Updates for 2018-2019 Accessibility Features

Where can you find the updated Accessibility Features for the upcoming STAAR?

To get the most up to date information concerning STAAR testing and the Accessibility features, visit the new District and Campus Coordinator Resource online at http://txetests.com/dccr.

What is accessibility?

Ensuring that each student can interact appropriately with the content, presentation, and response mode of the test.

Assessments should allow all test takers to demonstrate their knowledge of the content being tested without the format of the assessment, non-tested language, or the type of response needed to answer the questions being barriers.

In order to meet this goal, various features and supports are made available on paper and online tests to students who use the same or similar supports during classroom instruction.

Accessibility Features

The Accessibility features can be found in the District and Campus Coordinator Resources website.

  • Available to any student who regularly benefits from the use of these procedures or materials during instruction
  • No need to document use of Accessibility Features in student paperwork, the answer document, or in the Texas Assessment Management System.
  • A student may need to complete the test in a separate setting in order to eliminate distractions to other students and to ensure that the security and confidentiality of the test is maintained.
  • A student cannot be required to use them during testing.
  • Coordinators are responsible for ensuring that test administrators understand the proper implementation of these procedures and use of these materials.

Typing a student’s response to the writing prompt into the online test for any grade 4 student who is taking STAAR writing online and cannot type proficiently has been added as an Accessibility Feature.

Eligibility for Basic Transcribing does NOT need to be determined for 4th grade students taking the STAAR writing online test and using this feature; however, the procedures for Basic Transcribing MUST be adhered to.

Stay tuned to What’s So Special… for the following blog posts:

  • Updates for 2018-2019 Designated Supports
  • New Online Features for 2019 STAAR

Have a question? Contact the Special Education Instructional Support Team at hello@acentral.education.

Register today for To Drill or Not to Drill? Math Fact Strategy Instruction!

Do your students struggle to learn math facts? In this workshop you will learn effective and efficient strategies for students to use in order to build automaticity of the addition and subtraction and multiplication and division facts. Teaching of strategies to recall basic facts builds flexible thinking in a student. Students with flexible thinking are able to see a number in several forms and use the knowledge and skills they already possess to find a solution for an unknown fact. This workshop will also provide ideas for implementation of strategy instruction, progress monitoring tips, and engaging math practice ideas to build fluency.

All attendees will receive a set of the FACTastic Math Strategy System, a comprehensive program for teaching basic math facts through strategy-based instruction. Day 1 attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for addition/subtraction and Day 2 attendees will receive the FACTastic Math Strategy System for multiplication/division. Check out this video to learn more about the FACTastic Math Strategy System.

FACTastic helps students build a solid mathematical foundation that is critical for their success. In this video, the teacher uses FACTastic cards to get students to think differently about multiplying and dividing with six. Check it out!

Register today!

Date: November 12 & 13, 2018

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Price: $90.00/day

Go to Ecampus and search for the following course numbers.

  • Day 1, November 12, Addition and Subtraction, #FA1840432
  • Day 2, November 13, Multiplication and Division, #FA1840433

For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, gretchen.kehrberg@esc13.txed.net.

STAAR Alternate 2 Updates for 2018-2019!

TEA has shared their Fall Updates for the 2018-2019 STAAR Alternate 2! 

New Information

  • There is no longer a verification window.
  • Students who transfer/move to a new district ON OR AFTER the first day of the STAAR Alternate 2 testing window do not have to be tested.
  • For the 2019 administration, student booklet images will be in full color except for historical photos and images where color is found to be distracting (e.g. multiple sets of geometric shapes).
  • Initial orders of student booklets will be shipped based on students registered during Student Data Submission window, not enrollment estimates as in previous years.
  • Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the general oath will no longer be found in the back of STAAR Alternate 2 Test Administrator Manual. The new online District and Campus Coordinator Resources (DCCR) includes the new interactive oath.
  • TEA will be requesting a waiver for the 2018-2019 school year in order to assess more than 1.0 percent of students, based on assessment data from 2017-18. This will be similar to the request made for the 2017-2018 school year.

Clarifications

  • STAAR Alternate 2 must be administered with the student booklet.
  • Use of the image cards is optional.
  • A test administrator may use image cards for multiple students if there is no evidence of reuse or that accommodations were applied (e.g. highlighting, coloring, cropping, etc.).
  • Examples of ways that “clean” image cards may be used for multiple students include pairing the cards with text and presenting answer choices one at a time.
  • New resources include the Science Vertical Alignment document and Science Curriculum Frameworks.
  • STAAR Alternate 2 is an untimed assessment, and the test does not have to be given in one session. See the full TETN presentation for timing options.
  • TEA has outlined best practices for utilizing the Preview Window. Any presentation of materials or introduction of concepts or topics prior to test administration is considered a serious irregularity.  See the full TETN presentation for more information.

Coming in October

  • Updated STAAR Alternate 2 Educator Guide
  • NEW revised Medical Exception Eligibility and No Authentic Academic Response requirements in both English and Spanish
  • Updated Instructional Terms Lists and Essence Statements
  • Revised STAAR Alternate 2 Test Administrator Manual (non-secure portion) (posted 10/01/2018)

Key Dates

  • Enrollment Window: October 22-November 9, 2018
  • Enrollment counts for large print should be submitted during the “district submits participation counts” window of October 22-November 9, 2018.
  • Preview Window: March 18-29, 2019
  • Assessment Window: April 1-23, 2019
  • Region 13 will be presenting two free workshops focusing on STAAR Alternate 2 administration

Click here to access TEA’s full TETN presentation on STAAR Alternate 2 Updates for 2018-19.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Russell at Jennifer.Russell@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5206 or Darcy Schiller at Darcy.Schiller@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5224.

Mark your calendars! Watch the September 19 TETN to receive the latest updates and training on STAAR accessibility.

Gather your team and watch together! Testing coordinators, special education teachers, assistive technology specialists, instructional technology specialists, ELL representatives, 504 coordinators, and others will learn about the latest updates and training on STAAR accessibility.

This TETN is open to districts as well as Education Service Centers. It may be viewed at Region 13 or from districts that are members of the Distance Learning Network by contacting Distance Learning at distancelearning@esc13.txed.net or 512.919.5444.

For more information, contact Robert Garcia, District Assessment, robert.garcia@esc13.txed.net

 

Date: September 19, 2018

Title: 2018-2019 Accessibility Updates
Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Audience: ESC and district personnel
Event#: 597
Summary: This presentation will provide updates to districts and Education Service Centers about the 2018-2019 Accessibility Policies.

Title: 2018 TELPAS/Alternate Assessments Fall Update
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Audience: ESC and district personnel
Event#: 598
Summary: This presentation includes the 2018 TELPAS/Alternate Assessments Fall Update and the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) Decision-Making Policies from the TEA Student Assessment Division for districts and ESCs.

 

In addition to the TETN, extended learning can be found on the Region 13 Accommodation Central website. Please join us for live, online discussions about both TETN events. To be notified of the date and time for these discussions, join the Accommodation Central Community.

 

For additional information, contact:

Student Assessment Division

1701 North Congress Avenue

Room 3-122A

Austin, Texas 78701

(512) 463-9536

student.assessment@tea.texas.gov 

TEA announces the 2018-2019 STAAR Interim Assessment Tool

On August 6, 2018 the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced the availability of the STAAR Interim Assessments.

What are the STAAR Interim Assessments?

These are free, optional, online interim assessments that align to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The interim assessments provide actionable data to help educators improve instruction as well as help predict student performance on the STAAR.

When will the STAAR Interim Assessments be available?

TEA is launching the full interim assessment tool during the 2018–2019 school year. The assessment tool will be available from the beginning of the school year through the spring.

How do I access the STAAR Interim Assessments?

No application or TEA confirmation is required to use the assessment tool; districts and charter schools just need to register students in the STAAR Assessment Management System. Registration opens August 13, 2018.

What are some key features of the STAAR Interim Assessments?

  • Two different assessment administration opportunities are available, and districts can choose when to schedule these administrations. The first assessment opportunity will be available August 31, 2018.
  • Interim assessments are available through the STAAR Online Testing Platform for:
    • grades 3–8 mathematics
    • grades 3–8 reading
    • Algebra I, English I, English II
    • Spanish grades 3–5 mathematics
    • Spanish grades 3–5 reading
  • Embedded supports have been expanded to include content and language supports, as well as text-to-speech.
  • Results from the interim assessments will be reported in the STAAR Assessment Management System and have been enhanced to include a new online reporting suite. The reporting suite contains district-level, campus-level, and student-level reports. Reports at the student level will include:
    • the student’s response to each test question
    • the TEKS student expectation for each test question
    • a pop-up window that shows the test question
    • data files and percentages representing the statistical probability of achieving “Approaches”, “Meets” and “Masters” grade level expectations on STAAR

Is there a particular value for special education teachers?

Yes! Not only do the interim assessments provide valuable data, they also help teachers determine what designated supports might be beneficial to students so they can integrate the supports into their classroom instruction. In addition, the interim assessments provide a meaningful way for students to practice with the STAAR Online features. Success on the interim assessments can help teachers and administrators make appropriate testing decisions for students.

How can I learn more about the STAAR Interim Assessments?

Over the next few weeks, ETS will be hosting a series of webinar training opportunities for the interim assessments. Recorded versions of the webinars will be posted for educators who are not able to participate. More information about the upcoming webinars and the STAAR Interim Assessments can be found on TEA’s website at Interim Assessments.

For answers to more questions read the Interim Assessment FAQ.

If you have questions about the interim assessments, contact the TEA Student Assessment Division at (512) 463-9536 or studentassessment@tea.texas.gov.

Attention Science Teachers!

 

 

 

 

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the revised test blueprints and assessed curriculum documents for science on May 22, 2018. They are posted to the TEA STAAR Science Resources webpage and include documents for Grade 5 science, Grade 5 Spanish science, Grade 8 science, and Biology.

STAAR Science Resources Webpage: https://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/staar/science/

How can I use these documents?

Together the blueprints and assessed curriculum documents provide invaluable information for science teachers. Knowing the number of total test items, reporting category totals, and the percentage of readiness standard questions versus supporting standard questions can help focus planning so you make the most of your instructional time. The documents inform science teachers not only in the testing grades, but can guide vertical alignment planning efforts across grade levels.

TEST BLUEPRINTS

 

 

 

 

 

The blueprints contain information about the STAAR tests including:

  • Total number of questions on the test
  • Number of questions from each reporting category
  • Breakdown for each category of readiness and supporting standards
  • A reminder that at least 40% of the test questions are dual coded. A dual coded question incorporates scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards along with content standards. These scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards are the process standards that focus on conducting investigations, safe lab practices, critical thinking, and using scientific tools. An example of a scientific investigation and reasoning skills standard from biology is B.3 – the student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom.

ASSESSED CURRICULUM DOCUMENTS

The assessed curriculum documents list all tested TEKS eligible for testing. For the 5th and 8th grade tests the assessed curriculum documents also indicate which lower grade supporting standards are associated with the grade level standards. For example, in 5th grade Reporting Category 3 (Earth and Space) contains TEKS 5.7 and 5.8 as well as 4.7, 4.8, 3.7, and 3.8. The assessed curriculum documents also identify which of the TEKS are readiness standards and which are supporting standards.

What’s the difference between readiness and supporting standards?

Readiness Standards

(60-65% of questions)

Supporting Standards

(35-40% of questions)

• emphasize the integration and application of major scientific concepts

are essential for success in the current grade or course

• are important for preparedness for the next grade or course

• support college and career readiness

• necessitate in-depth instruction

• address significant content and concepts

• focus on content that supports fundamental scientific principles

• introduced in the current grade or course but may be emphasized in a subsequent year

• reinforced in the current grade or course but may be emphasized in a previous year

• play a role in preparing students for the next grade or course but not a central role

• address more narrowly defined content and concepts

 

Is there a particular value for special education teachers?

Yes! Not only can these resources guide planning for teaching and student support in any classroom setting, but they can also inform ARD committee members writing science goals. When analyzing the needs of the individual student in science, consider content standards AND process standards and remember the balance of readiness and supporting standards.

What should I do with this information now?

In addition to helping you plan for the 18-19 school year, these documents can help determine your summer professional development. Is there a specific reporting category you want to focus on? Do you need more training regarding the scientific investigation and reasoning skills standards?

For more information about Region 13 science resources and workshops, contact Amanda Betz, 512-919-5373, amanda.betz@esc13.txed.net.

If you have questions about the blueprints and assessed curriculum documents, contact the TEA Science Team, Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division, (512) 463-9581.

Teacher Access to the STAAR Student Portal

Now teachers can access the STAAR Student Portal, which was launched last summer by TEA as a tool to provide parents quick access to their student’s STAAR results. In addition to test results the portal also provides parents information such as:

  • Year-over-year growth information
  • Individual student responses to actual test items
  • Student expectations covered by the items
  • Wrong answer rationales

TEA created sample logins so teachers can explore the portal for themselves. The logins can be found in the Student Portal Generic Credentials for STAAR Grades 5 and 8 document.

Teachers who want to use the tool for planning immediate remediation can work with district testing coordinators who are authorized to provide item responses for each student in the teacher’s classroom.

To begin exploring the portal go to TexasAssessment.com. If you have questions or need more information please call TEA’s Student Assessment Division at (512) 463-9536.

Note: Since the portal includes real test content that has not been released yet, educators should not duplicate or disseminate any test items until they are formally released by TEA in August.

 

New STAAR Alternate 2 Participation Requirements Take Effect May 1, 2018!

In a TETN presentation on April 25, 2018, new STAAR Alternate 2 participation requirements for the 2019 administration were announced.  The newly revised Participation Requirements take effect May 1, 2018.  They include changes to the number of requirements (there are now five instead of four), and clarifying language that defines a significant cognitive disability. The participation requirements state that a determination of significant cognitive disability is made by the ARD committee and based on an evaluation performed by a qualified evaluation team.  The disability must significantly impact the student’s intellectual potential AND adaptive behavior and be documented in the student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Clarifying language and examples have been added to paint a more complete picture of what “specialized, extensive supports” and “intensive, individualized instruction” may look like for a student with a significant cognitive disability when accessing the grade-level curriculum and setting.  Additionally, the language of the previous participation requirement which states that students taking the STAAR Alternate 2 must access and participate in the grade-level TEKS through prerequisite skills has been expanded to include descriptions of how a student with a significant cognitive disability is most likely to access those prerequisite skills during instruction.  The participation requirement now states that a student with a significant cognitive disability accessing the TEKS through prerequisite skills that are “significantly below grade level instruction” requires “a highly specialized educational program with intensive supports and modifications to the curriculum.”

The newly added, fifth participation requirement has been pulled from the previous assurances section to emphasize that the STAAR Alternate 2 assessment determination must be based on the student’s significant cognitive disability and not on any other factors such as racial or economic background, excessive absences, location of service delivery, English learner status or anticipated difficulties with student behavior.

Beginning on May 1, 2018, admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committees will use the new STAAR Alternate 2 participation requirements for determining assessment decisions for the 2018-19 school year.  ARD committees that used the previous participation requirements for the 2018-19 assessment decisions prior to May 1st, 2018 may move forward with assessment decisions they have already made.  However, TEA recommends that campus personnel review the new participation requirements and determine if revisions should be made to previous assessment decisions.

The review and revision of the participation requirements is part of TEA’s response to state assessment requirement in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Any state assessing more than 1% of students with an alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards is required to submit an annual waiver application.  The Texas plan and waiver for this year was approved.  While the 1 percent rate is a statewide requirement, LEAs above the rate may expect additional oversight and support from TEA’s Student Assessment Division.

Visit TEA’s website or click on the following link to view the new 2018-19 STAAR Alternate 2 Participation Requirements.

For more information, please contact TEA’s Student Assessment Division at assessment.specialpopulations@tea.texas.gov  or ESC Region 13 Education Specialist, Jennifer Russell, at jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net

STAAR Alternate 2 Updates

TEA has shared their Fall Update: New Features of the STAAR Alternate 2 for 2017-2018! 

  • Large print student booklets are now available and can be ordered by districts through the enrollment collection process.
  • Student booklets will feature limited color images.
  • An image card set will come with each standard size student booklet.  Cards contain the same images that appear in the student booklet.
  • An Exit Survey must be completed upon the submission of all student responses and can be found in the Assessment Management System.

Revisions

  • Medical Exemption Form:  Under the section, Specific Medical Condition Eligibility Criteria, the form now states that a student meets the criteria for medical exemption if they are unable to respond to test questions due to a “terminal or degenerative illness.”  Previously, students met the criteria if they were unable to answer a test question due to a “chronic illness.”
  • In The Test Administrator Manual, under the Medical Exemption score coding section, what previously read, “The student is receiving non-academic homebound services due to medical issues and does not receive academic instruction,” now reads, “The student is unable to receive sufficient or consistent homebound services due to medical issues.”
  • Some prerequisite skills have been added to the Curriculum Framework and Vertical Alignment documents.
  • The “Confidential Student Report” will now be known as the “STAAR Alternate 2 Student Report Card,” and will include parent resources.

Key Dates

  • NEW Enrollment Collection: October 23rd-November 10th, 2017
  • October 20th- Essence Statements and Test Blueprints will be posted (projected)
  • Last Date for STAAR Alternate 2 Test Administrator Training: March 16, 2018
  • Preview Window: March 19-30, 2018
  • Assessment Window: April 2-20, 2018
  • Verification Window: April 23 & 24, 2018
  • Students who transfer/move to a new district AFTER the first day of the STAAR Alternate 2 testing window (April 2nd, 2018) do not have to be tested.
  • Region 13 will be presenting two free workshops focusing on STAAR Alternate 2 administration

To learn more about these updates, please join the Accommodation Central Community for a Live Chat on October 31st from 3:30 – 4:00.  Visit Accommodation Central to reserve your spot.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Russell, Low Incidence Disabilities Education Specialist, 512-919-5206 or email jennifer.russell@esc13.txed.net 

Darcy Schiller, Autism Education Specialist, 512-919-5224 or email darcy.schiller@esc13.txed.net

2018 STAAR Accommodation Updates

TEA has shared updated information on 2018 statewide assessment accommodation policies.

New for 2018:

Accessibility Features:

  • A sticky notes tool was added to the online system.
  • The use of amplification and projection devices was changed from designated supports to accessibility features.

Designated Supports:

  • Content and language supports were combined into one embedded support.
  • A spell check feature was added as an online embedded support for eligible students.
  • Photocopy is no longer an individual support, but has been included within the Large Print and Other policy documents.
  • Authority for decision for math manipulatives and supplemental aids has been expanded to include additional campus level teams (e.g., RTI team, student assistance team).

Policy:

  • Dictionaries for reading and writing in grades 3-5 are no longer a designated support. They are now part of the STAAR Dictionary Policy.
  • The STAAR Calculator Policy now includes the use of calculators for grade 8 science.
  • For students who take the braille test and require an extra day, refer to the “General Instructions for Administering Braille State Assessments.” TEA approval is not required.
  • For grades 2–12 TELPAS writing, an Accommodation Request Form does not need to be submitted for a student that meets the eligibility criteria for Complex Transcribing.

Other:

  • The “GA” accommodation bubble on answer documents was changed to “DS.”
  • The STAAR practice now includes 2017 released tests.
  • The STAAR Accessibility Team at TEA’s Student Assessment Division has a new email, specialpopulations@tea.texas.gov.

Visit the TEA Accommodation Resources webpage for updated policy documents and training materials.

To learn more about these updates, please join us on Thursday, September 21st from 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM. To reserve your spot in the live chat visit the Accommodation Central Community webpage.

For additional information contact kim.west@esc13.txed.net.