students in grades 5, 8, 11 will also be assessed in skills relating to natural science, primarily in the field of data interpretation and analysis.
There are reporting categories for each subject which list eligible content to be tested in each grade. Assessment Anchors specify what is considered eligible content for each grade level tested. A Proficient or Advanced level is needed to be able to qualify as passing the PSSA.
Mathematics General Scoring Guidelines
Saturday, June 2, 2012
PSSA released test, PSSA practice test Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) | PSSA released test, PSSA reading, math, and science practice test Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11. Use the PSSA Tests below to prepare for the math, reading and science 2012-2013 test. The PSSA reading, math and science are standardized tests given to Pennsylvania students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 11.
Mr. Taylor's Student Friendly Reading | Grammar and ELA Glossary
Atlas A book of maps or a book of tables, charts, pictures on one subject.
Mr. Taylor has a world atlas in his classroom.
Abbreviation A shorter form of a word or phrase, i.e. AZ for Arizona.
The abbreviation for the United States of America is U.S.A.
Adverb A word that modifies a verb by identifying time, place, speed, etc.
Quickly is an adverb in the sentence "Jose quickly finished his homework. "
Antonyms A word opposite in meaning to another word.
Cold is the antonym of hot.
Apostrophe The mark used to show a letter or letters have been left out of a word or phrase or to show ownership. Example of letters left out: You've is short for "you have" and an apostrophe shows that "have" is missing two letters.
Example of ownership: Mr. Taylor's class reads several books each year.
Example of ownership: The apostrophe in the sentence "Mr. Taylor's class reads several books each year." shows the class belongs to Mr. Taylor.
Bias One meaning of "bias" is to like or dislike one thing over another.
Claudia has bias for chocolate over all other candy.
Chronological order To arrange events in the order they occurred.
In chronological order, our class has computer lab on Monday, music on Tuesday, gym on Wednesday, library on Thursday, and art on Friday.
Complete sentence A complete sentence includes at least a subject and a verb.
"Claudia ran." is a complete sentence.
Context clues Words, phrases or sentences around a new word that helps the reader make a logical guess about the meaning of the new word.
Use context clues to figure out what a new word means.
Contraction A word or phrase shortened by leaving out one or more letters or sounds.
"You'll" is the contraction of "you will."
Compound word A compound word is made when two words are joined to form a new word. The words "shoe" and "string" are joined to form the compound word "Shoestring."
Biography The history of a persons life. If you become famous, someone will write your biography.
Describe To tell or write about something. Please describe your backpack.
Declarative A sentence that makes a statement. "The earth is round." is a declarative sentence.
Dictionary A book of alphabetically listed words with their meanings and other information. Students need a dictionary when they go to college.
Exclamatory A sudden, angry outcry; to cry out; shout; or speak suddenly in surprise, etc. "Lillian, be quiet! shouted her mother is an exclamatory phrase.
Fact Something that really happened; truth; actuality; things as they exist.
It is a fact that the moon revolves around the earth.
Fairy tale A fairy tale is a type of short story with fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments.
The story "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a fairy tale.
Folk tale A story or legend originating and traditional among a group of people (folk = people), especially one forming part of the spoken tradition of the everyday people.
The stories about Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are folk tales.
Interrogative Asking a question. "Do you like chocolate ice cream?" is an interrogative.
Index One meaning of "index" is an alphabetical list of names, subjects, etc., together with page numbers where they can be found--usually placed at the end of a book.
In this book, the index says there is information about the moon on pages 31 and 73.
Instructions Education; teaching; lessons or a list of steps to be followed to complete an assignment. (1) Every teacher at Rio Vista gives instructions to their students. (2) It is hard to use a TV remote without reading the instructions.
Main characteristics The most important things that identify a person, plant, object--or anything in the universe. The main characteristics of most cars are four wheels, a body where the driver and passengers sit, a steering wheel, an engine, and headlights and taillights.
Nonfiction Books and stories which only include real people, animals, plants, science, events, etc. A book about birds in Tucson is a nonfiction book.
Main idea The main idea of a passage or reading is the the most important thought or message. (In contrast to the term topic, which refers to the subject under discussion.)
The main idea of Mr. Taylor's instructions is that it is important to follow directions.
Mmulti-meaning words Words which have more than one meaning.
Multi-meaning words will have the different meanings listed and numbered (1, 2, 3, etc.) in the dictionary.
Opinion A person's belief based on what seems true, or probable; a person's judgment.
Many people have the opinion that French cooking is the best in the world.
Organization A group of persons organized for some specific purpose, such as a club, business, team, etc. The Rio Vista band is an organization of students with an interest in music.
Personal narrative A story that tells a story based on a personal experience of the writer. Jasmine wrote a personal narrative about a trip to visit her grandmother.
Plural More than one of something. The plural of bone is bones.
Plot The arrangement of the main events in a book, story, poem, or film, also known as the "story line." The plot of most mysteries starts with a murder.
Point of view A way of viewing things; an attitude or the position from which something is observed or considered; a standpoint. It is Mr. Taylor's point of view that students must be held responsible for completing their work.
Possessive The form of a word that shows ownership. The possessive form of John is John's. For example, to say John owns the airplane, you would say "It is John's airplane."
Predicate In a sentence, the verb (action word) or the verb and words that describe the verb. "Runs fast" is the predicate in the sentence "Magalia runs fast."
Prefix A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.
In the word "unhappy," "un-" is the prefix.
Prefixes Prefixes are placed at the beginning of words to change their meanings.
The prefixes we will see often are "pre-" (before), "post-" (after), "un-" (opposite of), "anti-"(against), "hemi-" (half), "non-" (absence of), "out-" (exceeding), "trans-" (across), etc. The sentence "John was unhappy in preschool" has two prefixes.
Punctuation (commas) Special marks in sentences or phrases that make the sentences or phrases easier to understand. Some common punctuation marks are: . , ' ; ? !
The comma ( , ) tells where to pause or take a breath.
Root word A word that can start to build the meaning of many words. "Corn" is the root word of : popcorn; cornflower; cornmeal; cornbread; and cornmeal: all the words mean something about corn.
Run-on sentence A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses (i.e., complete sentences) are joined without appropriate punctuation ( ; ) or a conjunction (and, for, nor, but, or, yet and so). "Sydney and Sabrina were in the band Sydney played the saxophone Sabrina played percussion" is an example of three run-on sentences.
Introduction The introduction is at the beginning of a story and it tells you what the main idea(s) will be; it lets you "meet" the main idea. An introduction to your teacher lets you meet.
Singular In grammar, the form of a word that says there is only one of something.
In the sentence "There was only one Juliana in the class, but there were two Gabriels," Juliana is singular and Gabriels is plural.
Sign The word "sign" has many meanings. Among them are: to write your name (signature); a symbol with a specific meaning ( $ meaning dollars); and hand gestures that give information (sign language). When you vote in any election, you have to sign your name. story elements (character, setting, plot) The who, what, where and why--the parts that make up a story. In Harry Potter, the main characters are Harry, Hermione, and Ron; the setting is Castle Hogwarts; and the plot is to learn to be wizards and keep Harry safe from Voldemort.
Schedule The way things are planned to happen in our lives, schools, or work.
Sometimes Mr. Taylor's class schedules a trip to the gem and mineral show in February.
Subject The person, place or thing that does the action in a sentence. In the sentence "Michael finished his report before lunch," "Michael" is the subject, and "finished" is the action (verb).
Suffixes Letters or syllables added to the end of a word to change its meaning.
Suffixes such as "-ish" and "-er" can be added to the word "small" to change its meaning to smallish and smaller.
Summarize To state briefly; to shorten to its most important parts. Mr. Taylor asked us to summarize the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcery’s Stone.
Supporting details They come after the topic sentence, making up the body of a paragraph. What do they do? They give details to develop and help the reader better understand the topic sentence (main idea). If your topic sentence is "Harry Potter has a special wand," you could add supporting details about the wand, such as where he got it, what it's made of, and why it's a special wand.
Synonyms Different words that have the same meaning. Synonyms of "bend" are curve and twist.
Verb (types and functions) A word that in a sentence that tells you the action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand). In the sentence "Anthony ran his race and is now standing next to the track," "ran" (the action) and "standing" (state of being) are both verbs.
Acronym A word that is made by putting together parts of other words.
The word "radar" is an acronym that was built from "radio detecting and ranging"
( "ra + d + a + r" ).
Adjective A word or phrase that modifies (describes) a noun. The word "brilliant" is an adjective in the sentence "Yatzari is a brilliant student". "Brilliant" describes the noun "student".
Adverb A word that Modifies (describes) a verb. "Suddenly" is an adverb in the sentence "Anthony suddenly remembered his homework assignment". "Suddenly" describes the verb "remembered."
Almanac A book that gives useful information about a particular subject; sometimes published in a month-by-month order. For example, a gardening almanac might tell when to plant different flowers and vegetables.
Analogy A phrase or sentence that shows how different things may be alike in some ways. "A human heart is like a pump" is an analogy. The heart and pump are alike in one way: they each pump something.
Anthology A book that is a collection of different writers' works (essays, stories, poems, etc.). "Mr. Taylor had so many interesting stories to tell. One day he was going to publish his collection as 'An Artist's Anthology.' "
Antonym word that has an opposite meaning. An antonym of "hot" is "cold"; an antonym of "fast" is "slow".
Aphorism A short, clear, wise statement that tells an opinion or a saying that many people believe is true. An aphorism about a famous musician is the sentence "Irving Berlin has no place in American music - he IS American music." audience (as listeners and readers) A group of people that gather to see or hear a performance - when the performance is an "out-loud" reading, the performers are the readers and the audience are the listeners. For example: "Mr. Taylor and Maria were taking turns reading 'The Chamber of Secrets' to the class. The audience was very quiet as the readers reached a scary part of the story."
Author's purpose The reason for writing - to inform, to question, to entertain.
"Fernando worked hard on his first prompt. His author's purpose was to entertain his readers with his funny story."
Autobiography The story of someone's life, written by that person. "Mr. Taylor had given the students their first assignment of the year: a one-page autobiography."
Bibliography A list of the books and materials consulted; appearing at the end of the text. "Leslie was sure to include her bibliography at the end of her science report."
Brochure A booklet or pamphlet that describes a subject; often an advertisement.
"Mrs. Kuhn carefully read the brochure that announced the opening of the University Science Fair."
Caption A short description or title of an illustration in a text. "Gloria had written the caption ' What I Want to be When I Grow Up ' under her drawing of a jet pilot ."
Category A set of things that are grouped together because they have something in common. "Eric had lots of homework to do. Which category would he start with? Reading, Writing, Science, Math ...? "
cause/effect characteristics Cause is the action that makes something happen; Effect is the something that happens. "Sarah knocked over a glass of water onto her homework pages. Knocking over the glass was the cause of soaking her homework. Wet homework was the effect of knocking over the glass."
Conclusion The part that brings something to an end OR a decision that is made after looking at all the facts. "Andrew thought the conclusion of ‘Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets‘ was really exciting!" "After much thought, Anthony came to the conclusion that the answer to the long division problem was '286' "
Conjunction A connecting word that links sentences or words ("and", "or", "if", "but" ...). "David and Jose wanted to talk to Gage or Sam before school, but the bus was late."
Conjunctions in this sentence were "and", "or", and "but".
Contest An organized test among entrants to find out which is best at doing something.
"On Tuesday there was a contest between the two fourth grades to see which class was best at playing cricket."
Conversation A talk with someone. "Mrs. Kuhn would have a conversation with the "Wheels in Motion" people to learn whether their contest would come to Rio Vista this year."
Diary A book of a person's daily happenings and thoughts. "George Washington's diary was full of interesting things that happened before the United States became a nation."
Double negatives Using two negative forms together in a phrase or sentence; not good English. "I won't never use double negatives when I write a story!"
Drama Works written for performance on stage, television, or radio; usually serious subjects and manner of performance. Sometimes anything that is not a comedy is called a drama. The book “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was dramatized into a movie.
drawing conclusions Reaching a conclusion, or a final decision, about something.
"After Mr. Taylor sees the results of the test, he will be drawing conclusions on on the next homework assignment."
Encyclopedia A reference book or set of books giving much information on all areas or specialized areas of knowledge. "Jade, did you find 'Mount St. Helens' in the encyclopedia?"
Fable A make-believe short story that teaches a moral, especially with animals as characters. In the fable “The Tales of Peter Rabbit“, a young rabbit has adventures and learns about the world.
Genre A category of artistic works, based on form, style or subject matter.
For example, a detective novel is a genre of fiction.
Noun A word (or group of words) that names a person, place, or thing.
The sentence "Ellie quickly gathered up her books to fill her backpack ,"
contains three nouns.
making inferences Reaching a conclusion or decision from facts and reasoning.
"Hector and Alexis were making inferences on the cost of their field trip by adding up their lunch expenses."
Outline A rough plan of a written work or speech; a list of main points or features to be covered. "Mr. Taylor's drew an outline of his chapter on the smart board."
Possessive nouns Persons, places, or things that show ownership.
In the sentence "Sally’s car is with yellow stripes," the possessive noun is "Sally's" .
Preposition A relation or function word that connects a noun or pronoun to another part of a sentence ( "in", "by", "for", to", etc.). In the sentence "Steven hit the ball and ran for first base," the word "for" is a preposition that joins "first base" to the rest of the sentence.
Pronoun A word that may be substituted for a noun ("I", "you", "them", "who", "ours", "he", "she", "anybody", etc.). "Adriana has been working hard on long division, and it has been worth the effort because she scored high on her math test!" The three pronouns in this sentence are "it", "she", and "her".
Proofread To check written work for errors and mark the changes to be made.
"Pedro just needed to proofread and correct his 'Read and Response' chapter, and he would be finished."
sentence fragment Words that do not form a complete sentence of subject and verb.
"Mr. Taylor for the first time." is a sentence fragment because it has no verb.
simple predicate The verb or action word of a sentence or phrase, without words that modify the verb. "Ran" is the simple predicate of the sentence "Monique expertly ran the cotton candy booth for the Rio Vista's Fantasy Fair."
Simile A figure of speech that compares two different things (often with "as" or "like") .
"Red as a beet" is a simile in the sentence "Tim's face was red as a beet."
simple subject The subject of the verb of a sentence, without words that modify the subject. In the sentence "The shiny spotted horse frisked around the pasture," the word "horse" is the simple subject.
Synonym A word that means the same, or almost the same, as another word.
The word "scholar" is a synonym for "student".
Alliteration Repeating the same sounds at the beginning of words for two or more words in a row. Many men may meet monthly. Girls gladly go gliding.
Caption (identify) A title, short explanation, or description accompanying an drawing or a photograph, or words on the bottom of television or movie.
The caption under the picture read: "Mr. Taylor's 4th grade, 2011-12."
Comparative A form of an adjective or adverb which compares one thing to another.
He is taller than his father. There is less water in Arizona than in Louisiana.
Coordinating conjunctions connect words, phrases, and clauses. The bowl of cereal is hot and delicious. (The coordinating conjunction is "and.")
Excerpt A passage, quotation, or segment taken from a longer work, such as a literary or musical composition, a document, or a film. Mr. Taylor's Eclectic Spelling Book has excerpts from many books and poems.
Fiction Books and stories that come from the imagination of the writer. Novels, short stories, detective mysteries and science fiction are fiction.
Foreshadowing is the use of hints or clues to suggest what will happen later in the story. There are many examples of foreshadowing in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Glossary A list at the back of a book that explains or defines difficult or unusual words and expressions used in the book. Nearly all the science books used at Rio Vista have a glossary in the back.
Graphic organizer A graphic organizer is a you can use to help you plan what you're going to write. Mr. Taylor does everything he can to get students to organize their thoughts using a graphic organizer before they start a writing.
Homonym (also called a homophone) Words that are spelled and pronounced the same way, but have different meanings. The metal lead and the verb lead are homonyms.
Hyperbole Extreme exaggeration or overstatement, especially in written work.
Adalberto used hyperbole when he told the class the fish he caught was big as a shark.
Idiom An accepted expression in a given language that is not grammatically standard or cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual constituents.
She heard is straight from the horse's mouth is an example of an idiom.
Interjections Words, exclamations or phrases inserted into a sentence, often expressing an emotion. ???????
Introductory paragraph The first paragraph of an article or student writing should be attention grabbing and make the reader want to finish the article or story.
The introductory paragraph of an article on polar bears might get your attention by telling you that the estimated number of polar bears has grown from 5,000 to 25,000 between the 1950 and 2000.
Labels Descriptive words applied to persons, groups or objects. Rio Vista Elementary School includes two labels: Elementary School tells you the level of the school; and Rio Vista is the name of a particular school.
Magazine A publication, generally published on a regular schedule (weekly, twice-monthly, monthly, etc.) Time is a news magazine that has been published weekly for about 80 years.
Main point The most important idea in a piece of writing. a speech or a lecture.
The main point in Mr. Taylor's lecture was that students will be held responsible for completing their assignments.
Moral A moral is the lesson (don't steal, don't cheat, be nice, etc.) to be learned from a story or event. One moral in the Aesop's fable of the Tortoise and the Hare is that "slow and steady wins the race."
Myth A traditional story that tries to explain nature (origin of man, disease, volcanoes, storms, floods, etc.) in which the main characters are gods and heroes. In one Greek myth Zeus, the most powerful god, was afraid his wife Metis would give birth to a god more powerful than he was, so he swallowed Metis.
main idea/stated and implied The main idea is the most important point in a piece of writing or a lecture. The main idea can be clearly explained (i.e., stated), or hinted at (i.e., implied). The main idea of Mr. Taylor's Reading Boot Camp is stated to be improving student reading abilities so they can read to learn.
Metaphor A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses an image or story represent an idea or quality. Her eyes were glistening jewels is a metaphor.
Narrative A narrative is a story that describes a series of fictional or non-fictional events.
Yatzari's narrative of her experience on the roller coaster held our attention.
Narrator The character within a story who tells the story, or a person who tells the story to an audience. Alivia was the narrator for the 4th grade class play.
News Current events presented on TV, the internet, twitter, in newspapers or magazines, or shared by word of mouth.
More people get their news from TV and the internet than from newspapers.
Novel A novel is a long, fictional story. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a novel.
Onomatopoeia A word that imitates the sound it describes.
Cuckoo, hiccup, zoom, bang, beep, splash and vroom are examples of onomatopoeia.
Parts of speech In grammar, categories of words. Nouns and verbs are parts of speech.
Personification Giving animals, objects or concepts human characteristics.
Cartoon animal characters who talk and act like humans are examples of personification.
Persuade Convincing yourself or another to adopt an idea, attitude, or action using logic.
Sydney tried to persuade Frida to join the Rio Vista band.
Persuasion A process of guiding another person to adopt an idea, attitude, or action using logic. Isaac tried using persuasion to get Hector to play soccer.
Purpose Purpose is a result, end, aim or goal of an action.
The purpose of flash cards is to learn words by reading them over and over.
Plot The order of events in a story. The plot of a novel or story deals with what happens to the main character.
Point of view/perspective Writer's (or your) view of the world consisting of opinions, beliefs and experiences. It is Mr. Taylor's point of view/perspective that reading boot camp will improve your reading ability.
Prompt In a writing assignment, the subject you are told to write about. "What I did during my summer vacation" used to be a common prompt the first day of a new school year.
Punctuation marks (colon/semi-colon) Colon is the punctuation mark (:) used before a long quotation, explanation, example, or list of items. A semi-colon (;) is a punctuation mark used most often to separate closely related clauses in a sentence.
Mr. Taylor expects at least three things from his students: 1) their attention; 2) completion of assignments; and 3) respect for other members of the class.
Reference source A source of information, the most common of which are: a dictionary; an atlas; a thesaurus; the internet, etc. One reference source for my science project was the Encyclopedia Americana.
reference book A source of information in book form, such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas or thesaurus. The best reference book for finding synonyms is the thesaurus.
Reports To give information (usually written or spoken) about something (person, place, thing, theory, etc.) to other people. Our science reports are due in the spring.
Resolution Resolution has many meanings, one of which is to set a personal goal.
Mr. Jones' New Year's resolution was to run a mile every day this year.
Resource In education, a resource is something or someone that helps you learn.
The smart board is a resource that Mr. Taylor uses to get excited about learning.
Root words ( as aids in determining meaning) The basic word upon which other words are formed. The meaning of new words can often be determined by identifying the root word The root word of saddlery is saddle, so I can guess that saddlery has something to do with saddles.
Rhythm A regularly occurring physical motion or pattern of speech. Many poems have an interesting rhythm.
Satire A method of criticizing people in which you make fun of their bad habits, abuses and shortcomings--usually with the goal of shaming them into improving.
Punch was a famous British humor magazine which used a great deal of satire.
Simile A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by using the words "like," "as," or "than."
Cristian seemed to run as fast as a speeding bullet.
Stanza In a poem, a grouping of lines set off by a space.
Here are two stanzas of a poem:
Mary had a little lamb,
little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
and everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.
Summarize To state briefly.
We summarize the main idea of each chapter in our writing journals.
Summary A brief statement or account covering the main idea.
Each chapter summary in our writing journal must include at least five sentences.
Superlative Superior to or better than all others, of highest quality or supreme, usually a using a word ending in -est. Mt. McKinley (Denali) is the highest mountain in North America.
Thesaurus A reference containing synonyms and antonyms.
The thesaurus says synonyms for small include petite, little , wee, tiny and teeny.
tall tale A story with characters or happenings that are exaggerated or made bigger than real life. "Pecos Bill" is a tall tale of a cowboy who could do unbelievable things, like rope a tornado with his lariat.
Title page (parts of) A title page is a page at the beginning of a book that gives the book’s title, the author, and the publisher. The title, “HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE”; the author, “J.K. ROWLING”; and the publisher, “Arthur A. Levine Books” all appear on the title page for the first Harry Potter book.
Verb tense The form of a verb that shows not only the action, but when the action happens (in the past, present, or future). In the sentence “ Mr. Taylor’s class will leave for lunch in 15 minutes”, the verb tense is future; In the sentence “The class is leaving now”, the verb tense is present; In the sentence “The class left,” the verb tense is past.