Here are four cool things teachers and administrators have been doing to help students feel better prepared for STAAR Online:
- Print a poster-size picture from the Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program (like the image below) to make explicit connections to what the tool will look like and where to find it on the screen even when using paper-based instruction. It might sound like this:”Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that are you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”
“Students, right now we’re using our red pens to cross out options we know are not correct. During STAAR Online, you will find the eliminator tool at the top (teacher points to the X icon),”
or “Class, I want you to take your highlighters out and mark the key words. During STAAR Online, you will do the same thing by selecting the word with your mouse to make the highlight option show up.”
or “Guys, as you read raise your hand to ask me about words or phrases that you don’t understand. During STAAR online anytime you see a blue underlined word/phrase or an arrow button, be sure to click on it to see the helpful clues.”
2. Place a page protector or clear contact paper over students’ monitors, turning the screen and cover into scratch paper. Students use the same math strategies as they do on paper but can generalize this skill into an online environment. Love it!
3. Eanes ISD and Desmos collaborated to develop a “test mode” for the popular iOS and Chrome app providing a secure, allowable graphing calculator to use on STAAR paper or online.
4. Campuses and districts have decided to replace one of their district benchmark tests with the STAAR Interim Assessment. Students get to practice using the same supports they’ll see on STAAR and districts get to plan from the data they receive.
If you know of a different STAAR prep “hack,” please share! Contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net
You’ve determined that STAAR Online will best match the accommodations your student receives in class that have been successful. You’ve provided your student time to take the STAAR tutorials and practice tests, and even helped personalize settings as part of using the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist.
Now you’re wondering how the in-class supports you’re providing, traditionally without technology, will transfer into an online environment. How can we accomplish and duplicate these by using technology in class to improve the odds that students will use the online supports come test day?
First, we can put ourselves in a mindset of normalizing the use of digital accommodations. After all, how many of us use spellcheck or ebooks and audiobooks?
Regarding practice opportunities for Content and Language Supports provided primarily through rollovers and pop-ups, really it’s as easy as the ideas demonstrated in this table.
|Content & Language Supports…
|provide clarifying information for a graphic organizer, political cartoon, or map
provide a visual representation in the selection, question, answer choices, or in the writing prompt by adding graphics, photographs, or animations
isolate specific text or information in a selection that is referenced in the question or answer choices
reword complex question or answer choices to condense text
define or clarify construct-irrelevant words, phrases, and sentences using plain language, synonyms, definitions, examples, and consistent language
reorganize and simplify historical excerpts, respecting the TEKS based academic vocabulary
|get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a map, graphic organizer, or cartoon
get materials into a digital format and insert a hyperlink to a picture, video, etc.
bookmarking the selection and hyperlinking to that selection in the answer choice
use a website called Rewordify -this tool simplifies difficult English words
explicitly teach students to use the built-in “synonym” tool within MSWord, a thesaurus add-on in Google Docs, or a thesaurus Chrome extension by selecting the word, right clicking and choosing “find synonym.”
use websites such as Newsela or CommonLit which automatically levels text, and has text-to-speech and other STAAR-like features.
Regarding practice for oral administration via text-to-speech (TTS), really it’s about providing lots of opportunities for students to experience text-to-speech and any form of TTS practice is useful!
Think about tools you already have. Many of these have text-to-speech:
- Bookshare or Learning Ally’s books
Text-to-speech options are available everywhere, wherever there is text to read, it’s just a google search away! Or an email question away… don’t forget to ask your campus edTech/AT/librarian in case there is a district license to a commercial product that you didn’t know about (e.g. Snap&Read Universal, Read&Write for Google, Kurzweil, etc.).
Of course, using worksheets and other paper materials is problematic for TTS. Here are some steps to consider: are your instructional materials available in a digital format (.rtf, .doc, .pdf)? If not – scan, copy and paste, or type it manually. Not enough devices? Figure out grouping, stations, splitters for headsets, etc.
Using these tools routinely will help build stamina, familiarity, and good habits with online content and supports. In the same way, the more you can embed digital formative or summative assessment using online tools such as Google Forms and even Kahoot, the more prepared your students will be.
If your instruction looks like this (and we know for many students it does)…
…then your student(s) should be taking STAAR online!
Why? Because these supports are only available in the STAAR Online Content and Language Supports.
Sure, you might be thinking about the potential for technology glitches. Online testing might feel risky, but the benefits outweigh the risks. When students receive the same supports on STAAR that they need and routinely use in the classroom their outcomes will benefit.
For another perspective, please click to see this side-by-side document: STAAR Online Benefits. Then, get with your team to consider classroom instruction, student data from STAAR Online released tests, interim assessments, and other online assignments to make the best decision for each student.
Please let us know if we can be of any assistance. Contact Kim.West@esc13.txed.net
If so, it’s important that they familiarize themselves with the online testing environment and embedded tools. One great way to do this is to use the STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist while completing the STAAR online tutorials and practice tests.
STAAR Online Features & Supports Checklist
It’s important to explicitly teach students how to use the features and supports available as part of the STAAR online assessment. This checklist breaks down the general navigation tools, accessibility features, and designated supports so you can target your students’ practice time and track their progress toward proficiency. The checklist can also be used to keep track of student preferences, such as the speed of the text-to-speech and color background. In addition to helping students, the checklist is a great tool for parents to learn about the STAAR online assessment. Parents can download the STAAR Online Testing Platform to their home computer and practice with their child.
STAAR Online Tutorials
The tutorials are the first step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The tutorials show students how to navigate through the test, respond to the different question types, and access the available tools. In addition, short videos illustrate how to use the various features and tools. Tutorials are available for various grades/subjects and courses.
STAAR Online Practice Tests
The practice tests are the second step for students to learn about the online testing environment. The practice tests are released STAAR test forms that have been previously administered. These tests provide students with an opportunity to interact with the test interface, respond to questions, and locate and use available tools. Practice tests are available for various grades/subjects and courses.
The STAAR Online Testing Platform operates through a secure browser that must be installed on a desktop or tablet in order to access the tutorials and practice tests. Links to the secure browsers are available at https://www.texasassessment.com/technology/.
The Educator Guide to Accessibility within the STAAR Program provides information about the features and supports that make the STAAR accessible to all students. The guide also includes specific examples of the online features and supports offered on STAAR online.
For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, email@example.com.
There are many aspects to writing a complete Individualized Education Program (IEP). This one-day training will focus on writing powerful Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statements which will lead to student-focused goals. Participants will leave with easy-to-use tools to support their efforts for well-written IEPs. This intensive instruction includes participant practice and reflection. This training is for ANY special education teacher (PPCD to high school) who writes IEPs.
IEP Best Practices: PLAAFP and Goal Writing
February 12, 2018
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Register for this workshop, SP1939270, in Ecampus.
For additional information, contact Kim West at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you looking for examples of supplemental aids to use in your classroom? You’re in luck! The Accommodation Central website now has downloadable supplemental aids in both a Teach and Test version for all of the TEA allowable supplemental aids. Examples include mnemonics, graphic organizers, math charts, and more!
Follow these steps to access the resources.
- Go to the Accommodation Central website.
- Type supplemental aids in the search box.
- Click on the entry for the type of supplemental aid you’re interested in.
- Scroll down until you see downloadable resources.
- Click on the link to download the supplemental aid example.
For more information about supplemental aids check out this video. In the video you will learn details about supplemental aids including:
- The purpose of supplemental aids
- Who can use supplemental aids on state assessments
- Who determines eligibility to use supplemental aids
- How to implement and individualize supplemental aids
- Where to find more resources about supplemental aids
For more information contact Gretchen Kehrberg, email@example.com.
Beat the Heat 2019 is coming soon! This summer conference is dedicated to providing professional development to educators, parents, and others who work with children ages 3-21 with significant intellectual and low incidence disabilities. We are seeking teachers, para-educators, and support staff (SLP, OT, PT, AT, VI, COMS, APE, RN, etc) who are interested in teaching others about the terrific strategies, tools, and plans they use in their classroom!
Submit your proposal to become a Beat the Heat local presenter and, if selected, earn free registration to the conference! This is a terrific opportunity to share your hard-earned professional expertise with your colleagues while developing new professional skills. Presenters of accepted proposals will have the option to complete a self-paced, online course specifically designed to support local Region 13 presenters in developing and delivering professional trainings. Those who complete this course will receive a certificate of endorsement as a presenter from ESC 13. Develop yourself by developing others and build out your résumé with this great opportunity!
We are seeking engaging sessions in the following areas of special education:
- Collaboration & Leadership
- Curriculum & Instruction
- Early Childhood/PPCD
Your work matters! Please consider providing a breakout presentation for this year’s Beat the Heat conference. Even better, grab a co-worker and both of you submit a proposal!
Deadline for submissions: Monday, March 25, 2019
Questions or just want some help brainstorming ideas? Contact me!
Nichole Kertis Barton – firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s almost here…!! Wishing you a warm, wonderful, and peaceful holiday season!
Understanding that when the break is over, educators and students will be that much closer to high stakes testing days, we want to highlight an upcoming workshop designed to bring clarity around the most current STAAR accessibility resources.
When focused on teaching, preparing for and deciding between paper and online STAAR accessibility options can feel overwhelming.
In this interactive workshop you will become familiar with the updated STAAR accessibility policies. You will learn about expanded student eligibility criteria, expanded allowability of technology tools, and how to meet the technology guidelines. Most important, you will learn how to integrate technology into your content area/s that simulates the online accessibility resources, enhances your teaching, and addresses students’ need to routinely and effectively use their supports during instruction.
- Understand the STAAR Accessibility updates
- Explore STAAR Online Practice Tests and the embedded supports
- Discover tech tools that simulate STAAR embedded supports and choose the tech tools that are applicable to your content area and your students
- Practice using instructional/assistive technology tools
- Discuss classroom implementation strategies to ensure students have opportunities to use supports routinely, effectively and independently
- Understand the parameters of the 2018-19 Technology Guidelines and test security processes
- Familiarize yourself with the resources of Accommodation Central
Note: There will be a focus on the following Designated Supports as well as the Calculator and Dictionary Policies:
- Basic Transcribing
- Oral Administration
- Spelling Assistance
- Content and Language Supports
- Calculation Aids
Whether you’re a special or general educator, administrator, or related service provider we hope to see you at one of these dates:
- Jan 22, 2019 registration details here
- Jan 23, 2019 registration details here
- Jan 29, 2019 registration details here
Please contact Nichole.Kertis@esc13.txed.net or 512-919-5246 for any questions.
Interpreting is an important job!
Join us to learn the skills that you need!
Join us on Monday, November 12 for this interactive training that is designed for bilingual individuals who are called upon to interpret ARD meetings, consent forms, and other kinds of Special Education information. This one day training will cover:
- the basics of interpreting
- the primary goals and functions of the interpreter
- different modes of interpreting
- the interpreter code of ethics
- standards of professional behavior for interpreters
Learn the skills to make you job easier and your meetings smoother!
Interpreter Training – An Introduction to Community Interpreting (FA1839074) can be found on Region 13’s Ecampus.
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.
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 email@example.com.