Special Education Weekly Update

January 13, 2016

State Assessments and Section 12


You may recall that last year in preparation for PARCC that accessibility and accommodations for testing changed particularly for how and when we provide a student with an ELA read aloud and the use of calculators. This new way of thinking about accessibility and accommodations is here to stay and is consistent with universal design, high yield strategies, and best practice.

Ohio’s goals for promoting student access include:

● Applying principles of universal design to the development of the assessments such that the assessments provide the greatest amount of accessibility and minimize test related barriers for ALL students;

● Measuring the full range of complexity of the standards;

● Leveraging technology for the accessible delivery of the assessments;

● Building accessibility throughout the test without sacrificing assessment validity; and

● Using a combination of accessible design and accessible technologies from the inception of items and tasks.

You can access the Accessibility Manual by clicking here. Principals and case managers need to use this document to understand and determine the accessibility and accommodations of assessments. Please utilize Appendix B for helping to identify students who may be eligible to use the read aloud accommodation on the ELA assessment.

Section 12

Last year case managers were directed to revise Section 12 of the IEP of students to accurately reflect the use of read aloud and calculators per the directive of testing policy from the state. Last year, the language case managers were directed to use for the reading portion in Section 12 of the IEP was specific to the PARCC. Due to the fact that the PARCC is now a historical point of reference, it is important that the language in this portion of the IEP is non-specific to a particular test much like how we do not make specific reference to certain curricular programs. Below is the guidance for how to revise this portion of the IEP for students that receive and do not receive the read aloud and for students that use a calculator.

Below is language for a student that gets some read aloud accommodations throughout the school day for various reasons however not for the state assessment.

Directions and questions will be read for classroom and district wide assessments but not for the state assessments.

Below is language for a student that receives a read aloud accommodations all the time.

Read aloud on state assessment (entire test).

Below is language for a student that uses a calculator.

Use of a calculation device or fact chart (addition/subtraction/multiplication/division charts) except on the non-calculator sections of the state wide mathematics assessments.

Remember that the read aloud accommodation on the ELA test is really about accessibility meaning that if the student did not receive the accommodation that they would not be able to participate in the assessment. It is a read everything or nothing accommodation. If a student can read there needs to be significant reasons for the accommodation being provided because once the test is read then reading is no longer being assessed; listening is being assessed.

Below is text extracted right from the Accessibility Manual for the Read Aloud on the ELA assessment. Also, remember the read aloud accommodation in other content areas is an accessibility feature for all students and acceptable because it does not change what the test is assessing.

“Read-aloud” as a general term is when a student is administered a test via text-to-speech, human read-aloud, screen reader or sign language interpreter.

The read-aloud accommodation for the English language arts test is intended to provide access for a very small number of students to printed or written texts in the English language arts tests. These students have print-related disabilities and otherwise would be unable to participate in the state tests because their disabilities severely limit or prevent them from decoding, thus accessing printed text.

This accommodation is not intended for students reading somewhat (only moderately) below grade level. In making decisions on whether to provide a student with this accommodation, IEP teams and 504 plan coordinators should consider whether the student has:

 A disability that severely limits or prevents him or her from accessing printed text, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (for example, the student is unable to decode printed text);


 Blindness or a visual impairment and has not learned (or is unable to use) Braille;


 Deafness or hearing loss and is severely limited or prevented from decoding text due to a documented history of early and prolonged language deprivation.

Before listing the accommodation in the student’s IEP or 504 plan, teams/coordinators also should consider whether:

 The student has access to printed text during routine instruction through a reader or other spoken-text audio format or sign language interpreter;

 The student’s inability to decode printed text or read Braille is documented in evaluation summaries from locally administered diagnostic assessments;

 The student receives ongoing, intensive instruction and/or interventions in foundational reading skills to continue attaining the important college and career-ready skill of independent reading.

IEP teams and 504 plan coordinators make decisions about who receives this accommodation. Schools should use a variety of

sources as evidence (including state assessments, district assessments and one or more locally administered diagnostic assessments or other evaluation).

For students who receive this accommodation, no claims should be inferred regarding the student’s ability to demonstrate foundational reading skills.

Please call Bethany, Drew, or Andy if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. Thank you!

Special Education Department

The Special Education Department in the Strongsville City Schools is a proactive group of highly qualified and driven educators that are dedicated to serve students with disabilities with passion and hard work. We provide professional development and innovative training to all levels of staff to ensure outstanding service to our students. We have high expectations at every level and work continuously to improve our instructional practices, leadership, and collaborative partnerships with parents and families.