Pennsylvania Assessment Letter

April 2, 2007

Dr. Gerald L. Zahorchak
Secretary of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126

Dear Secretary Zahorchak:

Thank you for submitting additional assessment materials for peer review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the latest peer review that occurred in January 2007.

Based on the recommendations of the peer reviewers and the evidence you have provided to date, the status of Pennsylvania’s standards and assessment system is Approval Expected. This status indicates that a State will administer an assessment system in grades 3-8 and high school in 2006-07 that the evidence to date suggests is fully compliant with the statutory and regulatory requirements. There are certain elements, however, that are not yet complete due to the nature of assessment development.

Pennsylvania must provide the Department with a timeline for completing the evidence needed to satisfy the remaining requirements, as indicated in the enclosure to this letter. Please note that, because there are elements of Pennsylvania’s system that are not yet complete, a condition on Pennsylvania’s Title I, Part A grant award will continue until Pennsylvania submits the required evidence and receives full approval of its standards and assessment system.

The Department remains committed to working with Pennsylvania to meet the requirements of NCLB and to raising the performance of all children. Toward that end, let me reiterate my earlier offer of technical assistance to you. If you have any additional questions, would like to discuss this further, or want to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to call David Harmon ( or Patrick Rooney ( of my staff.


Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary


cc: Governor Edward Rendell
Shula Nedley

Summary of Additional Evidence that Pennsylvania Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Pennsylvania Assessment System


  1. Approved academic achievement standards for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) at grade 3 with documentation of diverse stakeholder participation.


  1. Technical quality documentation for the PSSA standards setting at grade 3.
  2. Final (not draft) assessment system and testing activities’ monitoring plan with additional elements focused on auditing limited English proficient (LEP) accommodations.


  1. Documentation of the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) alignment with grade-level content standards.

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