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Monterey County Office of Education

Leadership, Support and Service to Prepare All Students for Success

Dr. Nancy Kotowski, County Superintendent of Schools

Below you will find brief clips and descriptions of the Embedded Designated Supports and Accommodations that are available on the Smarter Balanced test. For more detailed information on SBAC Designated Supports and Accommodations, please consult the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines.

Index

Designated Supports

Overview
Color Contrast
Masking
Text-to-Speech (Math and ELA Items)
Translated Test Directions (Math)
Stacked Translations
Translations (Glossaries)

Accommodations

Overview
Text-to-Speech (ELA Passages, 6-8, 11)
Language
American Sign Language
Closed Captioning
Streamline

Designated Supports

Overview

Designated supports for the Smarter Balanced assessments are those features that are available for use by any student for whom the need has been indicated by an educator (or team of educators with parent/guardian and student). Scores achieved by students using designated supports will be included for federal accountability purposes. It is recommended that a consistent process be used to determine these supports for individual students. All educators making these decisions should be trained on the process and should be made aware of the range of designated supports available. Smarter Balanced states have identified digitally-embedded and non-embedded designated supports for students for whom an adult or team has indicated a need for the support.

Designated supports need to be identified prior to assessment administration. Embedded and non-embedded supports must be entered into the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE, or state’s comparable platform). Any non-embedded designated supports must be acquired prior to testing.

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Color Contrast

Enable students to adjust screen background or font color, based on student needs or preferences. This may include reversing the colors for the entire interface or choosing the color of font and background.

Students with attention difficulties may need this support for viewing test content. It also may be needed by some students with visual impairments or other print disabilities (including learning disabilities). Choice of colors should be informed by evidence that color selections meet the student’s needs.

Color Contrast Example - Blue

Color Contrast Example Purple

Color Contrast Example Reverse

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Masking

Masking involves blocking off content that is not of immediate need or that may be distracting to the student. Students are able to focus their attention on a specific part of a test item by masking.

Students with attention difficulties may need this support for viewing the test when digitally- provided color contrasts do not meet their needs. Some students with visual impairments or other print disabilities (including learning disabilities) also may need this support. Choice of colors should be informed by evidence of those colors that meet the student’s needs. Enable students to adjust screen background or font color, based on student needs or preferences. This may include reversing the colors for the entire interface or choosing the color of font and background.

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Text-to-Speech (Math and ELA Items)

Note: For math stimuli items and ELA items, not for reading passages.

Text is read aloud to the student via embedded text-to-speech technology. The student is able to control the speed as well as raise or lower the volume of the voice via a volume control.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. This support will likely be confusing and may impede the performance of students who do not regularly have the support during instruction. Students who use text-to-speech will need headphones unless tested individually in a separate setting. 

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Translated Test Directions (Math)

Translation of test directions is a language support available prior to beginning the actual test items. Students can see test directions in another language. As an embedded designated support, translated test directions are automatically a part of the stacked translation designated support. 

Students who have limited English language skills can use the translated directions support. This support should only be used for students who are proficient readers in the other language and not proficient in English

Translations

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Stacked Translations

Stacked translations are a language support. Stacked translations are available for some students; stacked translations provide the full translation of each test item above the original item in English.

For students whose primary language is not English and who use dual language supports in the classroom, use of the stacked (dual language) translation may be appropriate. Students participate in the assessment regardless of the language. This support will increase reading load and cognitive load. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

Translations

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Translations (Glossaries)

Translated glossaries are a language support. The translated glossaries are provided for selected construct-irrelevant terms for math. Translations for these terms appear on the computer screen when students click on them. Students with the language glossary setting enabled can view the translated glossary.  Students can also select the audio icon next to the glossary term and listen to the audio recording of the glossary.

Students who have limited English language skills (whether or not designated as ELLs or ELLs with disabilities) can use the translation glossary for specific items. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

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Accommodations

Overview

Accommodations are changes in procedures or materials that increase equitable access during the Smarter Balanced assessments. Assessment accommodations generate valid assessment results for students who need them; they allow these students to show what they know and can do. Smarter Balanced states have identified digitally-embedded and non-embedded accommodations for students for whom there is documentation of the need for the accommodations on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 accommodation plan. One exception to the IEP or 504 requirement is for students who have had a physical injury (e.g., broken hand or arm) that impairs their ability to use a computer. These students may use the speech-to-text or the scribe accommodations (if they have had sufficient experience with the use of these), as noted in this section.

Determination of which accommodations an individual student will have available for the assessment is necessary because these accommodations must be made available before the assessment, either by entering information into the TIDE, or state’s comparable platform, for embedded accommodations, or by ensuring that the materials or setting are available for the assessment for non-embedded accommodations.

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Text-to-Speech (ELA Passages, 6-8, 11)

Text is read aloud to the student via embedded text-to-speech technology. The student is able to control the speed as well as raise or lower the volume of the voice via a volume control.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students (estimated to be approximately 1-2% of students with disabilities participating in a general assessment). 

  • For students in grades 3 - 5, text-to-speech will not be an available accommodation. Content experts agree that this accommodation should not be provided during these grades because it would compromise the construct being measured.

  • For students in grades 6 – 8 and 11, text-to-speech is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan.

Reports can be run to indicate the percent of students who had access to text-to-speech on reading test passages. Students who use text-to-speech will need headphones unless tested individually in a separate setting. 

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Language

A raised-dot code that individuals read with the fingertips. Graphic material (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, and illustrations) is presented in a raised format (paper or thermoform). Contracted and non-contracted braille is available; Nemeth code is available for math.

Students with visual impairments may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Refreshable braille is available only for ELA because Nemeth Code is not available via refreshable braille. For math, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also. The type of braille presented to the student (contracted or non-contracted) is set in TIDE, or state’s comparable platform. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

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American Sign Language

Some students who are deaf or hard of hearing and who typically use ASL may need this accommodation when accessing text-based content in the assessment. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment. For many students who are deaf or hard of hearing, viewing signs is the only way to access information presented orally. It is important to note, however, that some students who are hard of hearing will be able to listen to information presented orally if provided with appropriate amplification and a setting in which extraneous sounds do not interfere with clear presentation of the audio presentation in a listening test.

Test content is translated into ASL video. ASL human signer and the signed test content are viewed on the same screen. Students may view portions of the ASL video as often as needed. 

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Closed Captioning

Printed text that appears on the computer screen as audio materials are presented. 

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing and who typically access information presented via audio by reading words that appear in synchrony with the audio presentation may need this support to access audio content. For many students who are deaf or hard of hearing, viewing words (sometimes in combination with reading lips and ASL) is how they access information presented orally. It is important to note, however, that some students who are hard of hearing will be able to listen to information presented orally if provided with appropriate amplification and a setting in which extraneous sounds do not interfere with clear presentation of the audio presentation in a listening test.

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Streamline

This accommodation provides a streamlined interface of the test in an alternate, simplified format in which the items are displayed below the stimuli.

This accommodation may benefit a small number of students who have specific learning and/or reading disabilities in which the text is presented in a more sequential format. 

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Contacts

Shann Chu

Educational Technology Administrator
schu@montereycoe.org
Phone: 831.755.0394

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