Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS)

Grades 3-8

PASS 2013 Key Dates

December 3 - January 11Online Enrollment
December 13 - January 17Precode
February 19 - 21WebEx Pretest Training Sessions
March 5 - 14Precode Update
March Writing Assessment - Grades 3-8
Writing tests will be administered to all grades.
March 19Writing Test, Day 1extended-response item (writing prompt)
March 20Writing Test, Day 2multiple-choice items
March 21-26Make-up tests may be given on these days.
May Assessment - Grades 3-8
May 7ELA (Reading and Research) test
May 8Mathematics test
May 9Science test for grades 4 and 7, and
Social Studies or Science tests for grades 3, 5, 6, and 8
May 10Social Studies test for grades 4 and 7
May 13-17Make-up tests

What is the PASS?
As mandated in Chapter 18, Title 59 of the 1976 Code, the Education Accountability Act was amended ( May 2008) to provide for the development of a new statewide assessment program. This program, known as the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS), was first administered in the spring of 2009. The PASS is administered to South Carolina public school students, including charter school students in grades three through eight.

What is the purpose of the PASS tests?
PASS test items measure student performance on the South Carolina Academic Standards. PASS test results are used for school, district, and federal (No Child Left Behind) accountability purposes.

When are the PASS tests administered?
The writing test is administered over two days in March, and the remainder of the PASS tests are administered in May. Specific test dates for spring 2013 are provided in the PASS Spring 2013 Testing Schedule.

Which subjects and grade levels are tested?
PASS includes tests in five subject areas: writing, English language arts (reading and research), mathematics, science, and social studies. For spring 2013, all students in grades 3 through 8 will take the writing test, English language arts (ELA), and mathematics tests.

All students in grades 4 and 7 take both the science and social studies tests. Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 take either the science or the social studies test. Approximately half of the students in each of these grades are randomly assigned to take the PASS science test; the other half are assigned to take the social studies test in each of these grades (per school).

What types of items are on the PASS tests?
The PASS writing test includes one extended-response item (Day 1) and multiple-choice items (Day 2). The extended-response item requires the student to write a composition on a given topic. Most of the multiple-choice items on the writing test are linked to editing passages.

All other PASS tests (ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies) contain multiple-choice items only. The multiple-choice items on the ELA test are linked to reading passages.

Where can I find more information and item samples for each PASS test?
Links are available for each subject area test: writing, ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies. These links provide access to sample items, as well as test "blueprints" with information about the number of items per standard and the total number of points on each test. For writing, a link is also provided for the extended response rubric, the guidelines used to score the writing compositions.

How and when are PASS test results reported?
PASS test results (district data files) will be posted to DRC's eDIRECT secure Web site on June 15. District and school rosters as well as parent letters will be posted to eDIRECT on June 18, followed by Individual Student Reports (ISRs) on June 28. Paper copies of the ISRs and student labels will be delivered to the districts by July 26. The ISRs provide standard-level results for each subject test. State, district, and school summary data for each year are posted on the South Carolina Department of Education Web site. Test results from the spring 2012 PASS administration are located at the following link: 2012 PASS Test Scores.

Distribution of Individual Student Score Reports
The Department of Education provides paper copies of Individual Student Reports to districts. These reports are shipped from the testing contractors directly to the District Test Coordinators (DTCs). DTCs are responsible for ensuring that these reports are distributed to parents and schools as soon as possible following receipt.

What types of scores do students receive?
Total scale scores and performance levels are provided for each PASS test: writing, ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies.

A score report also shows student performance on each standard (or domain, for writing). The following three statements are used to describe a student's performance on each standard or domain:

  • <Student Name>'s test performance shows strengths in the standard(s)/domain(s) listed.
  • <Student Name> may benefit from additional activities that focus on the standard(s)/domain(s) listed.
  • <Student Name>'s test performance shows weaknesses and a need for further instruction in the standard(s)/domain(s) listed.

The name(s) of the applicable South Carolina Academic Standard(s) or domains are listed after each of these statements.

Example of the ELA section of an Individual Student Report

(Reading and Research)

Total Scale Score: 600
Performance Level: Met

Jamie's test performance shows strengths in the standard(s) listed.
Reading: Literary Texts
Reading: Informational Texts

Jamie may benefit from additional activities that focus on the standards(s) listed.
Reading: Building Vocabulary

Jamie's test performance shows weaknesses and a need for further instruction in the standard(s) listed.

How is the writing test scored?
Students receive a total scale score and a performance level that corresponds to the total score for the PASS writing test. For the writing test, student performance is also reported for four domains: content and development, organization, voice, and conventions. Like the standard-level performance information for the other PASS tests (ELA, mathematics, etc.), the writing domain performance information indicates the student's strengths, areas of additional focus needed, and weaknesses. This domain-level performance is based on results from both the extended-response (Day 1) and multiple-choice (Day 2) items.

In addition, the district data files and Individual Student Reports indicate the domain scores for the extended-response item only. (Refer to the extended response rubric for an explanation of the domain scores.)

What are PASS performance levels?
The three PASS performance levels are categories that reflect the overall knowledge and skills exhibited by students on each test:

Exemplary - The student demonstrated exemplary performance in meeting the grade-level standard.
Met - The student met the grade-level standard.
Not Met - The student did not meet the grade-level standard.

How do students record responses to test items?
Scannable answer documents are used for all subject and grade-level tests. Students bubble multiple-choice responses in the appropriate section of the answer document. The answer choices for each item are alternately lettered ABCD or FGHI. The writing answer document has two lined pages for students to write the final draft of the extended-response. Sample answer documents are posted on the page for DTCs, STCs, and TAs.

Are students with disabilities required to take the PASS tests?
All students with disabilities who are in grades 3-8 (or ages 8-13) must participate in PASS testing or in the South Carolina Alternate Assessment (SC-Alt). An IEP or 504 Plan team may determine that a student needs certain accommodations to participate in PASS testing in a way that allows a studentâ€TMs knowledge and skills, rather than his or her disabilities, to be assessed. Testing accommodations must be only those used by the student in instruction and classroom assessment throughout the school year. However, some instructional accommodations may not be allowable or may be determined to be non-standard if the accommodation changes the construct that is being measured on the state assessment.

A student's IEP team may determine that the student is unable to participate in the assessment, even with accommodations. If the student meets the eligibility criteria for alternate assessment, the IEP team may recommend that the student participate in the SC-Alt.