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Student Assessment Accessibility FAQs


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What is the difference between embedded and non-embedded supports?

Embedded universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations are delivered through the online Test Delivery System student interface. Examples of embedded supports are translation glossaries which provide the definitions of selected words in English or student’s selected native language on the student’s screen. Non-embedded supports are those that must be provided by schools staff locally, such as a handheld calculator, abacus, or read aloud.

When is the deadline for submitting a request for paper-pencil special version test form for English language arts/literacy and mathematics?

The deadline for submitting was September 30, 2015. If technological barriers are preventing the use of online tests, a request may be submitted using the Technology Questionnaire found on the CAASPP.org Test Administration Forms Web page External link opens in new window or tab.. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Where can I find a description of all the universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations that are available for the CAASPP tests?

A complete description of each universal tool, designated support, and accommodation as well its recommended use can be found in the Smarter Balanced Usability, Accessibility and Accommodations Guidelines, available on the CAASPP Student Accessibility Supports Web page.

How are accessibility supports for the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments set?

The student test settings that have been set in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) for 2015–16 are the default settings for the interim assessments. Student test settings for the interim assessments can be modified by the interim assessment administrator in the Test Administrator Interface; these settings, however, will not be retained in the test delivery system and TOMS for the summative assessments. Any test settings required for the summative assessments must be set in TOMS by the LEA or the site test coordinator at least 24 hours before testing will begin.

Will there be any training provided on what the accommodations actually look like in the testing interface?

Feedback from the 2015 administration indicated that teachers found the training and practice tests invaluable in understanding the use of the accessibility supports as well as the navigation of the student testing interface. Practice and training tests External link opens in new window or tab. are available on the CAASPP.org Web site under TA Resources External link opens in new window or tab..

Can color contrast be provided to a student who does not have an individualized education program (IEP)?

Yes, color contrast is available as both an embedded and non-embedded designated support. Designated supports are available to all students, with or without an IEP or Section 504 plan.

When should “Permissive Mode” be used?

Permissive Mode is a setting that allows the use of an external device or software for the tests.  It should be selected when the accommodation via an external device (e.g., adaptive keyboard, refreshable braille machine) is required by an individualized education program or Section 504 plan.

In which languages are the translation glossaries available?

For the 2015–16 test administration, the following languages are available for embedded translation glossaries, a designated support for mathematics: Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Tagalog, Ilokano, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Punjabi, and Ukrainian.

Will there be translated test directions for English language arts/literacy this year?

Yes. Smarter Balanced Translated Test Directions External link opens in new window or tab. (non-embedded) are available for both ELA and mathematics in the following languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Tagalog, Ilokano, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Punjabi, Ukrainian, Russian, Dakota, French, Haitian-Creole, Hmong, Lakota, Japanese, Somali, and Yup’ik. The PDFs for the translated test directions are now available on the CAASPP.org TA Resources Summative Assessments Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

When is it permissible to use the non-embedded calculator?

A non-embedded calculator is an accommodation that is available for use by a student who is unable to use the embedded calculator for mathematics items for which an embedded calculator is allowed (and does not change the construct). If, however, the calculator will be used for all items, its use must be requested as an unlisted resource. Unlisted resources must be requested through the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) and approved by the California Department of Education prior to use on the assessment.

Is there a manual that explains test settings to guide those who make decisions about what to assign to students with an individualized education program or Section 504 plan?

Yes. Usability, Accessibility and Accommodations Guidelines, available on the CAASPP Student Accessibility Supports Web page, should be used to make selections of appropriate supports.

How do we request permission for an accommodation if it is required by a student’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, but is not available on Matrix One?

In the case that a student’s IEP requires the use of a support not currently available on Matrix One, the use of the support must be requested using the unlisted resource form in the Test Operations Management System (TOMS). The CALPADS settings must indicate the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan status to enable selection of accommodations or requesting unlisted resources in the student testing interface in TOMS. The CALPADS education program field must be set for “special education” (value 144) and provide a primary disability category code or “504 Plan” (value 101).

How long will it take to obtain approval of an unlisted resource?

The request must be must be submitted a minimum of ten days prior to student’s first day of testing. The California Department of Education will send a response within four business days of the submission date.

What are the advantages of using the CAASPP Individual Student Assessment Accessibility Profile (ISAAP) tool?

The CAASPP ISAAP tool facilitates the selection and assignment of appropriate designated supports and accommodations by an educator or team of educators who know the student’s accessibility needs. The CAASPP ISAAP tool can be used to assign supports for up to 15 students per file. It also has the capability of combining several ISAAP files into one large file that can be uploaded into the Test Operations Management System (TOMS) by a test coordinator.

Where can I find out how to use the CAASPP Individual Student Assessment Accessibility Profile (ISAAP) tool?

A CAASPP Accessibility and Accommodations Webcast External link opens in new window or tab., which includes a demonstration of the CAASPP ISAAP tool, is archived on the CAASPP.org Training Web page External link opens in new window or tab..

In the Test Operations Management System (TOMS), can both read aloud and text-to-speech test settings be selected for a student?

Yes, both read aloud and text-to-speech test settings may be selected for a student.

What do “US,” “UE,” and “UU” for grade-level stand for in the student online test settings?

For students taking the California Alternate Assessments, “US” stands for “ungraded secondary,” “UE” stands for “ungraded elementary,” and “UU” stands for “ungraded.” For additional information, see the available CALPADS Code Sets (XLS) by ‘grade level”.

When is the use of a dual monitor for the student appropriate?

A dual monitor may be used only in the mirror-mode when it necessary for the test administrator to see the student interface in order to deliver an accessibility resource such as read aloud or a non-embedded calculator for allowed items only.

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | caaspp@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
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