The PA Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) is an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards.  This type of test is used to evaluate the performance of students who are unable to participate in the general state assessment (i.e., the PSSA and Keystone Exams) even with accommodations.  Alternate assessments provide a way for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to be included in the educational accountability system.  Achievement descriptions on the alternate assessment are based upon what the state determines as high expectations for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  Achievement standards on the alternate assessment will be different from achievement standards on the general assessment.
Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Every Student Succeeds Act require the participation of all students, including students with disabilities, to participate in statewide testing.  A State must ensure that all children with disabilities are included in general State and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments, if necessary, as indicated in their respective IEPs. 

In PA, the PASA serves as the statewide alternate assessment for accountability.  PASA is administered in grades 3-8 and 11 in ELA (includes writing) and Math and grades 4, 8 and 11 in Science.  The PASA is for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

The PASA is aligned to grade-level standards and alternate eligible content (AEC).  AEC is reduced in depth, breadth, and complexity.  In order to participate in the PASA, students must be deemed eligible by the IEP Team.  The IEP team reviews participation in statewide assessments annually and determines whether the student will participate in the general assessment or the PASA.  The decision is based upon the IEP Team’s ability to answer “YES” to all six PASA eligibility criteria. Students eligible for the PASA receive instruction aligned to the AEC, and the IEP must include standards-aligned goals and objectives. 

a screenshot of a woman and  a child working in a tablet from the hub.

PASA DLM Instruction and Assessment Resource Hub 

The PASA DLM Instruction and Assessment Resource Hub hosts information previously posted on the PaTTAN PASA webpage. PASA Assessment Coordinators, teachers of students who participate in the PASA, and families will find alternate assessment and instructional resources in a quick, easy-to-find format.  Included are PaTTAN announcements, assessment and training calendars, assessment coordinator email communications, assessment and instructional resources, training information/professional development opportunities, and alternate assessment team contacts.   

Visit the PA DLM webpage  for all things alternate assessment.