Spelling Assistance Accommodation Feedback

As we visit with teachers around Region 13 this summer, we notice that many of their students are receiving the Spelling Assistance accommodation for statewide assessments. We would like to share with you some of their experiences.

As you know, the primary use of accommodations is during classroom instruction. We have heard several different approaches to implementing this accommodation and would like to share them below but first, the specifics:

This accommodation is for use on the English Language Arts assessment if students meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • ˆreceives special education or Section 504 services, ˆ
  • routinely, independently, and effectively uses this accommodation during classroom instruction and testing,
  • andˆ is capable of organizing and developing ideas and understands the basic function and use of written language conventions (e.g., sentence structures, irregular verbs) but has a disability that is so severe that he or she cannot apply basic spelling rules and/or word patterns (e.g., silent letters, base words with affixes) to written responses.

This accommodation may include ONLY

  • frequently misspelled word list (e.g., student-made, teacher-made, commercially produced)
  • spell check function on a word processor
  • pocket spellchecker
  • word-prediction software
  • text-to-speech software or devices (i.e., software or devices that read aloud student-generated text)• speech-to-text software (i.e., software that converts the student’s spoken language into print)

Teachers who implemented this accommodation by distributing pre-made lists of words to students reported minimal to medium effectiveness. Teachers who implemented this accommodation by allowing students to use the spell check function on a word processor reported medium effectiveness but mentioned a number of challenges in successful student use.

Teachers who implemented this accommodation by allowing students to create their own frequently misspelled word list, which they carried with them in a notebook and used across content areas during instruction, reported maximum effectiveness and were eager to start implementing this accommodation right from the start of the coming school year. Students who take personal responsibility for their own accommodations are more likely to put them to use in an effective manner. One teacher compared this approach to allowing each student to maintain “his own personal word wall”.

For more information on Spelling Assistance and all other allowable accommodations, visit http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/accommodations/staar-telpas/

Please share your own experiences with the Spelling Assistance accommodation in the comments below.

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