Testing Information

Pennsylvania Alternative 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 the 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.

PASA Testing Window

ELA/Science/Math Test Window: March 14, 2022 – May 20, 2022

Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Test (PSSA)

The annual Pennsylvania System School Assessment is a standards-based, criterion-referenced assessment which provides students, parents, educators and citizens with an understanding of student and school performance related to the attainment of proficiency of the academic standards. These standards in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science and Technology identify what a student should know and be able to do at varying grade levels. School districts possess the freedom to design curriculum and instruction to ensure that students meet or exceed the standards’ expectations.

Every Pennsylvania student in grades 3 through 8 is assessed in English Language Arts and Math. Every Pennsylvania student in grades 4 and 8 is assessed in science.

Individual student scores, provided only to their respective schools, can be used to assist teachers in identifying students who may be in need of additional educational opportunities, and school scores provide information to schools and districts for curriculum and instruction improvement discussions and planning.

In compliance with §4.51(a)(4) of the PA School Code the State Board of Education approved, “specific criteria for advanced, proficient, basic and below basic levels of performance.”

PSSA Testing Window

English Language Arts: April 25 – 29, 2022 (Grades 3-8)
Math, Science, and Make-ups: May 2 – 13, 2022 (Grades 3-8)

PSSA Information

Principal’s Letter
Group A’s Testing Calendar
Group V’s Testing Calendar
Group B’s Testing Calendar
FAQs for Parents and Guardians
Code of Conduct of Test Takers
Cell Phone Policy
Calculator Policy
Parent Confidentiality Policy

Keystone Information

Dear Parent/Guardian:

The Keystone Exams are end-of-course assessments designed to assess proficiency in various subjects. Students enrolled in Keystone designated courses are required to take the test at the completion of the course. The Keystone Exams are one component of Pennsylvania’s system of high school graduation requirements. Keystone Exams will help school districts guide students toward meeting state standards.

Designated students who were enrolled in a Keystone course during the 2019-2020 school year and did not take the test due to the pandemic and cancellation of state testing, will be excused from taking the test.

Assessment Dates
Winter Wave 1 December 1 – 15, 2021
Winter Wave 2 January 3 – 14, 2022
Spring May 16 – 27, 2022
Summer July 25 – 29, 2022
* Date will be announced during the summer
**Students enrolled in English II (10th grade)

Attached here, in the High School Happenings,  and on the Philadelphia Academy Charter School website, you will find some common questions about the Keystone, the cell phone policy, calculator policy, and code of conduct for test takers.   Please reinforce the importance of following test procedures with your student.

For more detailed information about the Keystone exams, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Standards Aligned System website at Keystone Exams-SAS.


Angela Pazdunkiewicz, M.Ed.

Assistant Principal/ School Assessment Coordinator

Keystone Information (English)

Keystone Information (Spanish)

Keystone Resources

Code of Conduct

Calculator Policy

Cell Phone Policy (English/Spanish)