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Tool Name
Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System (PVAAS)

Evaluation Type
Value-Added Models

All Subjects

All Grades

Use of Evaluation


This product was developed by the state of Pennsylvania.

Product Description
Initiated in 2002 and established in the summer of 2008, PVAAS is used with other measures to ensure that students are on track for learning. The system allows teachers to make informed decisions regarding instruction. PVAAS considers previous student achievement data and uses that information to make predictions on where students will be in the future. Pennsylvania adopted its particular form of value-added analysis based on the EVAAS system developed by William Sanders and his associates at the SAS Institute in North Carolina. SAS provides PVAAS data to all of Pennsylvania’s school districts. PVAAS provides districts with individual student and aggregated scores that compare actual performance on the PSSA mathematics and reading tests with what is called the “growth standard,” or how students with an average educational experience would have performed. A second component of PVAAS provides projections about the performance of students on future PSSA tests. Given its current state of development, PVAAS appears to be appropriate for low-risk (low-stakes) purposes, such as the identification of students requiring intervention and the initiation of discussions about curriculum or professional development. Generally, value-added assessment systems have been used in two ways: as an accountability measure and for professional/curriculum development. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has advised districts that PVAAS is not to be used for teacher compensation or evaluation. It is used for formative purposes.

General Target Population Information

PVAAS is designed for use with teachers of the following subjects and grade levels:

  • Reading (Grades 4–8 and 11)
  • Mathematics (Grades 4–8 and 11)
  • Science (Grades 4, 8, and 11)
  • Writing (Grades 5, 8, and 11)

Stage of Teacher Development

All Stages

This system is used by all 501 districts in Pennsylvania.

Research and Resources

Sanders, W. L., Saxton, A. M., & Horn, S. P. (1997). The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System: A quantitative outcomes-based approach to educational assessment. In J. Millman (Ed.), Grading teachers, grading schools: Is student achievement a valid educational measure? (pp. 137–162). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Retrieved April 2, 2010, from

Sanders, W. L, Wright, S. P., & Langevin, W. E. (2008, February). Do teacher effect estimates persist when teachers move to schools with different socioeconomic environments? Presented at the National Center on Performance Incentives National Conference on Performance Incentives: Their Growing Impact on American K–12 Education, Vanderbilt University Peabody College, Nashville, TN.

Wright, S. P., Sanders, W. L., & Rivers, J. C. (2006). Measurement of academic growth of individual students toward variable and meaningful academic standards. In R. Lissitz (Ed.),  Longitudinal and value added models of student performance. Maple Grove, MN: JAM Press. Retrieved April 2, 2010, from

SAS provides services for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which include the value-added analyses. Costs for this application of value-added analysis can be obtained by contacting June Rivers at SAS at 919-531-1075 or

Contact Information
Arlen Zecha
Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of Assessment and Accountability
333 Market Street, 9th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717-787-4234
Fax: 717-783-6642

Support Available
For PVAAS support resources, visit