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PASS Testing

PASS Testing

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Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS)


As the PASS writing and curriculum assessment test dates approach, we feel that providing information about practice items for parents and students is necessary. We, as educators, try to give our students every advantage and opportunity to do their best.

Below you will find frequently asked questions as well as links to the SC State Department website with sample questions that will help your children.


The Study Island link is also available on this page. This site is also a good way for your students to practice their skills. Please ask your student about their log in information. If you have questions about the Study Island site, you may contact your child’s teacher.


Frequently Asked Questions


SC New Test (Spring 2009)


New Assessment Program 3-8


What is the purpose of the new assessment program?


The South Carolina Department of Education is developing a new statewide assessment program for students in grades three through eight. The assessment program will be aligned to the state academic standards and will include tests in writing, English language arts (reading and research), mathematics, science, and social studies. The assessment results will be used for school and school district accountability purposes beginning with the 2008-09 school year. The assessment results will also be used for federal accountability purposes (No Child Left Behind).


When will the new assessment program be administered?


The new assessment program will be administered for the first time in spring 2009. The writing test will be administered in March and the remainder of the tests in May. Specific test dates have not yet been determined.


Which subjects and grade levels will be tested?


 All students in grades three through eight will take the writing, ELA, and mathematics tests. All students in grades 4 and 7 will take both the science and social studies tests. Students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 will take either the science or the social studies test (with approximately half of the students in each of those grades taking each test)


What types of items will be on the tests?


The writing test for each grade level will include multiple-choice items and one extended-response item. All other tests will contain multiple-choice items only. The writing test will include editing passages and the ELA test will include reading passages linked to the multiple-choice items.


Will any test items be read aloud to students?


The only test item that will be read aloud is the extended-response item on the writing test. For the grades 3-8 writing tests, test administrators will read aloud the writing topic or prompt and the directions for the extended-response ("Time to Write") item. Items will not be read aloud on any other parts of the writing tests or on any other tests for the new assessment program.


Will students with disabilities be required to take the tests?


All students with disabilities who are in grades 3-8 (or ages 8-13) must participate in the new assessment program or in the South Carolina Alternate Assessment (SC-Alt). A student's IEP or 504 Plan team may determine that a student needs certain testing accommodations to participate in the new assessment program in a way that allows the student's knowledge and skills, rather than disabilities, to be assessed. Testing accommodations must be those used by the student in instruction and classroom assessment throughout the school year. However, some instructional accommodations may not be allowable on the state assessment if they change the construct that is tested.


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


How and when will the test results be reported?


The tests are being designed to provide standard-level results for each subject - e.g., number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability for mathematics. Standard setting for the tests will take place during the summer of 2009. Therefore, score results will not be available until fall 2009. In 2010 and thereafter, student results will be available electronically by June 16.


For each test, three overall performance levels will be reported: 

·         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.


PASS information



ELA sample items



The new writing test for grades 3-8 will be administered in March. For each grade level (3-8), the writing test will consist of multiple-choice items and one extended-response ("Time to Write") item. Students will be able to use a dictionary or thesaurus for the extended-response item, but not for the multiple-choice items. A test blueprint detailing the number of items on the writing test will be posted when it is finalized. Sample items will be posted as well.


Students' extended responses will be scored in the four domains (content and development, organization, voice, and conventions) that have been used in the past. The extended response rubric for grades 3-8 has been updated to reflect the 2008 English language arts (ELA) academic standards. When students take the writing test in March, they will receive a copy of the rubric along with the writing test booklet.








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