Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA)
The Pennsylvania Alternate System of
Assessment (PASA) is a statewide alternate assessment designed for
students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Specifically,
it is intended for those who are unable to participate meaningfully in
Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) even
with accommodations. By administering the PASA to students with severe
disabilities, schools achieve compliance with federal laws and the
Pennsylvania School Code that require that all students participate in
the statewide accountability system.
The PASA is an individually administered test
given each spring to students by their teacher or another certified
Test Administrator who knows the student well. Test administration can
be adapted so that even students with the most severe disabilities can
participate in the assessment and receive a score. The test,
administered to students in the equivalent of grades 3 through 8 and 11,
consists of 25 test items aligned with reading standards; 25 test items
aligned with math standards; and, for students in grades 4, 8, and 11,
approximately 25 test items aligned with science standards. Each test
item represents an authentic, relevant, and age-appropriate skill
related to reading, mathematics, or science. There are three levels of
difficulty within each grade for all three content areas. Level A
contains the least complex reading-, math-, or science-related skills.
Level B consists of intermediate skills, and Level C consists of the
most complex skills. Like the PSSA, the PASA is designed to take a
snapshot of student's typical performance on a small sample of academic
skills derived from the PA Academic Standards.
Student performance is video recorded and
submitted for scoring to the contractor at the University of Pittsburgh.
Teams of scorers (comprised of practicing teachers, administrative
school personnel, and college/university faculty) are trained to use a
scoring rubric to evaluate student performance. Once scoring has been
completed, aggregated results are submitted to the state for inclusion
with scores from the PSSA. In addition, PASA reports are generated at
the state, home district, service provider, and student levels.