2011-2012 STAAR Accommodations Update #6

The Dictionary

The dictionary is now considered a type 2 accommodation aimed at helping students with disabilities to facilitate comprehension of unfamiliar words.  There are a few differences in how students with disabilities are able to use a dictionary on STAAR than previously allowed on TAKS.

We’ve listed four of the major highlights below.

Highlight #1
The use of a dictionary is now ONLY allowed as an accommodation for grades 3-5 Reading, STAAR, STAAR Spanish, and STAAR Modified assessments.  The 2010-2011 TAKS Accommodations Manual lists the dictionary as a Supplemental Aid, which can be used on the following TAKS Accommodated and TAKS-Modified assessments: Reading/ELA, Social Studies, and Science.

The dictionary now stands on it’s own as an accommodation and must be noted separately from the use of a Supplemental Aid for STAAR.

Highlight #2
Sometimes the dictionary is a required tool that must be made available during specific STAAR assessments.  In this situation, there isn’t a need to identify the dictionary as a necessary accommodation on the students IEP or IAP paperwork for assessment purposes.  A dictionary must be made available to all students taking ALL of the assessments below.

  • STAAR Reading assessments (including STAAR Modified) at grades 6–8
  • STAAR Writing assessments (including STAAR Modified) at grade 7
  • STAAR English I, II, and III Reading and Writing assessments (including STAAR Modified)
Highlight #3
Only students that meet ALL of the eligibility criteria below are eligible to use this accommodation during the available grades 3-5 STAAR Reading assessments.
A student may use this accommodation if he or she…
  • receives special education or Section 504 services,
  • routinely, independently, and effectively uses this accommodation during classroom instruction and testing, and
  • has a disability that affects memory retrieval and/or decoding skills.
Highlight #4
Teacher-made or student-made dictionaries are NEVER allowed.  Only dictionaries that have been commercially produced are allowed for student use.  Electronic dictionaries that are able to read the text to the student are now an allowable accommodation.
Upcoming Post…
In an upcoming post we will share some resources focusing on how to teach students to use a dictionary successfully.  If you already have some great ideas on how to teach students to use a dictionary please leave them in the comments section below.

3 Replies to “2011-2012 STAAR Accommodations Update #6”

    1. Thanks for the comment Monica. I went back to the STAAR Accommodations home page to double-check their information. At the tope of their page it does list STAAR Spanish as one of the available assessments. The Dictionary accommodation page also lists STAAR Spanish grades 3-5 reading as an available set of assessments for dictionary use.

      We really appreciate the inquiry, there’s so much new information, it’s nice to have folks in the field double-checking our work.

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