The following is the official Opt Out protocol that was provided to ass principals in the Philadelphia School District by the Office of Curriculum and Assessment.


Parental Request to View the PSSA/Keystone Assessments – District Protocol

Online Testing Sites

Schools testing online ONLY, must call DRC (1-800-451-7849) to request a paper copy of the tests to be used ONLY for parental review, if necessary.

Paper & Pencil Testing Sites

1. If a parent contacts the school with a request to view the PSSA/Keystone test.

     b. Provide this opportunity at a mutually convenient date/time no earlier than two weeks prior to the start of the testing window.

          ii. PSSA review start: Wednesday, March 25

          iii. Keystone review start: Wednesday, April 29

     c. Also, notify the parent of the location inside the school where this will take place

2. Make a copy of the Parent Confidentiality Agreement (Appendix of F of the Assessment Handbook)

     d. The parent MUST sign this before viewing the test

     e. Translations of this document also are available in the 8 dominant languages. Non-English speaking parents are allowed to bring an interpreter with them while viewing the test

     f. BOTH the parent and the interpreter MUST sign the Confidentiality Agreement prior to viewing the test/s

     g. The Test Coordinator or designee must collect all Confidentiality Agreements and keep them on file at the school.

3. The Test Coordinator or designee can break the shrink wrap and pull out any one formof the test booklet for the subject and provide it to the parent

4. The Test coordinator or designee MUST be present in the room throughout the time the parent is viewing the test booklet

     b. The test booklets should not be in the possession of the parent without the presence of a designated/responsible school staff

     a. Parents cannot take notes or communicate with others during the viewing and should not possess their cell phones during this time

     b. Test booklets for more than one subject can be viewed in one session. Many parents can view the test booklets in one viewing session

     c. The Test Coordinator or designee will collect the test booklet/s back from the parent/s after they have viewed it/them and lock the booklets back in the secure storage area

5. After viewing the test booklet/s, if a parent finds anything against his/her religious beliefs in the test content and decides to opt his/her child out of testing, he/she must write a letter (or send an e-mail) to the superintendent (hite@philasd.org) requesting that his/her child opt-out of the PSSA/Keystone testing. It is recommended that the principal be copied on the e-mail

6. On the day/s of testing, the school must provide alternative instructional activities for students who opted out

A sample letter: 

Dear Dr. Hite, Mr. Shaffer and Principal XXXXXXXX,

Pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22, Chapter 4, section.4(d)(4), I hereby exercise my right as a parent to have my child excused from 2014-2015 school year’s state standardized testing because of “religious beliefs.”

Per this signed and dated letter and my rights stated above, I expect this letter and my rights, to be honored by XXXXXX School, its Principal,XXXXXXX, Dr. Hite, School Superintendent and the School Reform Commission (SRC) of Pennsylvania. I am requesting that my rights be recognized, respected and to not have my decision or my child subjected to any further scrutiny or requirements surrounding this request. I should not be forced, mandated or manipulated to first view, then restate my rights, on what I have already written my child be excused from, on the grounds of my religious beliefs.


Parent of ______________________


To learn more about opting out in Pennsylvania, please visit the Caucus of Working Educators Guide to Opting Out in PAFrequently Asked Questions and Opt Outs in PA Map.


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