In Pennsylvania, the PA Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) serves as the statewide alternate assessment for federal accountability. The PASA is administered in grades 3-8 and 11 in ELA (Reading and Writing) and Math and grades 4, 8 and 11 in Science. The PASA is intended for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities - which is about 1% of the total tested population.
The PASA is aligned to grade-level standards and alternate eligible content (AEC). AEC is derived from the eligible content and 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 should review participation in statewide assessments annually and determine whether the student will participate in the general assessment (known as the PSSA or Keystone Exam) 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 should be receiving instruction aligned to the AEC, and the IEP must include standards-aligned goals and objectives. Decisions to participate in the alternate assessment should not be determined by an administrator, be based upon anticipated poor performance on the general assessment, or upon disability category.