Students debate if they like CDTs or PSSAs better.

Katelyn Clawson

More stories from Katelyn Clawson


Bryson Deal

Standardize testing graphic made by Bryson Deal

CDTs and PSSAs are tests that probably the most feared thing in school by students, and some teachers. They’re horrible, long, and with PSSAs, you don’t get a break. CDT stands for Classroom Diagnostic Tools, and they are a long test on the computer, which lasts through 50 or 60 questions. CDTs also let teachers know the progress of where every student is. You can pause it, but you only have a 20 minute time limit. Sometimes CDTs are extremely stressful, but you will still survive after a long terrible time. CDTs are available for students from kindergarten through 12th grade, but in Freedom they only go third grade through eighth grade.

PSSAs stand for Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, and they are a long test that you have to write out, and Pennsylvania sees the scores students get. They have four sections. There are writing PSSAs, which you have to write a long essay about a small story you have to read. PSSAs have a bunch of questions. Third through eighth grade are the only grades you take PSSAs in, but above eighth grade, you take tests similar called Keystone Exams. But, some people, especially parents, wonder which is worse, CDTs, or PSSAs? 

“I like CDTs better. You can pause CDTs but you have a limited time, but with PSSAs, you can’t pause it at all! You can only leave with a teacher!” said Piper Kiser, fifth-grader. Kiser adds her vote firmly to the CDT pile.

Kiser isn’t incorrect, but a lot of students disagree, or they don’t mind that. A lot of students also say CDTs are better since after PSSAs, you have to wait a long time for everyone to finish testing. Other students disagree, saying that PSSAs are better since you can just watch movies, play inside, or play outside after PSSAs, so all the time wasted is worth it.

“PSSAs are better, because one, well…it’s kinda obvious if you don’t like the screen light, you don’t have to do that for PSSAs. That’s why it’s better.” Steven Meyer says, and firmly added his vote to the PSSAs pile.

“CDTs are better because they are shorter, and they don’t take as much time as PSSAs. Time is valuable!” Ashlynn Wagner in fifth-grade states. A lot of students like CDTs, but students are clueless on what the teachers think, including Kiser, Meyer, Welsh, and Wagner. Here’s what two teachers think.

“I hate them both.” Mr. Mohrbacher, a sports coach, and sometimes a substitute, says. A lot of students agree with him. That’s what one of the teachers, or sport coach, honestly says about whether PSSAs or CDTs are better. A lot of students also said neither. Here’s another teachers opinion.

“Neither.” Mrs. Boyd, a middle school reading and literature teacher, says. So far, both teachers say none. So, what if teachers dislike CDTs and PSSAs more than students? 

“Equal, to be honest with you. (About if teachers or students despise CDTs and PSSAs more.)  I think it is equal because they both dislike it for different reasons. (She has her answer because of,) teacher conversations and student behaviors.” Mrs. Clibbens, a middle school advanced math teacher says.

Clibbens, Boyd and Mohrbacher let students look into the eyes of a teacher and hear their input about these two horrendous tests. Some students may not think that teachers and students have something in common. Also, some students thought that teachers love CDTs and PSSAs. But, though it was uncommon, some students thought the same thing that Mrs. Clibbens said.

But, in the end, three students like CDTs better, and one student like PSSAs better. But, more voices are out there, so what do you think of which one is better based on the information in this article, and why?