Special Services Update

2/5/16

Getting Ready for PARCC

As we prepare to administer the PARCC test in March, there are some slight changes to the accessibility features and accommodations that I'd like to share with you.


Changes to Accessibility Features Available to All Students


1. Bookmark: the "flag items for review" feature has been changed to "bookmark".

2. Color contrast: changes to colors available (must be identified in advance).

3. General masking: this is a new accessibility feature that will enable students to create on-screen masks that can be resized by the student to cover content on the screen.

4. Highlight tool: changes to the colors available.

5. Line reader tool: the line reader tool name has been changed to line reader mask tool, available in the drop down menu. The student can use the line reader tool to assist in reading by raising and lowering the tool for each line of text onscreen.

6. Spell check: Students can use an embedded spell check to review written responses for misspelled words.


Changes to Accommodations (for students with IEPS/504/and ELL students:


1. Screen reader version: for optimal use PARCC recommends using JAWS 15 with Firefox.

2. Calculators that can be used on Non-Calculator Sections: grades 3-6 can uses a four-function with square root and percentage functions calculator. Grade 8 can use a scientific calculator. Grades 9-12 can use graphing calculators with functionalities consistent with TI-84 or similar models.

3. Clarification on allowable mathematical tools: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division charts, 100 chart, two color chips, counters and counting chips, square tiles, base 10 blocks may be used.

4. Monitor test response: The test administrator may now monitor proper placement of student responses, to prevent the student from marking a response in the wrong place.

5. Word to word dictionary: updated list of approved bilingual word-to-word dictionaries is available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/mcas/testadmin/lep-bilingual-dictionary.pdf

6. General administrations directions: are now available in Spanish, Arabic, Navajo, Chinese Mandarin, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Polish, Haitian Creole, Urdu and Russian.


Test Administration Guidance:

Additionally, there is enhanced guidance that is available for test administrators for successful administration of the accessibility features and accommodations for PARCC, including what steps to take before, during, and after the test. As we get closer to administration this information will be provided to you.


What Hasn't Changed:

The decision making process for PARCC accommodations hasn't changed, and it begins with the expectation that all students will achieve grade level standards and the assurance that all students are provided access to grade level curriculum. IEP teams need to learn about the different accessibility features and accommodations, select the appropriate accessibility features and accommodations for students, provide them during testing, then evaluate and update as needed.


Your Tool of the Week is a list of possible student behaviors and recommended teacher responses before, during and after a crisis episode, in order to help teachers manage a crisis as well as to help both teachers and students process the incident. You can find it at: http://www.tooloftheweek.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/TOW-2-1-16-Physcial-Restraint-and-Seclusion-in-Schools.pdf


Jennifer F Connolly, PhD

Director of Special Services