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ESSA 1.0 Percent Threshold Justification Requirements 

The Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA requires Pennsylvania to ensure that the total number of students assessed in each subject, using the alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, does not exceed 1.0 percent of the total number of all students in the state assessed on the statewide assessments. In accordance with 34 CFR 200.6(c)(3), a State must require a local education agency (LEA) that assesses more than 1.0 percent of its assessed students in any subject with an alternate assessment to submit information to the state stating the reason it exceeds the 1.0 percent threshold. States must provide appropriate oversight of each LEA that submits a justification and ensure that justification information is publicly available, provided that it does not reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student. A tiered system of oversight and monitoring for LEAs is used to address 1.0 percent threshold compliance requirements in PA.   

1.0 Percent Threshold Requirements for LEAs 

Tier 1 - 1.0 Percent Threshold Justification Process for LEAs 

All LEAs in Pennsylvania are required to submit information to the Bureau of Special Education to verify their anticipated PASA participation rate for the 2020-21 school year. A personalized survey link will be emailed to all LEA Special Education Administrators in October 2020. LEAs who anticipate exceeding the 1.0 percent threshold are required to submit justification information within the contents of the survey. The 2020-21 1.0 Percent Threshold Justification Form is below. The form mirrors the questions the LEA will be required to submit in the survey.   

Tier 2 – Additional training and verification from LEAs 

LEAs will be identified by the Bureau of Special Education if they are in tier 2 PASA participation status based upon the information received in the tier 1 justification process this year. These LEAs will be contacted directly by BSE in January of 2021 to outline the required course of action. 

Tier 3 – Intensive Needs Review 

The Intensive Needs Review monitoring process is only required for LEAs who are identified annually by BSE to participate. The formal Intensive Needs Review process also includes submission of at least two IEPs to BSE for review. The Intensive Needs LEA Review document can be used by any LEA as a means to analyze PASA participation and identify patterns and/or anomalies.  Again, this document is only required to be completed by a small number of LEAs who are identified each year by BSE to have extremely excessive PASA participation rates.  

1.0 Percent Threshold Requirements for Pennsylvania 

PDE submitted a 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan of Action to the US Department of Education in August of 2019.  The plan includes details on why the state is not able to apply for a 1.0 Percent Wavier from USDE, as well as a robust plan of action to address the federal 1.0 percent threshold requirements.  

PDE submitted updates to the original PA 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan to the US Department of Education in August of 2020.  Federal guidance continues to stipulate states may not exceed the federally mandated 1.0 percent threshold requirement. (Aug 2020) PA 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan Updates 

Public comment or questions concerning the 1.0 Percent Justification Requirements or Pennsylvania's 1.0 Percent waiver request process should be directed to Lisa Hampe: lihampe@pa.gov and Lynda Lupp: llupp@pattankop.net