Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Is it accurate to say that all 3rd, 4th, 5th , 6th, 7th, 8th and 11th grade students who are in (a) life skills support, (b) multi-handicapped or (c) autism support programs should take the PASA?
- A: No. Decisions regarding participation on the PSSA or the PASA are not based on disability categories. IEP teams must review eligibility criteria and make a determination as to the appropriate assessment on an individual basis.
- Q: Under what circumstances can a student be excused from participating in the PSSA or the PASA?
- A: Students may only be excused from the assessment for religious reasons.
- Q: What if parents refuse to let their child take the PASA? How do districts deal with this?
- A: After parents have reviewed the PASA, they may request that their child be excused from taking the assessment if they feel that it is in conflict with their religious beliefs. Districts must maintain documentation of these requests. Schools must inform parents that participation in the statewide assessment is a federal and state requirement.
- Q: What should be done when attempting to conduct the assessment if a student is uncooperative and refuses to demonstrate the requested skill? What about a student who physically refuses or acts out during the assessment?
- A: Attempts should be made to encourage the student to participate in the assessment by using behavioral supports, and continuing the assessment at another time. If refusals continue, despite all efforts, submit the video taped or narrative notes of whatever the student did demonstrate. Students can receive scores on the PASA with even minimal performance.
- Q: Is there a way to indicate on the assessment protocol that the child refused?
- A: Yes. You may indicate a child's response by using a "voice-over" on the tape or writing a statement on the narrative notes (for students not being videotaped).
- Q: Can you estimate the total time it will take to prepare to administer, including completion of all forms?
- A: The time needed for each student depends upon the length of time needed to prepare the assessment materials that will enable the student to demonstrate his/her capabilities and the time the needed by the examiner to become familiar with assessment administration. It is estimated that two hours of preparation time will be needed from start to finish for each student.
Administration of the Assessment
- Q: Who provides the videotape and personnel to administer the PASA?
- A: Each service provider is responsible for securing the blank videotape and administering the PASA and the PSSA as part of the statewide system of assessment.
- Q: Is there another assessment option besides the PSSA and PASA?
- A: A student may participate in the PSSA with accommodations.
- Q: Are there time limits per assessment item?
- A: No.
- Q: Should the PASA be listed on the IEP for appropriate students each year or only the years it is scheduled to be given?
- A: The IEP team should discuss participation in state and district-wide assessments for each year that the student will be required to take an assessment.
- Q: If during the IEP, the district, teacher, and LEA indicate that the PASA is appropriate, but the parent, advocate, or attorney indicates that it is not appropriate (or vice-versa), is this an issue for Due Process?
- A: You may follow the same procedures you would use when there is a disagreement about the content of the IEP including discussion and mediation.
- Q: Do we need signed permission to video record a student?
- A: No, however, the manner in which the student's performance on the PASA is recorded must be decided by the IEP team. In some cases, religious beliefs may require using only narrative notes.
- Q: What do you do if a parent refuses to have his or her child video recorded?
- A: Detailed narrative notes may be used to record the student's performance with permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The "Request for the Use of Narrative Notes on the PASA" can be accessed at: www.education.state.pa.us . Requests should be submitted to Lynda Lupp via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (717) 783-6139.
- Q: What happens to the video after it is submitted?
- A: The tapes (and narrative notes) are stored at the PASA office at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Q: Do parents receive a copy of the video recording with the scores?
- A: No, but the service provider may offer to view the video or narrative notes with the parents prior to returning it for scoring.
Scoring of the Assessment
- Q: How many scorers are used to score one student?
- A: A minimum of two scorers review each assessment recorded by videotape or narrative notes.
- Q: PASA scoring reflects not just student performance but teaching prompting, so you are really scoring the student's performance?
- A: Student performance is a function of appropriate prompting which varies based on student's level of independence. Scoring reflects both accuracy and level of independence.
- Q: If your school hosts an Intermediate Unit class which students from other districts attend, what school district will be credited with those students' scores?
- A: The Intermediate Unit is considered the service provider and the district that provides the classroom space is simply the host district. Home School Districts (districts of residence) are held accountable for students.
- Q: How will the scores of students taking the PASA be calculated as part of the Annual Yearly Progress reports for the school district?
- A: For purposes of AYP calculations, all student scores on the alternate assessment are reported back to their district of residence.
- Q: Will student scores on the PASA contribute to proficiency scores for schools and districts as required by the No Child Left Behind Act?
- A: Yes, the No Child Left Behind Regulations permit a school district to count as proficient up to 1% of eligible students based on the PASA alternate standards.