Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS) 

Beginning in 2006, all school districts across Pennsylvania received web-based reporting through the value-added assessment system (PVAAS). PVAAS is a new type of data that offers an objective and more precise way to measure student progress and the value schools and districts add to students' educational experiences. Pennsylvania is one of only three states providing this information to all school districts.

Since the initial statewide pilot in 2002, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (IU 13) has administered the statewide implementation and rollout of PVAAS on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Staff from IU 13 serve as the PDE PVAAS Statewide Core Team. This includes the development of Pennsylvania’s PVAAS communication materials, professional development materials, statewide webinars, team consultation sessions for local school districts, train-the-trainer supports, and a range of other supports and services.

What is PVAAS?

PVAAS is a statistical analysis of PSSA assessment data, and provides districts and their schools with progress data to add to achievement data. This new lens of measuring student learning provides educators with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of cohorts of students, as well as individual students.

To help you understand PVAAS analysis, think of academic progress/growth in terms of a child’s physical growth, and the growth charts utilized by a child’s physician. Growth charts are an important tool for monitoring a child’s development, but they are just one of the indicators used by the physician to ensure a child is growing at the minimum expected level and on the trajectory to grow as expected. A physician would not use a growth chart in isolation to diagnose a child; however, the growth chart would provide valuable information that may warrant further exploration.

PVAAS Reporting

PVAAS provides two types of information, value-added (or growth) data on cohorts of students and student level projection data. The value-added, or growth, analyzes available data from previous years (looking back) to help schools evaluate how much cohorts of students have gained in a school year by answering questions such as: Did a group or subgroup of students make a year’s worth of growth for a year’s worth of schooling?

The projection data uses the data already analyzed to help schools project (looking forward) to the future by answering questions such as: What is the percent likelihood of a student being proficient on a future PSSA? Projection data can be used for intervention planning and resource reallocation.
As in previous years, PVAAS is available for reading and math in grades 4-8 (this year’s current 5th through 9th graders). In 2008, PVAAS reports were available for reading, math, science and writing in grade 11 (this year’s current 12th graders), as well as for science in grades 4 and 8 and for writing in grades 5 and 8.

PVAAS graphic

PVAAS is one of the many tools provided to districts from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Districts and schools are using PVAAS, in conjunction with achievement data, to make sure all students are on the trajectory to proficiency. Utilizing all the data available (progress and achievement), educators are able to make data-informed instructional decisions to ensure the academic growth and achievement of all students.
The Department has developed numerous resources specifically targeted to the overview and introduction of PVAAS. To access these resources, visit PDE's PVAAS webpage at

PVAAS is developed and administered in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13.