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Pattern and Structure Assessment (PASA)

An assessment program for early mathematics (F–2)
Publisher: ACER Press, 2015


Range: Foundation to Year 2

Purpose: To provide teachers with diagnostic information about how children think about mathematical ideas to inform teaching

Administration: 15–20 minutes (individual)


Pattern and Structure Assessment (PASA) is an innovative way of investigating young children’s understanding of Mathematics.

PASA seeks to find out how children think about mathematical ideas underlying tasks, rather than focusing on what mathematics children can and cannot do (like PAT Maths assesses). By knowing how children approach tasks, teachers can plan and scaffold individual learning experiences.

PASA consists of three one-on-one assessments designed for children in the first three years of formal schooling (Foundation–Year 2). Each PASA assessment consists of approximately 15 tasks, covering a wide variety of ideas that underlie strands of the early Australian mathematics curriculum.

Key Features

  • Provides information on the strengths and weaknesses of children at either end of the ability range.
  • PASA results have been equated to the PAT Maths scale.
  • Scale scores that allow teachers to compare results regardless of the year level and the specific booklet completed.
  • Common scale for the three assessments allows teachers to track progress over time.
  • Collaboration between Macquarie University authors Joanne Mulligan and Michael Mitchelmore and ACER.


  • Provides in-depth diagnostic information about a child’s mathematical thinking.
  • Allows teachers to plan and scaffold individual learning.
  • PASA and PAT Maths equating allows for comparison of how young children are thinking mathematically and what they are achieving.
  • Electronic score conversion and reporting of results.

Suitable Year Levels

  • Response Booklet F: Start of Foundation Year
  • Response Booklet 1: End of Foundation Year, start of Year 1
  • Response Booklet 2: End of Year 1, start of Year 2

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