Math Mail from ESC2

December 2021

Holiday Recipe for STAAR Success

Now is the time to start cooking up a plan for using SUPPLEMENTAL AIDS and other LOCALLY APPROVED DESIGNATED SUPPORTS to heat up your STAAR results this spring. Warm your oven to 360 degrees, mix all ingredients, and bake until the learning comes full circle. This recipe may appear long and difficult, but can be very simple with proper preparation.


1 thoughtful caring educator

4 heaping spoons of attentiveness

6 ounces of allowable supports

5 cups of routine classroom use and practice

1 pinch of documentation

1 package of approval committee

Classroom Implementation to taste

Serves All Students


1. Gather: Identify students who need support

There are all kinds of supports available to students on the STAAR exam. If you notice a student who is struggling in class, they may benefit from the use of available supports even if they are not receiving special education or Section 504 services and accommodations. Some supports require approval from TEA while others only require local approval (RTI).

One notable category of available supports are the Supplemental Aids which can be made available to ANY struggling student who regularly uses the support in class. Supplemental Aids should not be used by students who are not struggling academically and should not be provided as general support for all students. If the permitted supplemental aids are not adequate or appropriate for the individual student, there are other types of supports available.

Supplemental aids should be individualized for each student. Students have different strengths and needs, so it is not appropriate to provide all students the exact same set of supplemental aids. For more information on designated supports and other types of support available please see the 2021-2022 STAAR Accessibility Educator Guide or TEA’s Accommodation Resources webpage.

2. Combine: Routinely use supports in class

Implement the chosen supplemental aid routinely in class. Begin by selecting an appropriate aid. Allow time for exploration and play, setting clear rules and expectations for when it can be used. Demonstrate use of the aid and provide explicit instructions for use and corrective feedback as needed. Be sure to assign and monitor independent student work. Record progress and effectiveness of use to share with the campus approval committee.


3. Mix: Obtain campus approval and documentation


A student may use supplemental aids if he/she routinely, independently, and effectively uses it during classroom instruction and classroom testing. Document student use in order to support the committee decision.


TEA does not review and approve supplemental aids. Districts must determine locally if a supplemental aid meets the guidelines stated in the TEA policy document for the Supplemental Aids accommodation. The decision should be based on the eligibility criteria and aimed at addressing a student's consistent academic struggle in a specific area even after intensive instruction and remediation. Supplemental aids should not be used by students who are not struggling academically and should not be provided as general support for all students.
Eligibility is determined by the appropriate team of people at the campus level.

  • For a general education student not receiving special education or Section 504 services
    The decision is made by the appropriate team of people at the campus level (e.g., RTI team, student assistance team) based on the eligibility criterion and is documented according to district policies.
  • For a student receiving Section 504 services
    The decision is made by the Section 504 committee based on the eligibility criteria and is documented in the student’s IAP
  • For a student receiving special education services
    The decision is made by the ARD committee based on the eligibility criteria and is documented in the student’s IEP.
  • In the case of an EL with a disability
    The decision is made by the applicable group above in conjunction with the student’s LPAC. The decision is to be documented by the LPAC in the student’s permanent record file and by the applicable group above.

4. Bake: Provide supports on STAAR Exam

If the designated support is not embedded in the online testing platform, the test administrator will provide the supports to the student on test day. For example, a student needing supplemental aids will be provided the type of assistance he or she routinely uses in the classroom, since supplemental aids are not embedded into the online system.

A student who uses this designated support may complete the test in a separate setting to eliminate distractions to other students and to ensure the confidentiality of the test.The test administrator may not remind the student to use the supplemental aid or explain to the student the information included on the supplemental aid.

5. Enjoy: Experience improved student performance

Keep in mind

  • You know your students and what they need.
  • Follow the recipe to help your struggling students achieve more.
  • The sooner you prepare the more success your students will enjoy!

Want more delicious treats?

Check out the links below.
ESC-2 STAAR Workshop for Math Grades 3-5

Great for teachers of all experience levels. Workshop participants will spend time exploring many TEA resources that give teachers insight into the format and content of the exam. Participants will also spend time reviewing allowable accommodations

TEA’s Accommodation Resources webpage

Texas Education Agency (TEA) accessibility policies may apply to ANY student taking State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) or Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) depending on his or her needs.

Accommodation Central

We want ALL students to learn and succeed. This site provides everything you need in one place: accommodations that support student learning, relevant examples, steps for implementation, practical tips, and details about state testing allowability.