PACTESP Resources

This section contains resources related to the field of special populations.


This guide is provided to assist school administrators in preparing for the required testing.  It is developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to be used as an informational resource that addresses procedures for participating in Federal and state mandated occupational competency testing.
Click here to view guide


At times it may be necessary to allow accommodations when administering tests.  This flyer provides examples of allowable accommodations for students with IEPs.
Click here to view flyer


Watch this short video to learn about allowable accommodations on NOCTI tests.
Click here to view video


Download this document for a step-by-step guide on paper tests and accommodations provided through NIMS.
Click here to download document


This guide addresses accommodations for students with IEPs, 504 plans, and ESL plans.  This guide also addresses the options available for all students, referred to as “test features”.
Click here to view guide


The focus of the Accommodation Guidelines for English Learners is selection, administration, and evaluation of appropriate accommodations specifically for English Learners. ELs are also eligible for the accommodations for instruction and assessment outlined in the general Accommodations Guidelines.
Click here to view Accommodations Guidelines


This PowerPoint presentation reviews PDE’s Accommodations Guidelines for 2019 PSSA and Keystone exams.
Click here to view PowerPoint

Ed Review - Department of Education

A bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to Intergovernmental and Corporate communities and other stakeholders.
Click here to view updates

The Vocational Evaluation and Career Assessment Professionals Association (VECAP)

The VECAP association is committed to advancing and improving the fields of vocational evaluation and career assessment and represents the needs of the professionals who provide those services. Its scope of services will encompass individuals who need assistance with vocational development and/or career decision making.
Read more…


The Teenage Brain

The Teenage Brain sheds new light on the brains-and behaviors-of adolescents and young adults, and analyzes this knowledge to share specific ways in which parents, educators, and even the legal system can help them navigate their way more smoothly into adulthood in our ever challenging world.
Interweaving clear summary and analysis of research data with anecdotes drawn from her years as a clinician, researcher, and public speaker, the author explores adolescent brain functioning and development in the context of learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision making.
This book was recommended by a presenter at the PAVESNP Mid-Winter  Conference.

A “million word gap” for children who aren’t read to at home

Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found.
Read full article here…


Access all our Teacher-Parent Collaboration Resources here.

Financial Resources and Discounts for Students With Disabilities

Click here for more information…

Power Library: Pennsylvania's Electronic Library

Ask questions on any topic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Click here…

Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy

A Practical Guide for Protecting Personal Data
Click here to view the Toolkit…

10 Powerful Community-Building Ideas

Strategies for ensuring students in every grade feel like they’re part of the classroom community.
Read more…

The Education Privacy Resource Center

FBI highlights security risks for student data:  What parents, schools, and policymakers need to know.
The FBI released a public service announcement that encourages public awareness of cyber threat concerns related to K-12 Students.
Read more…


Now Available: Back-to-School Issue of AC&E,
Accessibility, Compliance and Equity in Education
Click here to access


Instagram has released a guide for parents, aimed at preparing them to help teenagers better manage their time, interaction and privacy on the popular social media platform.  The guide entitled, “Know How to Talk With Your Teen About Instagram”, was produced in partnership with the National PTA, the National Alliance for Mental Health, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  It was written by parents who work at Instagram.
Read more…

PEAL Center

Educators and professionals in Pennsylvania can refer parents of children with disabilities to the PEAL Center as a safe and confidential support that helps families to develop strategies and problem solve any situation.  Educators and professionals in Pennsylvania can refer parents of children with disabilities to the PEAL Center as a safe and confidential support that helps families to develop strategies and problem solve any situation.

Chan-Zuckerberg to Push Ambitious New Vision for Personalized Learning

Pediatrician Priscilla Chan and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are gearing up to invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year in a new vision of “whole-child personalized learning,” with the aim of dramatically expanding the scope and scale of efforts to provide every student with a customized education. Click here to read the full article.

Bridging the Divide Between Ed Tech Research and the Classroom

The Research Map website — launched by nonprofit Digital Promise — aims to help developers, teachers and administrators find and understand academic research. The website boasts a new “ask a researcher” feature to connect users with experts at Harvard University.  Read the full article from The Hechinger Report here

U.S. Department of Education Launches New IDEA Website

Today, the U.S. Department of Education launched a new website dedicated to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

4 Reflections for a Positive Outlook for all Learners

Four reflection questions provide a positive frame for developing relationships between exceptional students and their teachers and peers. These questions ask educators to consider what students and teachers have in common, how students are grouped, what strengths learners possess and how to reframe language to be more student-centered.
Read now.

Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children. Provides free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners.

Top 10 Instructional Accessibility Tips

A list of tips and resources to provide a starting point for best practices to accommodate students with disabilities.

Great Educational Resources for Teaching Autistic Students

These resources feature several learning tools, lesson plan ideas, learning activities, teaching tips and many other helpful materials for helping autistic learners.

13 Free Autism Podcasts

The Autism podcast series (hosted by Dr. Laura Crane) aims to showcase the latest research published in Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice in a way that is accessible, easy to understand and has real world relevance.

Center on Transition Innovations (CTI)

The Virginia Department of Education to create a centralized statewide resource for educators and other stakeholders in the transition of youth with disabilities. It provides evidence-based resources and information along with emerging practices in the field.

Teacher Vision

This website supplies over 20,000 Resources for Pre-K-12 Teachers visit for your free seven day trial to explore, or learn more about their annual subscription.

ASCD SmartBrief

ASCD SmartBrief will focus on a daily “Learning and Teaching” featuring best teaching practices, learning theories and curriculum.  “Technology in the Classroom” will feature articles on how technology is changing schools and teaching.  A new “Whole Child” section on Tuesdays & Thursdays will highlight the whole child approach to education.  Visit and select the ‘Education’ category to sign up for these free newsletters.

Tech Directions

The magazine features articles that detail effective teaching practices, projects and current issues as well as classroom and lab administration. Popular columns on state-of-the art and historic technology, careers, IT, news and product announcements round out each month’s lineup.  Teachers and administrators can subscribe for a FREE subscription to Tech Directions at

Tech & Learning Magazine

Tech & Learning eNews is a twice-weekly update brought to you by Tech & Learning and  It features education news and articles and includes a varied collection of tips, advice, grants, and other information designed for anyone in a school or district who integrates technology or supports it for use in classroom instruction or administration.  It’s delivered to your inbox every Tuesday or Thursday.  Register for Tech & Learning at

Going to College

Going to College is a resource for teens with disabilities.  This Web site contains information about living college life with a disability. It’s designed for high school students and provides video clips, activities and additional resources that can help them get a head start in planning for college.  Visit to learn more about going to college and campus life.

Education Week Teacher to subscribe.

Brain Pop

At BrainPOP! You can explore the various resources created to help you get started and make integration into your classroom, school, district, or home as easy as possible. Please feel free to email or photocopy the letters included in the Spread the Word Kit to make implementation as quick and easy as possible. We also encourage you to post these materials on your district or school training website for staff.  You’ll have free access to an ever-expanding collection of great ideas, helpful tips, and invaluable tools for use in the classroom or as part of your own professional development. To subscribe go to

Getting College Right

Students with learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD need special consideration, and many colleges are not as “user-friendly” as students’ current world of services in high school. Yet these students can thrive in educational environments which not only accommodate their differences, but also understand, appreciate, and support their strengths. There is much to consider, and the wrong decision can greatly impact a student’s future.  Elizabeth Cohen offers a variety of information and publications at


Thinkport was developed by Maryland Public Television and the John Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education.  Content is organized under the categories of classroom, technology, career, and family and community.  Teachers and parents can find tips, tools, and more to help enrich educational experiences.  Visit

The Faculty Room

The Faculty Room is a space for faculty and administrators at postsecondary institutions to learn about how to create classroom environments and academic activities that maximize the learning of all students, including those with disabilities. To use this resource go to

Exceptional Nurse

Exceptional Nurse is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 resource network committed to inclusion of more people with disabilities in the nursing profession. By sharing information and resources, hopes to facilitate inclusion of students with disabilities in nursing education programs and foster resilience and continued practice for nurses who are, or become, disabled. This web site is maintained by Donna Maheady, Ed.D., ARNP, an advocate for nurses and nursing students with disabilities.


Edutopia is a comprehensive website and online community that increases knowledge, sharing, and adoption of what works in K-12 education. It emphasizes core strategies: project-based learning, comprehensive assessment, integrated studies, social and emotional learning, educational leadership and teacher development, and technology integration.

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)

The Education Resources Information Center is an online digital library of education research and information. ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. ERIC provides ready access to education literature to support the use of educational research and information to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making, and research.  To begin researching go to

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has launched a website which contains information, resources and tools related to 21st century skills.  The website describes how 21st century skills can be supported through standards, assessments, professional development, curriculum and instruction and learning environments.  It provides educators with best practices, reports, articles and research about teaching skills for the next century. has been around for two decades as the longest-standing parenting site on the Web. It aims to provide the latest news and information ranging from children’s health to homework help, plus tips on the hottest toys, media, and products for kids and families — all with a strong focus on learning.

Union Test Prep

This resource is excellent for preparing students for the ASVAB and also for other standardized and industry tests such as the SAT, CAN, CDL, PSAT, ServSafe, TABE, TEAS (nursing), etc.  This resource was recommended by a PAVESNP member.



Fast Company

75% of staff at this successful IT company are on the autism spectrum. Ultra Testing is helping lead the way for companies embracing neurodiversity: “We’re staffing these teams with fantastically capable talent who just haven’t had a fair shot before.”
Read more…

Just for the ASKing!

A monthly e-newsletter that addresses the needs of all those who strive to be instructional leaders. Sign up today to start receiving the free newsletter and view previous publications.


The LdOnline Report offers news about learning disabilities and about the latest events on their website.  Visit to explore.

National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE)

The mission of NRCCTE is to improve the engagement, achievement and transition of high school and postsecondary CTE students through technical assistance to states, professional development for CTE practitioners and dissemination of knowledge derived from scientifically-based research.  To receive their newsletter visit

Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work is an electronic newsletter of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

The newsletter and the website offer information to improve programs and services for all youth and especially youth with disabilities. For more information and to receive the newsletter, go to

The Power of Career- and Employer-Focused Training and Education

Even in good economic times, many adults — particularly those with just a high school education — struggle to get and keep jobs that pay enough to support their families and permit upward mobility. At the same time, some employers report difficulty finding people with the right skills to meet their needs. Programs that target in-demand industries or sectors and heavily involve employers in training and work-based learning are effective when well implemented. Click here to read more.

Job Accommodation Network

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.
Read more…

PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment website offers innovative tools, reliable research, and interactive training to help address the needs of families across the country.

Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work

The electronic newsletter of the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) and the NCWD/Youth website offer information to information to improve programs and services for all youth with disabilities. To view the current issue of the newsletter go to

Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN)

EARN features and recognizes employers’ successful practices for outreach, recruitment, hiring, and accommodating workers with disabilities. Visit the website to sign up and learn more about EARN services.

U.S. Department of Justice Launches Redesigned Website

In the first redesign of the ADA website since 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice launched, an information and technical assistance website on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

O*Net Goes “GREEN”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) Resource Center ( provides online access to the O*Net database, career exploration tools, and more.  In a downloadable report, green occupations are grouped into three categories:  green increased demand occupations, green enhanced skills occupations, and green new and emerging occupations.  O*NET OnLine gives job seekers and career counselors a method for exploring detailed descriptions of work in green jobs.  For example, in a new green occupations box on the O*NET OnLine home page, the Search button provides links for browsing occupations by sector, and the Learn more button links to information about green economy sectors, green occupations, ongoing activities, and online searches. Go to or O*NET OnLine at

Projections by State

The projections in BLS publications are national in scope.  But job prospects vary from one geographic area to another.  For State-specific employment information, including projections and other resources, visit America’s Career InfoNet at Click on the “State Information” link; for projections, choose “State Profile,” and select the State for which you seek information.

Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future identifies, develops, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In nearly 200 communities in 41 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers. JFF publishes a monthly newswire that is free to educators.  Visit to subscribe.

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) administers, coordinates programs that are related to adult education and literacy, career and technical education, and community colleges.  To visit the website, click here.

American Youth Policy Forum

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, professional development organization that provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on education, youth, and workforce policy at the national, state, and local levels.  Click here to read more…

The Alliance for Youth

The mission of the alliance is to connect community resources and provide opportunities for families, children and teens in order to advance healthy youth development.

National Center for Education Statistics

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally. Go to for federal education data and information.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Our mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.  To gain more information for students, teachers, parents, and health professionals go to

National Mentoring Partnership

MENTOR’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for America’s young people and to close the mentoring gap for the one in three young people growing up without this critical support.  To become a mentor or find a mentor visit

National Network for Youth

The National Network for Youth (NN4Y) is the nation’s leading organization advocating at the federal level to educate the public and policymakers about the needs of homeless and disconnected youth. We are a membership organization of service providers, state agencies, coalitions, faith-based organizations, advocates and individuals who work towards our vision of a world where vulnerable and homeless youth can escape the dangers of the streets and access safety, youth-appropriate services, hope and healing. To learn more visit

Beloit College

Beloit College publishes its Mindset List in an effort to identify a world view of 18-year-olds each fall.  The Mindset List is available online at

The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity

The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) is a consortium of state and local agencies, corporations, and national organizations. Through its four lines of business—professional development, technical assistance, research and evaluation, and advocacy—NAPE strives to achieve its mission of building educators’ capacity to implement effective solutions for increasing student access, educational equity, and workforce diversity.

Response to Intervention (RTI) Action Network

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners. Students’ progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for further research-based instruction and/or intervention in general education, in special education, or both.

Unanimous Supreme Court Expands Scope of Special Education Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a major decision expanding the scope of students’ special education rights, ruling unanimously that schools must do more than provide a “merely more than de minimis” education program to a student with a disability. Click here to read more.

New ADA Technical Assistance Document Published: Frequently Asked Questions About Service Animals and the ADA

The Department of Justice has published a new 9-page ADA technical assistance document, Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA, to further assist covered entities and people with disabilities to understand how the ADA’s service animal provisions apply to them. The document can be accessed by visiting

No Child Left Behind and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

A website was developed for No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  This site features: fact sheets, glossary of terms, newsletters, federal and state resources, and parent information.  The site is located at

PSEA: Current News in Special Education

PSEA wants to help educators and support professionals do all they can for their students by providing up-to-date resources on special education and gifted education policy, along with classroom resources and best practice information.  Click here to read more…

Penn State Online Career Library

Penn State launched the Vault Online Career Library for access to over 90 guidebooks, over 3,500 company profiles, and over 1,500 career advice articles.  You can search the library at

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Visitors to the site will be able to find what they need based on content type or based on their role in public education as a student, parent, educator or taxpayer.  The department’s website continues to be a central clearinghouse for thousands of education-related materials, including information on academic standards and curriculum, student performance data, school financial data, early childhood education resources, postsecondary and higher education resources, library services, property tax relief information and more.

Pennsylvania School Boards Association

The award-winning bimonthly magazine providing in-depth coverage of education issues.
Access here…