User-Generated Content in Education/SAS

Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS)

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Standards Aligned System (SAS) developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education is a comprehensive approach to support student achievement across Pennsylvania. It is composed six elements that will provide schools a common framework for enhancement and improvement. These six elements are clear standards, fair assessments, a curriculum framework, instruction, materials and resources, and interventions.

Clear Standards


These clear standards describe what students should know and be able to do as they progress through school. The standards have assessment anchors that are based on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA). These assessment anchors can assist teachers as they prepare students for the PSSA testing.


Fair Assessments


The four types of assessment are summative, formative, diagnostic,and benchmark.

Summative Assessment With summative assessment, the teacher is able to assess the student's progress at the end of the school year, quarter, or course to determine the progress that was made. The Summative Assessment is used with the No Child Left Behind(NCLB) standards and Adequate Yearly Progress(AYP). This data collected at key points in the student's learning years. Current assessments used in Pennsylvania are the PSSA and Terra Nova tests.

Formative Assessment This assessment takes place as instruction is ongoing. The teacher adjusts their instruction according to feedback from the students' achievement of the instructional outcomes. This type of assessment is NOT used for grading purposes, but rather to help guide future instruction.

Diagnostic Assessment This data is collected prior to instruction . The data give the student's strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, and skills. This data allows the instructor to adjust the curriculum to need unique needs.

Benchmark Assessment This assessment is based on feedback from the teacher and student on how the student is progressing towards proficiency on grade level. Benchmark and standards-based assessments measures concepts, skills, and applications towards mastery. One example of a Pennsylvania benchmark assessment is the 4Sight exam.

Curriculum Framework


A curriculum framework is specific topics that are to be taught and at what grade level for each subject area. The subject material is based on what is needed as a foundation for the next level of learning. The curriculum framework of the SAS is designed using standards and anchors. The SAS curriculum framework consists of big ideas, concepts, competencies, and essential questions, vocabulary and exemplars.

Big Ideas Big Ideas are statements that describe concepts that transcend grade levels. These ideas provide the focus needed on specific content for students.

Concepts Concepts are what a student should know from instruction by certain grade levels.

Competencies Competencies describe what students should be able to do, including skills learned from instruction, by certain grade levels.

Essential Questions Essential Questions are the questions that link the Big Ideas area. This framework uses critical thinking to transfer learning from one area to the next.

Vocabulary The vocabulary framework gives key terminology that is based on standards, from the big ideas, concepts, and competencies areas according to grade level.

Exemplars Exemplars are based on performance tasks that are used for assessment and professional development. This area provides teachers with concrete examples of the students' understanding of the areas of big ideas, concepts, and competencies.



Instruction is based on the Pennsylvania standards. All content is leveled to create challenging curriculum for different levels of learners. Instruction is focused on a students level of achievement and their current needs. Instructional strategies are implemented in order to help students' achievement.

Materials and Resources


Materials and resources are available online for grades K-12. A drop down box lets the user get only resources from a particular grade level. Also, a keyword search is available for the user to choose a specific topic. Content is provided in the following areas: mathematics, science, social studies, reading-writing-speaking-listening



This particular area of the SAS website will be added to after the new findings of interventions are revealed at an upcoming conference in December.