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.
3-Tiered System of Oversight and Monitoring for LEAs
The Bureau of Special Education (BSE) developed the three-tiered system of oversight and monitoring as required by ESSA to monitor the participation rates of students with disabilities in the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). The submission process for LEAs includes all three tiers in one form/survey submission. The process allows the LEA to review the previous school year's PASA participation data prior to enrolling students for testing for the current year, and ensure only those students who meet all 6 of PA's Eligibility Criteria are enrolled to take the PASA.
Beginning in 2023-24 school year, ALL LEAs will receive personalized email communications from BSE to provide their most current testing data and their identified tier based upon the data. The LEA must submit the required responses for their identified tier to the BSE via a personalized survey link emailed to the Special Education Administrator. Please see the form below, which includes tier descriptions, the required questions for each tier, and directions for submission of the required survey responses to BSE:
Tier 1 (Universal)
ALL LEAs are required to submit alternate statewide assessment participation data to BSE annually. LEAs who were under the 1% in the most recent testing year and who do not plan to exceed the 1% threshold in the upcoming testing cycle will submit their demographic information and assurance only. Those who exceeded last year and/or plan to exceed the 1% this year are required to submit responses to a series of justification questions identified in the 1% threshold survey via a personalized survey link emailed to the Special Education Administrator.
A list of LEAs who anticipate exceeding the threshold will be made publicly available on the PDE website, in accordance with 34 CFR 200.6 (c)(3) regulations. LEAs who plan to exceed the threshold must also make this information publicly available without disclosing any student personally identifiable information.
Tier 2 (Targeted)
Tier 2 LEAs are identified based upon higher rates of PASA participation in the most recent testing year and required to submit responses to all the 1% threshold survey justification questions via the survey link and may be subject to additional on-site visits and/or file reviews as required by the BSE.
Tier 3 (Intensive)
Tier 3 LEAs are identified based upon excessively high rates of PASA participation in the most recent testing year and required to submit responses to all the 1% threshold survey justification questions via the survey link. In addition, these LEAs will work directly with a BSE representative to complete the Intensive Needs Review data protocol and submission of required IEPs. These LEAs are also subject to on-site visits and/or additional file reviews as determined by BSE. Tier 3 LEAs can access the Intensive Needs LEA Review sample questions below:
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 the following updates to the original PA 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan to the US Department of Education:
(Aug 2020) PA 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan Updates
(August 2021) PA 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan Updates
(February 2023) PA 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan Updates
Public comment or questions concerning the 1.0 Percent Justification Requirements or Pennsylvania's 1.0 Percent Compliance Plan should be directed to Lisa Hampe: firstname.lastname@example.org , Lisa Hauswirth:
email@example.com, and/or Lynda Lupp: