STAAR:Allowed Procedures &Materials

Procedures/materials that are NOT considered Accommodations

Did you know that there are procedures and materials that will provide support to students when they take the STAAR test?

We want to let teachers know that there are procedures and test materials that ALL students can use that are not considered accommodations. We also want teachers to know that the procedures and materials should not be foreign to the student on the day of the test. A student cannot be required to use these during testing. It will be the student's choice to use the materials or make certain allowable requests on the day of testing. So, students should be practicing now to determine if they will be beneficial on testing days or not.


So what are those procedures and materials that ALL students can use? They are listed below. If you have any questions, please see your campus testing coordinator.

Allowable materials.....

Student can be provided:


Scratch paper

Color Overlay

Blank place marker

Magnifying device

Highlighters, colored pencils, or crayons


Please note... they need to know how to use those tools--use those tools on a regular basis. They can each support student achievement. Scratch Paper...students can be taught how to draw a graphic organizer so that they can plan as they write. For math, they can draw a number line or fraction pieces. A Blank Place Marker... this can be an index card or even a sticky note. They can use this to make notes on as they are reading... and it also helps them with focusing and not loosing their place as they read.

A Magnifying Device... this one is really unique and not a normal tool for students to use. However, they are available. There are different types...some cover the whole page and other just cover a few lines. Finally, Highlighters... great tool if students use them intentionally. For them to be used intentionally, they need to be shown how they can support learning...for example, they can highlight a key word in a math question that helps them understand what operation that they need to use.

Tools to minimize distractions...

Students who regularly use tools to help with attention can use those tools on the state assessment test. We have a couple of suggestions--


Velcro! A small piece of velcro placed right under the desk or table that the student uses can help them if they need to fidget while working.


A Small Pom-Pom! They are sold at Walmart and are super cheap! They are tiny and can be used as a small fidget toy for them to hold while working...and they won't bother anyone because they do not make any noise!


What about headphones (not plugged in to anything)? Not many students would agree to use them because of the attention they would provide...but maybe if students understood the benefits of wearing them and they were available to all students throughout the year? or maybe if you had a quiet reading time and you wore them for a few minutes to model? We know...that might work for 3rd grade students. Just something to think about...

Reminding students to stay on task

Reminding students to stay on task may look different depending on the grade level.
Elementary students will probably test with their teachers...so they should be used to the cues. Middle school and high school students may not necessarily have one of their teachers as an administrator, but should still be used to be reminded staying on task, if needed.

What are the verbal, physical or visual cues that you use to encourage student to remain on task? We all know how important it is for the student to be engaged in their learning and on the task that they are completing. Do they know why it is important?

Remember the tests are timed and it is our job to keep them on task during instruction and on testing days.

Individual and small group instruction

This is tricky... and we all know why--Available Staff. So, please be cognizant of this. Students served by special education or 504 may already need small group due to certain accommodations or requirements. So, if you have a student that may need to test in a small group make sure you are working with your campus administrators before testing.

Allowing the student to read the test aloud to facilitate comprehension

Yes, this would be very distracting and we do not have the staff available to allow students to test by themselves so that they can read out loud. However... we have some alternative ways that students can do this when they are in the class.

1. A whisper phone (most kids find this a little troublesome because they have to hold it up for so long)


2. Ear plugs/Earbuds (if a student puts earplugs/earbuds in and then BARELY whispers to him/herself, it sounds like they are talking loudly)

Help with directions...

It is important that all students understand the directions for the test. Directions may be translated into the student's native language for an English Language Learner. This would only be the DIRECTIONS!
Directions may also be signed for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Also, the writing prompt may be read aloud or signed to any student that requests it be read. It may not be translated as it is the writing prompt and not directions.

3rd Grade Math Teachers--READING ASSISTANCE can be provided to ALL kids

To clarify, the students can have words or phrases read to them. So start reading! Have them practice now. As they are taking a test, or completing independent work, go around and pick a phrase or word to read to them so that they know that it is okay for them to have that support/help. We want them to know know that they can have that help on testing day...so let's practice providing reading assistance!

More Information...and more training coming!

This is just small amount of information that we wanted to share now. These procedures and materials can be used all the time...and are best practices. We wanted you to know that the ones listed above can be used on the day of STAAR.


There will be more training later in the year, but if you have any questions...SISD's testing coordinators are AWESOME so you can ask them and they can help. Also...we have embedded a link to TEA's website if you would like to take a look around at the Accommodation Resource page.