Alternate Eligible Content and the Essentialization Process

Understanding and Using Essentialization

This page is designed to support educators, administrators and parents in providing accessible instruction that is meaningful and relevant to students assessed through the PA Alternate System of Assessment (PASA).

The PASA was designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and may include students with varying disabilities, including but not limited to autism, deaf-blind, multiple disabilities, etc. While it is anticipated that no more than 1% of the total test population will participate in an alternate assessment, the group is diverse in their learning profiles. As such, students eligible for the PASA will be assessed on prioritized content known as alternate eligible content (AEC). AEC, while reduced in depth and breadth, is written to the highest level as assessed on the PASA. Teachers may need to further reduce the AEC for instructional purposes.

The systematic process for reducing complexity of the AEC is known as the Essentialization Process and was adopted by Dr. Gerald Tindal of the University of Oregon. The Essentialization Process provides teachers with a systematic way of reducing complexity by consistently examining and adjusting the “know”, “do”, and “context” of the AEC. The process also ensures that reductions in the “know”, “do”, and “context” are based on individual data and projected learning targets.

As an educator, administrator, or parent, the following resources will be helpful in understanding how to access the AEC for instructional purposes.