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Prepare Your Students for Success on PSSA TDAs

As we've been spending more time with our amazing teachers and students in Pennsylvania, we're hearing that strong preparation for the PSSAs is on everyone's mind. With ThinkCERCA's Writing lessons across content areas, you can prepare your students for success on PSSA text-dependent analysis questions.

Pennsylvania Core Standards (PCS) identifies text-dependent analysis as the ability to “draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.” A text-dependent analysis question does not rely on any particular background information extraneous to the text nor depend on students having other experiences or knowledge; instead it privileges the text itself and what students can extract from what is before them. These questions move beyond general reading comprehension to specific questions that require the use of text-dependent evidence.

ThinkCERCA includes Writing lessons in all subject areas covered by the PSSAs: English language arts, math, and science. These lessons give students practice in analyzing complex texts, including data sets and visual texts, and clearly communicating that analysis in writing. Let's take a look:

English Language Arts

In English language arts, ThinkCERCA provides opportunities for students to write response to both informational and literary texts, just like the TDAs they will see on the PSSA. 

An informational text TDA question from a Grade 8 ELA PSSA:


An informational text TDA question from a Grade 8 ThinkCERCA ELA lesson:


A literature TDA question from a Grade 8 ELA PSSA:


A literature TDA from a Grade 8 ThinkCERCA ELA lesson:



In science, students will analyze and evaluate data from text and visual sources.

A visual- and text-based TDA from a Grade 8 science PSSA:


A visual- and text-based TDA from a Grade 8 ThinkCERCA science lesson:



And in math, students are presented with real-world situations and asked to explain their mathematical reasoning with numbers and words.

A TDA from a Grade 8 math PSSA:



A TDA from a Grade 8 ThinkCERCA math lesson:



The best test prep is great instruction every day, and ThinkCERCA helps provide the resources and tools to support that great instruction! Use ThinkCERCA's Writing lessons in conjunction with our Direct Instruction lessons to brush up on key literacy skills such as citing evidence or using conventions of English and our Reading Practice lessons to build more background knowledge and gain additional practice on standards-aligned assessments.


Continue your learning with the Writing Across the Curriculum guide >> 

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