Chapter I: ACCESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY

 

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS


        The right of students with disabilities to appropriate test access and accommodations is guaranteed by the following federal laws and regulations:

         These federal laws and regulations apply to all school districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), State-operated schools, State-supported schools, approved private schools, charter schools, colleges/universities, agencies, corporations, and others either because they receive federal financial assistance (pursuant to Section 504) or are public or private entities (pursuant to ADA). These laws require that qualified individuals with disabilities be provided the opportunity to participate in all programs and services, curricular and extracurricular, which are available to nondisabled individuals, including test programs and examinations. Reasonable accommodations including testing accommodations must be provided to afford students the opportunity to benefit from such participation. Pursuant to Section 504, the aids, benefits and services must afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement.

        The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) supports and is aligned with our current State and local efforts to improve education results for students with disabilities. As required under IDEA, all students with disabilities must be included in all general State and districtwide assessment programs, including assessments required under the NCLB, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective individualized education programs (IEP). IDEA 2004 also requires the State to develop guidelines for the provision of appropriate testing accommodations and, to the extent feasible, use universal design principles in developing and administering State assessments.

        As part of the student’s IEP, the Committee on Special Education (CSE) must include a statement of any accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the student on statewide and districtwide assessments. If the CSE determines that the student is not able to participate in certain State (or districtwide) assessments, the IEP must indicate why the State (or districtwide) assessment(s) is not appropriate for the student and why the alternate assessment selected is appropriate. The IEP must also indicate participation in districtwide assessments and indicate, if the student will participate in alternate assessments, why the districtwide alternate assessment is appropriate for the student.

        The rights and responsibilities relating to test access and accommodations at the elementary and secondary school levels are also addressed in Part 100 and 200 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. These regulations include the following:

Students with disabilities must have access to and participate in general education curriculum and in courses that will prepare them to take and pass the required examinations. As determined by the CSE and indicated in the student’s IEP, students with disabilities must be provided the necessary services and supports, supplementary aids and services, and accommodations to participate and make progress in the general education curriculum. This opportunity must be available to students regardless of their placement (public school district, BOCES, approved private school, State-operated and State-supported school or Special Act School District).

 

THE PURPOSE OF TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

        The purpose of testing accommodations is to enable students with disabilities to participate in assessment programs on an equal basis with their nondisabled peers. Testing accommodations provide an opportunity for students with disabilities to demonstrate mastery of skills and attainment of knowledge without being limited or unfairly restricted due to the effects of a disability. Testing accommodations promote the access of students with disabilities to assessment programs as well as to more challenging courses and programs. Testing accommodations should not be excessive and should alter the standard administration of the test to the least extent possible.

        Testing accommodations are neither intended nor permitted to:

TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS VERSUS TESTING MODIFICATIONS

       
A distinction that has gained widespread national acceptance in recent years is one that illustrates the differences between the terms “testing accommodations” and “testing modifications.” IDEA 2004 removed references to “modifications in administration” and now uses the term “testing accommodations” and requires that the State develop guidelines for the provision of appropriate accommodations.
 

        Testing accommodations are changes made in the administration of the test in order to remove obstacles to the test-taking process that are presented by the disability without changing the constructs being tested. The testing accommodations most frequently required by students as indicated in their IEPs are:

·       flexibility in scheduling/timing;

·       flexibility in the setting used for the administration of assessments;

·       changes in the method of presentation; and

·       changes in the method of response.

        Testing modifications are changes made to the testing process or to the content of the assessment itself, or provision of certain adaptive technologies or services, that affect the constructs being tested. Examples of testing modifications that affect the construct of the test:

·       simplification or explanation of test questions;

·       reading of items designed to test the student's reading skills;

·       use of spell and/or grammar-checking devices on a test of the student's writing skills; and

·       use of a calculator on a test of the student's computational skills.

 

        The chief consequence of testing modifications is that, while students with disabilities may have increased access to the examination, the modification changes what is being tested and the student’s score may be invalid.

        It is critical that CSEs consider the distinction between accommodations and modifications when determining appropriate testing accommodations for an individual student with a disability. When making decisions regarding appropriate testing accommodations for an individual student with a disability, it is important for the CSE to be familiar with the purpose and construct of the tests administered because certain accommodations may become modifications, depending on the purpose of the test. It is appropriate to indicate in the IEP the conditions of the test which would require a testing accommodation. Examples of this include:

·      Tests read except for those tests or sections of tests measuring reading comprehension.

·      Use of calculator except for those tests or sections of tests measuring strict calculation skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

        Indicating the conditions of the test allows students with poor reading skills to show their skills and knowledge on tests measuring content areas such as social studies and science and allows students whose disability affects their ability to calculate to show his/her ability in problem solving and math reasoning without being hindered by their inability to calculate. At the same time, an accurate measurement of the skills the test is intended to measure is obtained.

        Taking into account the distinction between testing accommodations and testing modifications and in order to ensure valid and reliable test results for all students, the Department has developed policies regarding allowable testing accommodations for students with disabilities on elementary and intermediate-level State tests in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Analysis of the constructs underlying the existing elementary and intermediate-level State tests indicates that use of certain testing modifications on certain sections of these tests change the construct of the test and yield inaccurate scores. As a result, the student may be denied appropriate and needed supports. Additionally, testing accommodations that change constructs yield scores that do not provide teachers with valid information upon which to guide instruction.


Chapter II: PURPOSE OF STATE ASSESSMENTS

 

Mission of the New York State Testing Program

 

        The New York State Testing Program is designed to evaluate the implementation of the State’s Learning Standards at the student, school, district and State levels. To meet the requirements of NCLB, tests are to be administered annually at each grade level in Grades 3 through 8 beginning in the 2005–06 school year. The requirement under NCLB to administer standardized statewide tests of demonstrated technical quality at the high school level will be met by continuing the administration of Regents examinations. All of the State tests will serve as important measures of student progress. The Grades 3 through 8 tests will provide information about students’ preparedness for study at the next level, while Regents examinations will verify that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for high school graduation. 

        The Grades 3 through 8 tests in ELA and Mathematics will help schools to identify students for whom they need to provide additional academic assistance in these subject areas. However, the Department advises schools that decisions such as promotion or retention should be based on multiple measures of the student’s achievement and not solely on scores from the New York State Testing Program. This is essential to ensure that important decisions are not made on the basis of a student’s performance on a single indicator, but rather on the student’s overall achievement. 

        State assessments are also designed to help schools measure the effectiveness of their instructional programs and to measure yearly student progress. The assessments are based on the explicit State Learning Standards and the core curricula; the content of the tests should mirror the instruction being provided in the classrooms. Students should not need extensive preparation to do well on the State assessments as long as the curricula used by the school are aligned with the State’s Learning Standards and the teachers are effectively instructing students in accordance with these curricula.

        Information about the content and administration of State assessments can be found on the State Education Department’s website at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/apda/. For information on the Grades 3-8 Testing Program see the document, Introduction to the Grades 3-8 Testing Program in English Language Arts and Mathematics at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/3-8/intro.pdf. For information on the administration of Regents examinations and the Regents Competency Tests (RCT) see the School Administrator’s Manual at

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/apda/hsinfogen/hsinfogenarch/sam2001.pdf
 



Chapter III: THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

 

STUDENT ELIGIBILITY FOR TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

The following students may be eligible to receive testing accommodations:

DECISION-MAKERS

The teams or individuals authorized to make the decisions regarding testing accommodations for a student with a disability are: 

·       Committee on Special Education or Committee on Preschool Special Education

     For students, who have been classified as a student with a disability under one of the disabilities listed in section 200.1 (zz) or a preschool student with a disability as defined in section 200.1(mm) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the CSE/CPSE is responsible for identifying and documenting the appropriate testing accommodations for individual students. This must be documented in the student’s IEP. These determinations are made when the student is initially determined eligible for special education services and must be reviewed, and if appropriate, revised at the student’s annual reviews and reevaluations and when the student is declassified.

     For students who have been declassified by the CSE/CPSE, the CSE/CPSE may determine that the student continues to need the testing accommodations previously documented in the IEP. If such a determination is made by the CSE/CPSE and documented in the IEP that recommends declassification, the testing accommodations must continue to be consistently provided to the student for the remainder of his or her public high school education unless: 

§     it is revised or eliminated by a building level team; or

§     the student achieves a regular high school diploma; or

§     the student ages out at 21 years old.

·       Section 504 Multidisciplinary Team

      For students identified as having a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the 504 MDT determines the appropriate testing accommodations for individual students. Documentation of testing accommodations must be included on the student’s Section 504 Accommodation plan (504 Plan).

·     School Principal

     For general education students who have incurred a short-term disability (e.g., broken arm) or long-term disability (e.g., paraplegia) within 30 days before the administration of State assessments, and sufficient time is not available for the development of an IEP/504 Plan, the building principal may authorize the following testing accommodations, which will not significantly change the student skills being tested:

§       Time limit may be extended.

§       Tests may be administered in a special location.

§      Answers may be recorded in any manner. (When answering questions designed to measure writing ability in English or a second language, students must provide all punctuation, paragraphing and spelling of more difficult words.)

§       Tests may be read to students. This accommodation is allowed only for those students whose vision is impaired. Only those tests or parts of tests that do not measure reading comprehension may be read to these students.

Eligibility for such accommodations is based on the principal’s professional judgment. The principal may confer with CSE/CPSE/504 MDT members or other school personnel in making such a determination. However, students who have not recently incurred a disability but are still in the process of being evaluated to determine their status as a student with a disability are not eligible for test accommodations authorized in this way.

Prior permission need not be obtained from the State Education Department to authorize these testing accommodations for general education students. However, a full report concerning each such authorization must be sent to the Office of State Assessment via fax to 518-402-5596. The report must be on school letterhead, signed by the principal, and include the name of the student(s), tests taken with accommodations, nature of disabilities and types of accommodations provided with the principal’s authorization.

If the student is expected to continue to need testing accommodations, the principal should immediately make the appropriate referral for the development of an IEP or 504 Plan as appropriate.

 

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN DECISION-MAKING

 

        In order to prepare students to participate fully in State assessments and to meet diploma requirements, the student’s participation and progress in the general education curriculum and assessments must be a primary focus of ongoing CSE/CPSE/504 MDT discussions with school personnel, students and parents. It is important that parents are knowledgeable about graduation requirements, the purpose of examinations, testing accommodations available and how examination results will be used to guide instruction and/or to determine other supports. Discussions should include the need for ongoing evaluation of a student’s progress to assure that the student’s program and services will prepare him/her for graduation.

 

        As CSEs/CPSEs/504 MDTs make decisions regarding participation of students with disabilities in the assessment program, collaboration among all key players is of critical importance. This includes decision-making on how the student will participate in the assessment program, what testing accommodations are needed, and how these testing accommodations are documented and provided.

 

        Pursuant to section 200.2(b)(11) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, the school district must ensure that each general education teacher, special education teacher, related service provider and/or other service provider responsible for the implementation of a student’s IEP is provided a copy of the IEP. Each teacher and provider must be informed of his/her responsibilities related to implementing the recommendations in the student’s IEP including the responsibility to provide specific accommodations including testing accommodations, program modifications, supports and/or services that must be provided in accordance with the IEP.

       

        The role of key players and suggestions for carrying out their respective responsibilities are described below.

 

Parents

        As members of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT, parents participate in the development, review and revision of their child’s IEP/504 Plan. Parents are familiar with the strengths and needs of their child and can bring valuable information to discussions about the need for testing accommodations. Parents have information about the compensatory strategies their child uses to complete homework assignments and other tasks around the home. To enable parents to meaningfully participate in discussions it is important that they have information about the following:

·       the purpose of tests administered, what they measure and how the results are used;

·       the need and rationale for testing accommodations, where appropriate; and

·       the types of testing accommodations and how they are administered.


Student

        In many cases, the student should be invited to participate in CSE/CPSE/504 Plan meetings. Students themselves can provide valuable information on testing accommodations needed. They can provide information on their strengths and the accommodations they use for instruction and homework and be involved in decisions regarding the appropriateness of these accommodations during tests. At times, students may be reluctant to use certain testing accommodations because they do not want to appear different from their peers. Including students in decision-making will help them to understand the need and reason for the accommodation and will more likely result in their willingness to use the accommodation consistently.


General Education Teacher

        As a member of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT, the general education teacher has an active and significant role in the determination and use of testing accommodations for students with disabilities. General education teachers are most familiar with curriculum content and the purpose of State and districtwide assessments. Ensuring that students with disabilities have full access to the programs and services that are available to their nondisabled peers often require that general education teachers, in collaboration with special education teachers, provide appropriate instructional and testing accommodations. The results of assessments assist teachers with information on what areas to focus instruction to enable the individual student in achieving the learning standards. The testing accommodations listed in the student’s IEP/504 Plan must be consistently provided in the classroom. To accomplish this, teachers must be familiar with the different types of accommodations and how to implement them. General education teachers can also advise students on the test-taking skills all students need.

 

Special Education Teacher
       
       
The special education teacher plays an important role in providing information on how to match the special needs of the student with a disability to appropriate testing accommodations that will ensure that the student is able to demonstrate his/her knowledge and skills without being limited or unfairly restricted by his/her disability. In collaboration with general education teachers and related service providers, special education teachers assist in recommending and implementing appropriate instructional accommodations used in the classroom. These will serve as a link to the types of testing accommodations a student may need for classroom, State and districtwide tests. Special educators may directly provide the testing accommodations or may assist school staff in the implementation of testing accommodations that are included in a student’s IEP/504 Plan.


Boards of Education and School Superintendents
 

        Boards of education and school superintendents have important leadership roles in establishing policy and promoting the expectation that students with disabilities are capable learners and will be full participants in all aspects of the school program, including districtwide and State assessment programs. All students with disabilities must have access to high-quality programs and courses to enable them to achieve the State’s learning standards established for all students. School superintendents should arrange for members of the board of education to receive information regarding different types of testing accommodations. School district policies can emphasize that the use of these accommodations is consistent with the school district’s responsibility to maintain educational standards and enhance the school’s ability to allow all students equal access to the full range of instructional and testing opportunities.

 

        Procedures for determining and implementing testing accommodations should be consistent for all schools within the school district and should be fully understood by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT, building administrators, teachers, related services personnel, other school staff including teaching assistants and teacher aides and parents. Including this topic in school districtwide training programs will ensure that all teachers, aides and assistants are trained in the appropriate implementation of test accommodations. Because principals are responsible for ensuring implementation of testing accommodations included in a student’s IEP/504 Plan, district policy should identify the procedure by which principals will receive such information. This might be done by including the principal in the regular distribution of the IEP/504 Plan which includes testing accommodations. Procedures should also indicate the manner in which the school district will report the use of testing accommodations to the State Education Department. Test results for students with disabilities should be reported to the board of education in the same manner and according to the same schedule that such information is reported for nondisabled students.

 

School Principal

        The principal promotes the expectation at the school building level that students with disabilities are capable learners who will participate and succeed in all local and State testing programs. The principal in each school is responsible for:

·       implementing the school district’s policies that provide equal access to instructional and assessment programs for all students;

·      ensuring that testing accommodations are fully, consistently and appropriately implemented during the administration of local and State assessments and classroom quizzes and tests, as specified in each student’s IEP/504 Plan; and

·    exercising professional discretion, on an emergency basis, in allowing certain testing accommodations for a student who incurs a disability shortly before the administration of a State examination, without sufficient time for the development of an IEP/504 Plan.

        Building principals should also be familiar with the policies and procedures included in the School Administrators Manuals distributed by the Office of State Assessment for the following testing programs:

·       Elementary and Intermediate-Level Tests, and

·       Regents Examinations, Regents Competency Tests and Proficiency Examinations.

 

        These publications address general requirements for the administration of the various State assessments, as well as special considerations for students with disabilities and students who have limited English proficiency. These manuals are revised periodically and are available on the Department’s website at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/assess.html.

 

CONSIDERATIONS IN MAKING DECISIONS


        When developing the student’s IEP/504 Plan, the responsibility of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT is to recommend testing accommodations that will:

·       provide students with disabilities access to the assessment program;

·      enable students to demonstrate their strengths, knowledge and skills without being restricted by their disability; and

·    provide an accurate measure of the standards being assessed so that appropriate instruction and services can be provided.

 

        In making appropriate decisions, the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should consider the following:

·       the student’s individual strengths and needs;

·       the instructional accommodations provided to the student;

·       the types of testing accommodations; and

·       the type and purpose of the tests.

        When making recommendations, the notion that “more is better” is not necessarily appropriate. Decision must be made individually based on the student’s needs and ability to benefit from the accommodation and be as independent as possible.
 

Questions to Consider To Guide Decision-Making:
 

        The following general questions and variables to consider may be used as a first step in determining appropriate testing accommodations for individual students.

 

Given the student’s unique needs:

 

ü     Is the student able to participate in the standard administration of the assessment?

ü     In order to participate, does the student need an accommodation in any of the following aspects of test administration?

q      Scheduling/Timing

q      Location/Setting

q      Presentation (i.e., format)

q      Response

ü     To what extent does the student’s disability impede his/her demonstration of the knowledge and/or understanding required by the test?

ü     What instructional accommodations, if any, are provided to the student in the classroom?

ü     What accommodation(s) focus on removing the obstacles to equal participation that are a result of the student’s disability?

ü     What accommodation(s) will facilitate participation that enables the student to be as independent as possible?

 

Information That May Be Considered When Making Decisions:

 

q      Know the Student

 

        Decisions must be made by individuals who know the student’s individual strengths and needs. In making its decisions, the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should review all available information including:

 

·       recent evaluations,

·       classroom observation reports,

·       school records, and

·       results of State and districtwide assessments.

 

        Information from general and special education teachers, parents and the student, as appropriate, should be obtained to assist the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT in making appropriate decisions based on the student’s individual needs.

 

Decisions may not be based categorically upon a student’s classification or placement. Example: “All students with learning disabilities receive extended time.”

 

q      Know the Instructional Accommodations Provided to the Student

 

        Of particular importance is knowledge about the types of instructional accommodations the student uses in the classroom in order to learn. Whenever possible, there should be a direct link between the instructional accommodations used in the classroom and the testing accommodations provided during assessment. For example, if a student needs learning materials in large type, they will need a testing accommodation that provides testing materials in large type. Teachers, parents and students can provide important information about instructional accommodations that the student needs to access and participate in the general education curriculum. Instructional accommodations must also be discussed at the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT meeting and indicated in the IEP/504 Plan. Instructional accommodations may include:

·       changes in timing and scheduling such as extended time to complete assignments;

·       changes in setting such as adaptive furniture or small group instruction;

·      changes in the presentation of materials and assignments such as alternative formats, decreased length of assignments and/or fewer assignments, breaking assignment into smaller parts and presenting information in a variety of ways; and

·     changes in methods of student’s response such as use of word processor and providing answers orally rather than written.

 

Many instructional accommodations provide important information in making decisions regarding testing accommodations. However, not all accommodations used during instruction are appropriate for use during State assessments. Example: The use of word banks for classroom assignments are not allowed for State assessments.

 

 

 

 

 q      Know the Types of Testing Accommodations

 

        Members of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should be knowledgeable about the types of testing accommodations. Testing accommodations are often organized into five categories: flexibility in scheduling/timing; flexibility in setting; method of presentation; method of response; and "other." Members of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should not be limited by the list in Appendix A, as these may not be the only accommodations appropriate for an individual student.

 

q      Know the Purpose and Requirements of the Tests

 

        The CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should be familiar with the assessments the individual student is expected to participate in based upon the grade level the student is in and/or the courses he/she is taking during the school year. The conditions or types of tests should be considered in the formulation of recommendations for testing accommodations. Such conditions may include the length of the test, the purpose of the test, how test items are presented and how the student is expected to respond. Members of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should also consider how particular testing accommodations might affect the validity of the results of particular tests depending on the purpose of the test and the skills it is intended to measure.
 

        To answer these questions, members of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should have the following information about the tests:

·       content areas covered by the test (what standards/skills the test is measuring),

·       grades/level tested,

·       how the test is administered (duration of the sessions),

·       presentation format (reading passages, listening passages),

·       response format and nature of test items (multiple choice, short answer, essay),

·       decisions that will be made based on the scores (e.g., academic intervention services (AIS)), and

·       Department guidelines on the use of testing accommodations and what may be allowed/disallowed on State assessments (see Appendix C for website on Grades 3-8 Tests)

 

        Once this information is obtained, the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should take a second look at the student’s need for testing accommodations in consideration of the following:

ü     What is the test asking the student to do?

ü     What is this test measuring? What are sections of the test measuring?

ü     How does the student’s disability affect his/her performance on the test?

ü     What accommodations does the student need to meaningfully participate?

ü     Are accommodations needed due to particular conditions of the test (length, format etc)?

ü     Will the testing accommodation needed affect the validity of this particular test?

 

For example: A student with a motor impairment may need a scribe for tests requiring extensive writing such as essay writing, but not for multiple-choice tests; a student may need breaks at certain intervals for tests longer than an hour in length but not for 40 minute classroom tests.

 

Review of the Use of Testing Accommodations

The testing accommodations that a student needs must be reviewed at least annually by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT. Accommodations needed by students early in their school career may not be needed as they gain more skills, knowledge and experience. As they get older, students themselves will also participate more fully in the decision-making as to the types of testing accommodations that are needed.

 


 

Quality Indicators

 

Testing accommodations:

  • are recommended by individuals who know the strengths and needs of the student, including parents (and the student, as appropriate) as active participants in decision-making who understand the purpose of testing accommodations.

  • are consistent with the instructional accommodations currently used during classroom instruction.

  • are determined student by student, based on the unique needs and individual learning characteristics of the student.

  • are not based solely on the student’s classification of disability or program placement.

  • are routinely provided in the classroom.

  • are not introduced for the first time during State or districtwide assessments.

  • are determined systematically using a standard set of questions or variables to consider in making decisions.

  • are documented in the IEP/504 Plan.

  • are reviewed annually and at reevaluation by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT.

 


 

Chapter IV: TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

THE DEFINITION OF TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

        Testing accommodations are changes in the standard administration of a test including testing procedures or formats that enable students with disabilities to participate in assessment programs on an equal basis with their non-disabled peers. Testing accommodations can change the way in which test items are presented to the student; the student’s method of responding; the setting in which the test is administered; and the timing and scheduling of the assessment. Testing accommodations do not alter the construct of the test being measured or invalidate the results.

        The following tools have been provided in the attached appendices to assist CSE/CPSE/504 MDT in making appropriate decisions for testing accommodations:

·       Appendix A: Types of Testing Accommodations and Questions to Consider

·       Appendix B: Example of Student Characteristics and Possible Accommodations

 

        Testing accommodations may be organized into five categories: flexibility in scheduling/timing; flexibility in setting; method of presentation; method of response; and “other.” This is not a finite or exhaustive list but is one which is most widely used. There may be a unique testing accommodation that is considered and/or provided to a student during instruction and classroom tests that is not included in this document. Staff are encouraged to contact the Department (email to vesidspe@mail.nysed.gov) well in advance of administration of State assessments in order to verify whether the provision of the accommodation is permitted for State assessments.
 

1.     FLEXIBILITY IN SCHEDULING/TIMING

Timing accommodations are changes in the duration of the test. Such accommodations may include:

·       Extending the time allowed for administration of a test on the scheduled day, by starting early and/or ending late on the same day (the IEP/504 Plan must specify the amount of time to be allotted, such as “double time”).

·     Changing the way the time is organized by specifying the amount of time a student should work without a break (e.g., a ten-minute break for each 30-minutes of testing).

·       Administering State assessments over multiple days. (Requires Department approval).

Timing accommodations may also be needed in conjunction with a variety of other testing accommodations. For example, a student using special equipment to record responses or dictating responses to a scribe may complete examinations more slowly. Some accommodations such as the use of magnification devices may induce fatigue. Setting accommodations are often needed in conjunction with scheduling accommodations because the test is being administered at a different time.

Examples of characteristics, which may indicate the need for flexible scheduling/timing accommodations, include:

·       slow cognitive processing or work rate. These students may need extended time.

·       limited attention span and low frustration levels. These students may need frequent breaks.

·      limited physical stamina. Students with limited physical stamina may need extended time and frequent breaks.

Providing additional time may benefit some students but not others, depending on the individual needs of the student. For example, some students may use additional time to second-guess themselves and repeatedly revise their responses to test items. Long periods of test taking may diminish a student’s optimal performance as the student tires and loses concentration. To help determine how much additional time a student may need for tests, the additional time that the student needs for instruction should be considered. In addition, students using Braille or large print to take an assessment may need additional time to complete the test.
 

ADMINISTRATION OF STATE ASSESSMENTS OVER MULTIPLE DAYS
 

        This test accommodation is applicable to all assessments provided by the State Education Department for administration at the elementary, intermediate and secondary levels.

IMPLEMENTATION OF STATE ASSESSMENTS OVER MULTIPLE DAYS REQUIRES PRIOR WRITTEN APPROVAL FROM THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT.[1]


        Application materials must be submitted to the State Education Department, Office of Special Education, 89 Washington Avenue, Room 309 EB, Albany, New York 12234, at least three months prior to the scheduled administration. Application materials must include all of the following:

·       a narrative statement from the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT or the principal requesting this accommodation and describing the student's need for this test accommodation;

·     a copy of the student's current IEP/504 Plan which documents the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT recommendation for multiple day testing; and

·       evaluation materials (CSE/CPSE or 504) which demonstrate the need for this test accommodation.

 

        A determination regarding the authorization of multiple day administration of State assessments will be made by VESID, and the school district will be notified of its determination.

       
        This test accommodation is designed to permit students with disabilities who are unable to complete one examination in a single day an equitable opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and competencies. It is appropriate to indicate the conditions or types of tests that require this accommodation. For example, the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT may recommend this accommodation in the event the student experiences a seizure on the day of the test.

 

2.      FLEXIBILITY IN SETTING
 

        For some students with disabilities, the standard location for test administration may not be appropriate. Setting accommodations are changes in the location in which an assessment is administered. This can include:

·       changes in the conditions of the setting, such as special lighting or adaptive furniture, or

·       changes in the location itself, accomplished by moving the student to a separate room.

 

        Flexibility in setting may be needed in conjunction with other accommodations provided to the student. For example, changing the location     of an examination may be needed to effectively provide extended time or use of a scribe.

Types of setting accommodations include the following:

·       Separate location/room – administer test individually

·       Separate location/room – administer test in small group (3-5 students)

·       Provide adaptive or special equipment/furniture (specify type, e.g., study carrel)

·       Special lighting (specify type, e.g., 75 Watt incandescent light on desk)

·       Special acoustics (specify manner, e.g., minimal extraneous noises)

·       Location with minimal distraction (specify type, e.g., minimal visual distraction)

·       Preferential seating

 

        Examples of student characteristics which may indicate the need for flexible setting accommodations include students who have difficulty maintaining attention in a group setting; students who use specialized equipment that may be distracting to others; and students with visual impairments who may need special lighting.

In all instances, the setting should be one that is comfortable and appropriate for test administration. The CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should note in the IEP/504 Plan the location and the conditions that will address noise and distraction issues.

 

3.     METHOD OF PRESENTATION
 

        Accommodations in method of presentation change the way in which an assessment is presented to a student. These include: 

·       Revised test format*

Ø     Braille editions of tests

Ø     Large type editions of tests

Ø     Increased spacing between test items

Ø     Increased size of answer blocks/bubbles

Ø     Reduce number of test items per page

Ø     Multiple-choice items in vertical format with answer bubble to right of response choices

Ø     Presentation of reading passages with one complete sentence per line (this is not always possible with large type)

 

·       Revised test directions

Ø     Directions read to student

Ø     Directions reread for each page of questions

Ø     Language in directions simplified 

Ø     Verbs in directions underlined or highlighted

Ø     Cues (e.g., arrows and stop signs) on answer form

Ø     Additional examples provided

 

* For State assessments, any reproduction and/or reformatting of a test booklet requires the advance written permission of the Office of State Assessment.

        Revision of test directions is an accommodation that is limited to oral or written instructions provided to all students that explain where and how responses must be recorded; how to proceed in taking the test upon completion of sections; and what steps are required upon completion of the examination. The term “test directions” never refers to any part of a question or passage that appears on a State assessment.

 

·       Use of aids or assistive technology devices

Ø     Audio tape

Ø     Computer (including talking word processor)

Ø     Listening section repeated more than the standard number of times

Ø     Listening section signed

Ø     Listening section signed more than the standard number of times

Ø     Masks or markers to maintain place

Ø     Papers secured to work area with tape/magnets

Ø     Test passages, questions, items and multiple-choice responses read to student

Ø     Test passages, questions, items and multiple-choice responses signed to student

Ø     Visual magnification devices (specify type)

Ø     Auditory amplification devices (specify type, e.g., FM system)

 

        School officials must ensure that, for State assessments, all such assistance may be provided only in the mechanics of test taking, and must never be permitted to alter the content of the assessment. Interpreting or explaining test items/questions to students is never permitted in the administration of State assessments and will invalidate the student’s score. Any reading or signing of test material must be presented in a neutral manner, without intonation, emphasis, or otherwise drawing attention to key words and phrases. Except for directions, all test content must be read word-for-word, with no clarification or explanation provided.

        Examples of student characteristics which may indicate the need for accommodations in the method of test presentation include students with visual impairments who may need tests in an alternative format such as Braille or large type; students with perceptual difficulties who may need to have fewer items per page or the use of markers to maintain place; students with hearing impairments who may need to have listening passages/directions signed; and, students with processing difficulties who may need to have test directions simplified or repeated.

 

 

q      Tests Read

 

Guidelines for Decision-Making

 

        The accommodation of reading a test to a student with a disability is a CSE/504 MDT decision based upon the student’s individual needs, characteristics and abilities and on evaluative information including school records, previous IEP/504 Plan, observation, parent information and experience on previous tests. This testing accommodation is not permitted for use on certain sections of the State Grades 3-8 ELA tests because these sections measure a student’s reading skills (decoding and comprehension).


        "Tests read” should be a low-incidence accommodation. In determining the appropriateness of this accommodation, the following should be considered:

·       Evaluative material is available to support the determination that the student’s disability precludes or severely limits the student’s ability to gain meaning from written language (decoding/word recognition).

·       Procedures for determining the existence of a learning disability in reading are followed and results indicate a disability in the area of reading. Reading achievement includes basic reading skills and reading comprehension.

·    Consideration is given to whether the student’s difficulty is a result of a lack of appropriate instruction in reading.

·       There is documentation of remedial reading services.

·       There is documentation of the student’s current reading skills.

·       There is documentation of IEP goals related to reading development.

·       There is documentation of response to intervention model and outcomes.

·     There is documentation of supplementary aids and/or services provided to the student to support reading instruction.

·     Consideration is given to whether the student’s difficulty in reading is a result of cultural and/or linguistic differences.

 

When determining the need for this accommodation it is important that the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT consider the purpose of the tests the student will be taking and the skills the test is intending to measure so that it can be determined how the accommodation might affect the results. For some tests intended to measure reading skills, reading the test to students becomes a modification resulting in invalid scores and affecting the student’s identification for subsequent services.

Based upon information gathered, the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT may decide to indicate the conditions of the test requiring this accommodation. This may include one of the following:

·       “test passages, questions, items and multiple choice responses read to the student for all tests, except as prohibited by Department policy on State assessments” is meant for students with severe reading disabilities. This testing accommodation would apply to all classrooms, local and, in accordance with Department policy, State assessments of student achievement. This accommodation reflects a determination that it is unlikely that this student will learn to gain meaning from written materials. Such a determination would generally be made only after consistent efforts to provide intensive reading instruction have been unsuccessful. Such a student would be likely to have instructional accommodations that include books on tape and/or text-to-voice assistive technology across all subject areas.

·       “test passages, questions, items and multiple choice responses read to the student for all tests except those measuring reading skills” is meant for students with disabilities who have low/poor reading skills and the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT does not want those poor reading skills to interfere with the student’s ability to show their knowledge in content areas such as science, math and social studies. This accommodation would not be provided for classroom, local or State tests or sections of tests designed to measure a student’s skills in decoding or reading comprehension.

        Conditions may also include the need for tests read due to a student’s physical fatigue caused by eyestrain for a student with visual impairments who is reading large type materials. In this case the IEP/504 Plan must indicate a description of the physical symptoms that necessitate this accommodation.

 

4.         METHOD OF RESPONSE

Accommodations in method of response are changes in the way students respond to an assessment. Similar to methods of presentation, these include:

·       Revised response format such as allowing marking of answers in booklet rather than answer sheet;

·       Use of additional paper for math calculations;

·       Use of Aids/Assistive Technology

§       Amanuensis (Scribe)

§       Tape Recorder

§       Word processor

§       Computer (School must ensure that students do not have access to any programs, dictionaries, thesaurus, internet etc. that may give them access to information or communication with others).

 

Examples of characteristics which may indicate the need for accommodations in the method of test response include:

·       physical disabilities that limit their ability to write in the standard manner. Students with physical disabilities may need to dictate their responses to a scribe.

·       difficulty tracking from the test booklet to the answer sheet. These students may need to write directly in the test booklet.

·       attention difficulties. Students with attention difficulties may need to write directly in the test booklet.


 

q      Use of Aids

 

Guidelines for Decision-Making:

 

        Some students who have motor, visual or learning difficulties which affect their ability to write may be unable to record their responses to examination questions in the standard manner using pencil and paper. These students may require the use of aids to be able to participate in assessments on an equal basis with other students. Whenever appropriate, enabling students to be as independent as possible through the use of equipment and assistive technology such as computers, word processors, communication boards, adaptive writing instruments and tape recorders should be considered. Use of these aids allows students with disabilities more control over their environment; fosters independence; and is less labor-intensive and artificial than using a scribe. It is important that students have the necessary skills, instruction, and experience in the use of these aids or other equipment. When this is not appropriate for students, it may be determined that students need to dictate their answers to a scribe.

 

5.         OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS

There may be other accommodations considered that are not included in the previous categories. Some students may have a disability which affects their ability to maintain attention on the test. These students need physical or verbal prompts to stay on task and remain focused. Some students may have a disability which affects their ability to spell and punctuate and may require the use of spell or grammar checking devices.

Some students have the reasoning capability to complete narrative mathematics problems and involved computations, but may have visual or motor impairments which make them unable to use paper and pencil to solve computations. Some students with disabilities are unable to memorize arithmetic facts but can solve difficult word problems. Except as specifically prohibited on the Grades 3-8 Mathematics tests, these students may be provided the use of computational aids, such as arithmetic tables or calculators. Only those students whose disability affects their ability to either memorize or compute basic mathematical facts should be allowed to use computational aids.

To meet the needs of these students, the following additional accommodations may be considered (except as specifically prohibited on the Grades 3-8 ELA/ Mathematics tests):

·       On-task focusing prompts

·       Waiving spelling requirements

·       Waiving paragraphing requirements

·       Waiving punctuation requirements

·       Use of calculator

·       Use of abacus

·       Use of arithmetic tables

·       Use of spell-check device*

·       Use of grammar-check device

*Students who are provided a spell-check device as a test accommodation are responsible for spelling accuracy and therefore cannot also be excused from spelling requirements.


6.       ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PHYSICAL EDUCATION ASSESSMENTS

The NYS learning standards for physical education apply to all students and students with disabilities must be included in these assessments. Due to the unique nature of physical education, the accommodations that may be provided to enable students with disabilities to participate in physical education assessments are also unique. Accommodations can include changes in equipment, environment and/or the basic rules. The following are suggestions for physical education instructional and assessment accommodations for students with disabilities:

·       Reduce the size of the playing area

·       Reduce the number of participants

·       Reduce the time of the task

·       Varied size, weight, color of equipment

·       Use of brightly colored paint to identify field markings

·       Use of cones or markers to indicate field markings

·       Field markings may be modified in width

·       Use of a beeper ball and/or a localizer to identify bases

·       Use of hand signals or teammate shoulder tap to start and stop play

·       Allow use of alternative communication methods (e.g., interpreter, picture board, flash cards, etc.) by student

·       Select the court environment with the least noise

·       Increase the size of the playing area to allow the student more personal space and less likelihood of contact

·       Provide verbal cues

·       Provide pinch runner for games requiring running



Chapter V
: DOCUMENTATION OF TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

        The IEP/504 Plan must indicate the recommended individual testing accommodations, if any, to be used consistently by the student:

·       in the student’s education program;

·     in the administration of districtwide assessments of student achievement, consistent with school district policy; and

·       in the administration of State assessments of student achievement, consistent with State Education Department policy.

        Recommended testing accommodations must be documented in the student’s IEP (under the section Individual Testing Accommodations) or 504 Plan and must be reviewed annually.

        For students who are declassified by the CSE, the need for specific testing accommodations must be documented in the final IEP in order for these accommodations to continue to be provided until the completion of the student’s high school education. If in subsequent years, it is determined that these accommodations are no longer appropriate or need to be changed, revisions may be made by a building level team.

        Testing accommodations must be clearly stated to ensure a consistent understanding by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT, school principal, teacher(s), paraprofessionals, student and the student’s parents. Specific testing accommodations (e.g., use of word processor) should be indicated, not generic test accommodation categories (e.g., answers recorded in any manner).

        Documentation should include:

·       test accommodation,

·       the conditions or types of tests in which the accommodation must be provided, and

·       specifications, as needed (e.g., how much extended time).

 

        It is appropriate to indicate the conditions or types of tests that will require testing accommodations. Such conditions may include the length of the test, the purpose of the test, presentation of test items and the method of response required by the student. As examples: a student with a motor impairment may need a scribe for tests requiring extensive writing such as essay writing, but not for multiple-choice tests; or a student may need breaks at certain intervals for tests longer than an hour in length but not for 40 minute classroom tests. The purpose of clarifying the conditions of the test is to ensure that test accommodations are not provided excessively or when not appropriate to the purpose or type of test. If it is determined that the student needs a particular testing accommodation for all tests, then qualifying conditions are not indicated or would indicate “all tests.” For example, if the IEP/504 Plan states “use of scribe,” this accommodation must be provided for all tests regardless of the amount of writing that is required.

        A particular test accommodation may also be needed due to and in conjunction with the provision of another accommodation. For example, separate setting may be needed when the student has the use of a scribe. In such instances, both accommodations must be indicated in the IEP/504 Plan and qualifying conditions would be indicated as appropriate.

        When documenting the following accommodations, these specifications should be included:

·       Extended time - specify the amount of extended time (e.g., time and a half, double time).

·       Breaks - specify the duration of break and at what intervals (e.g., ten-minute break every 40 minutes).

·       Directions read or signed or listening passages read or signed more than the standard number of time - specify the number of times (e.g., directions read two more times than the standard number of times provided for all students as per Department directions).

·       Separate setting - specify individual or small group.

·       Adaptive furniture - special lighting or acoustics, specify type (e.g., study carrel).

        The following is a sample chart that may be included under the testing accommodations section of the IEP/504 Plan:

 

Testing Accommodations

The following testing accommodations will be used consistently:

â    in the student’s education program,

â    in the administration of districtwide assessments of student achievement, and

â    in the administration of State assessments of student achievement, consistent with State Education Department policy.

TESTING ACCOMMODATION

 

CONDITIONS

 

Specifications

Extended time

For tests requiring extended writing (essay) responses

Double Time

Use of scribe

For test items requiring extended writing responses

Student must provide all spelling, paragraphing and punctuation

Separate setting

All tests

Small group – quiet with limited visual distractions

Tests read

For all tests except those measuring reading comprehension

Two times

Breaks

For tests longer than 40 minutes in length

10 minute break every 40 minutes

 

Qualifying terms such as “as appropriate” or “when necessary” may not be used.

It is not appropriate to indicate testing accommodations in a test specific manner such as “use of scribe on the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English.”


 

Chapter VI: IMPLEMENTATION OF TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

The school must take steps to ensure a student's IEP/504 Plan is implemented as recommended by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT, including but not limited to:
 

·     providing copies of the student's IEP/504 Plan, as appropriate to teachers, service providers and others responsible for implementing the IEP or 504 plan, and

·       informing each individual of his or her IEP/504 Plan implementation responsibilities.

For a student whose IEP/504 Plan indicates testing accommodations, building principals must ensure that testing accommodations are consistently administered by appropriately trained or qualified individuals for all classroom, districtwide assessments and, consistent with Department policy, State assessments. Careful planning prior to the scheduled testing date will assure that accommodations are appropriately implemented as specified in the student’s IEP/504 Plan. Among the considerations in this planning process are identification and training of all individuals responsible for implementing the testing accommodations, preparation of specialized materials/locations and arranging for assistive technology.

To assist in this planning, it is recommended that the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT meeting include discussion and documentation of the steps necessary to ensure implementation of the student’s IEP/504 Plan, including, but not limited to: (See Sample Form at the end of this section)

·      identifying staff who will be responsible to provide the recommended testing accommodations in accordance with the IEP/504 Plan;

·       designating an individual who is knowledgeable about the student's disability and program to inform staff of their IEP/504 Plan responsibilities;

·       planning how resources and materials necessary to implement the testing accommodations will be obtained (e.g., assessments in alternative format, assistive technology devices ordered, training of staff to implement accommodations such as a scribe); and

·       arranging, as appropriate, for testing accommodations (e.g., separate setting).

Especially important in this planning process is the training and experience of all individuals (teachers, teaching assistants, teacher aides, proctors) responsible for implementing the testing accommodations. It is important that testing accommodations be provided consistently for all tests and staff are trained in appropriate procedures including the provision of such accommodations as use of a scribe and tests read. Testing accommodations may be implemented only by trained school personnel.

Testing accommodations should not be provided for the first time during a State examination. It is expected that the student will have adequate training and experience in using test accommodations during instruction and classroom tests. This is especially important when using adaptive tools, specialized equipment or assistive technology devices or when provided accommodations that involve procedures such as use of a scribe or tests read orally.

Testing accommodations must be provided across all placement settings (special class, general education class, etc.) and are not restricted to the traditional school year. Students receiving extended school year services or students with disabilities participating in general education summer school programs must be provided the testing accommodations on their IEP/504 Plan. The school district or BOCES operating the extended school year or general education summer school program is responsible for the continued implementation of testing accommodations included in the student’s IEP/504 Plan.

Use of Scribe or Tape Recorder

The accommodation "use of scribe" or “use of tape recorder” generally necessitates an alternate location and extended time in order for its implementation to be workable. These additional accommodations must also be specified in the IEP/504 Plan to be provided. If "extended time" and "separate location" are needed only when use of scribe or use of tape recorder is required, that must be indicated so that the accommodations are not provided during other times when not appropriate.

Scribes may be teachers, teacher aides, teaching assistants or other school personnel who are appropriately trained and qualified. Whenever possible, the student should have the same scribe for State assessments as they have had for classroom tests or other classroom instruction. In all cases, the scribe must have an understanding of how to record responses and transcribe tape recordings using procedures described and be familiar with the test including knowledge of the vocabulary used in the test.

The following procedures may be used to implement the testing accommodation use of a scribe or use of tape recorder. Unless the IEP/504 Plan waives spelling, punctuation and/or paragraphing requirements, the student must provide all information, including spelling of difficult words, punctuation, paragraphing, grammar, etc. (For the elementary and intermediate State ELA tests, deletion of spelling, punctuation and/or paragraphing requirements are not permitted, and students must provide all information, including spelling of difficult words, punctuation, paragraphing, and grammar for the writing sections of the tests.)

The following procedures may be used to implement the testing accommodation “use of scribe” specific to the administration of mathematics tests.

 

  1. Scribes must record what the student dictates on a separate sheet of paper.

  2. The scribe should ask the student to indicate exactly where the numbers need to be placed and lined up.

  3. Scribe must record the operational sign as dictated by the student (addition sign, subtraction sign, etc).

  4. When dictating numbers the student must indicate how the number is written and indicate place value. For example, if the student says one thousand thirty eight the student should specify how that is written: one, zero, three, eight.

  5. When computing a problem, the student must indicate to the scribe how they are computing and should be specific in terms of what numbers to write down including carrying. For example, when adding 23 and 9 the student should indicate 9 plus 3 is 12, put down the 2 and carry the one above the 2.

  6. The scribe shows the student the written response and asks him or her to indicate if there are any further changes to be made.

  7. The student does not have to provide spelling and punctuation in word responses. Therefore, it is not necessary for the scribe to leave out punctuation and capitalization and circle words difficult to spell.

  8. The scribe must transfer the student's completed response into the test booklet and staple the student's dictation to the test booklet.

Test Read

(Note: Since the 2002-03 school year, this testing accommodation has not been permitted for use on sections of the State Elementary and Intermediate ELA tests that measure reading comprehension.)

When test items are to be read as a result of a testing accommodation, the entire test must be read including reading passages, questions, multiple choice items, etc. Such content may be re-read more than once as specified by the individual student’s IEP/504 Plan. Students who have difficulty with auditory processing may need content read more than once. To accommodate the individual student’s pace, this accommodation is best administered individually rather than in a group setting. Individual or group setting would need to be noted in the student’s IEP/504 Plan.

Content must be read in a neutral manner, without intonating, emphasizing or otherwise drawing attention to key words and phrases. Passages and items must be read word for word, with no clarification, explanation, reordering or rewording. The only exception to this may be tests and quizzes that are teacher developed and administered. In these instances, test questions and items may be clarified at the discretion of the teacher because the teacher, having developed the assessment, is best able to determine whether, and the extent to which, any clarification may be provided without compromising test validity. (Any clarification of a question or item on teacher-developed tests is permissible only if it can also be provided to all other students without nullifying the results.)

Readers should be trained in how to administer this accommodation in the appropriate manner and should be familiar with the content and vocabulary of the subject being assessed including the pronunciation of words on the test.

Flexibility in Setting

Setting accommodations can include:

·        changes in the conditions of the setting, such as special lighting or adaptive furniture, or

·        changes in the location itself, accomplished by moving the student to a separate room.

 

Separate setting means a student is administered the test in a separate room apart from the standard setting being used to administer the test. The student can be administered the test individually or in a small group. This must be specified in the IEP/504 Plan. In all instances, the special location should be one that is comfortable and appropriate for test administration. The CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should note in the IEP/504 Plan the location and the conditions that will address noise and distraction issues.

 

Administration of State Assessments Over Multiple Days

 

(Note: Implementation of this test accommodation requires prior approval from the State Education Department. For information on application procedures see page 16 of this document.)

Important considerations and procedures associated with this test accommodation are:

Revised Test Format

If the student’s IEP/504 Plan requires a revised test format, the principal is responsible for implementing this accommodation. Changes in test format such as fewer items on a page (large-print edition has this feature), increased spacing between items, changing size or shape or location of space for answers, etc. can be made by the school.

For State assessments, any reproduction and/or reformatting of a test booklet requires the advance written permission of the Office of State Assessment. A request to open the test earlier to make these changes needs to be submitted via fax by the principal and must indicate that permission is needed to revise the format based on the student's IEP/504 Plan. The fax number of the Office of State Assessment is (518) 474-1989.

Revised Test Directions

Revision of test directions is an accommodation that is limited to oral or written instructions provided to all students that explain where and how responses must be recorded; how to proceed in taking the test upon completion of sections; and what steps are required upon completion of the examination. The term "test directions" never refers to any part of a question or passage that appears on a State assessment.


Signing of Listening Passages for English Language Arts Tests for a Student Who is Deaf or Hearing Impaired

Students should be given many instructional opportunities to practice listening passages prior to State testing. The following procedures may be utilized only if required by the IEP/504 Plan:

·       The listening comprehension section may be repeated more than two times (the specific number of times must be indicated in the IEP/504 Plan).

·      The exam should be administered in a separate location. Features required in the location may be specified in the IEP/504 Plan (e.g., minimal visual distractions).

·      Passages within the section may be broken into segments for ease in signing, for retention and comprehension purposes and to allow the student to take notes.

·    The entire passage may be signed the first time without note taking to assist the student in understanding the total meaning of the passage before it is signed in segments.

·    Students may use any form of sign language. ("Language communication" rather than "English communication" is the "receptive" language skill being measured.)


SAMPLE FORM

IEP Implementation Responsibilities

Student: ______________________

Date IEP Developed: _________________________

 

Tasks:

Person Responsible:

______________

Projected Completion Date: _____________

 

Date Completed:

______________

Disseminate copies of IEP to:

_____________________________

_____________________________

Inform staff of IEP implementation responsibilities

_____________________________

_____________________________

Staff training on implementation of testing accommodations

_____________________________

_____________________________

Obtain materials or equipment
[] Instructional Materials
[] Assessment Materials
[] Assistive Technology
[] ________________

Arrange for Testing Accommodations

Other

 

BASIS FOR NOT IMPLEMENTING TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Please note: All testing accommodations indicated on a student’s IEP/504 Plan must be provided for all tests except for reasons below.

 

Student Refusal

    In some instances, a student may refuse or ask to waive testing accommodations for local or State assessments. School officials should explain to the student the reasons for the testing accommodations. However, if such action is not effective in changing the student’s position, school officials should administer the test without accommodations and document the incident, notify parent(s) and consider the appropriateness of additional counseling or a review of the student’s IEP/504 Plan by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT. In such cases, if the answer document requires the school to indicate test accommodations provided, the teacher should indicate only those actually used by the student. Involving the student from the beginning, as appropriate, in discussions and decisions regarding testing accommodations may help to avoid such circumstances.

Administration of Diagnostic Evaluations 

    Diagnostic evaluations are used selectively to determine whether a student has a disability and the extent of the student’s special education needs. The manner in which these procedures or instruments are administered to an individual student (with and/or without testing accommodations) is at the discretion of the evaluator since the purpose of the test is diagnostic. This does not include tests that are administered to all students in a grade or class. Based on section 200.4(b)(6) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education if an individual assessment is not conducted under standard conditions a description of the extent to which it varied from the standard conditions (e.g. the qualifications of the person administering the test, or the method of test administration) must be included in the evaluation report.

Not Permitted by State Education Department Policy on State Assessments

 

Testing modifications that alter the measurement of a construct, as determined by the Department, are not permitted on elementary and intermediate-level State assessments in ELA and mathematics. The Department policies prohibiting the use of certain testing modifications applies only to specific testing modifications due to their impact on specific portions of the elementary and intermediate ELA and mathematics State assessments. These policies do not apply to any content-specific assessments at the elementary and intermediate level such as science or social studies or to any State examinations at the secondary level.
 

English Language Arts (Grades 3-8)

The following testing modifications are not permitted on certain sections of the Grades 3-8 ELA test (the identification of the specific sections are provided in the School Administrator’s Manual and Teacher Directions for each test):

·       oral reading or signing of the portions of the test that measure reading skills;

·       use of spell or grammar checkers on portions of the tests measuring writing skills; and

·     deletion of spelling, paragraphing and punctuation requirements on portions of the tests measuring writing skills.

Mathematics (Grades 3-8)

The following testing modification is not permitted on certain sections of the Grades 3-8 Mathematics tests (the identification of these specific sections will be provided in the School Administrator’s Manual and Teacher Directions for each test):

·         Use of calculator or mathematics tables on those sections measuring calculation skills.

In addition, the following types of testing modifications are not permitted on any State assessment:

·       explaining, clarifying or simplifying questions, items, passages or multiple choice responses;

·       reducing the number of multiple choice responses;

·       eliminating questions or items;

·       eliminating the listening section of a State test;

·       providing sheets containing mathematical formulas; and

·       providing thesaurus or English language dictionary publications and devices.

 

TEST PREPARATION

Test-taking skills are important for all students to enable them to demonstrate the knowledge and skills learned. Students with disabilities often need direct instruction in test-taking skills. The following may be helpful in preparing students to take tests:

·        Explain the purpose of the test and how the results of the test will assist teachers to provide instruction that will help students learn better.

·         Familiarize students with various test formats, multiple choice, short answer, etc.

·         Familiarize students with various types of test directions.

·         Provide experience with timed tests.

·         Provide practice with filling in answer sheets.

·         Discuss the importance of adequate rest and nutrition.

·         Teach strategies to reduce stress and improve relaxation.

·         Provide back copies of State assessments, when available, for practice.

·         Provide experience with the testing accommodations to be provided.

·         Provide instruction on how the testing accommodation will be implemented (e.g., use of scribe) and/or the use of assistive technology devices (e.g., word processor).

 

Testing accommodations should be linked to instructional accommodations, and therefore, whenever possible, should not be introduced for the first time during a State or districtwide assessment.

 


 

Chapter VII: SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

 

        Students with certain sensory impairments may require special considerations and unique types of testing accommodations. For these populations, it is especially important to consider the instructional accommodations used in the classroom that enable learning to take place when determining the accommodations needed in the assessment process. The use of certain technologies as testing accommodations should never be introduced to the student for the first time during a testing situation and school personnel should also ensure that the student has received instruction on the use of these accommodations.

 

STUDENTS WITH DEAFNESS OR HEARING IMPAIRMENT

 

Based on the unique needs of students with deafness or hearing impairments the following accommodations should be considered when making decisions:

 

·       Timing/Scheduling

Ø    extended time to allow for use of interpreter for listening section and use of pauses between passages for note taking

Ø     breaks

Ø     multiple-day administration (severe physical or management needs)

 

·       Setting

Ø     separate location

Ø     special seating in close proximity to interpreter

Ø     special acoustics (e.g., minimal extraneous noises)

 

·       Presentation

Ø     use of sign language interpreter to sign listening section of test

Ø     signing listening section more than twice (indicate the number of times on the IEP/504 Plan)

Ø     auditory amplification devices

Ø     auditory tape of questions, items and passages for students with reading disability

Ø     test passages, questions, item and multiple-choice responses signed to student for students with reading disabilities

Ø     exchange of handwritten notes between teacher and student for Part One speaking tasks in State assessments in languages other than English

Ø     preferential seating

 

·       Response

Ø     sign responses through interpreter for students whose disability affects their ability to respond in the standard manner

Ø     auditory amplification

Ø     exchange of handwritten notes between teacher and student for Part One speaking tasks in State assessments in languages other than English
 

In all instances when an interpreter is used, to the greatest extent possible:

 

·      There should be adequate time prior to the test to allow the interpreter to become familiar with the passage so he or she is prepared to present the information appropriately. Principals may open secure State assessments earlier on the day of administration to allow adequate time. This requires prior approval by Office of State Assessment. See page 28.

·   Interpreters must be appropriately qualified and trained. Whenever possible, the “assigned interpreter” should be one with whom the student is familiar and who is familiar with the student.

 

STUDENTS WITH BLINDNESS OR VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

 

Based on the unique needs of students with blindness and visual impairments the following accommodations should be considered when making appropriate decisions:

 

·       Timing/Scheduling

Ø     multiple day administration

Ø     extended time (specify)

Ø     breaks (specify)

Ø     extended time to allow for the use of other accommodations

Ø     breaks and/or extended time to allow for eye strain or visual fatigue

Ø     extended time to allow for the extra time needed for a reader to describe diagrams or illustrated materials

 

·       Setting

Ø     special lighting

Ø     individual/small group

 

·       Presentation

Ø     Braille editions of tests

Ø     large type editions of tests

Ø     audio tape/materials

Ø     directions read

Ø     visual magnification devices including closed circuit television (CCTV)

Ø     “tests read”

Ø     text-to-speech software programs

Ø     key words or phrases highlighted in directions

Ø     increase size, shape, space for answers

Ø     increased spacing

Ø     decrease number of test items per page markers to maintain place

Ø     calculation devices/talking calculator

Ø     abacus

Ø     tactile graphics

Ø     verbal description of graphics

Ø     adapted measuring devices such as scales, graduated cylinders, Braille/large print rulers, tactile measuring tools, etc.

Ø     non-visual indicators in experiment-like situations i.e., buzzers for lights

Ø     boldface letters and/or white paper for increased contrast

Ø     electronic version with screen reader and/or magnification

Ø     Braille paper, bold line paper, raised line graph paper

 

·       Response

Ø     Brailler (for recording answers and note taking)

Ø     use of scribe

Ø     tape recorder (for recording answers and note taking)

Ø     typewriter or word processor

Ø     electronic note takers

Ø     handwriting guide or word processor

Ø     record answers in test booklet

 

·       Accommodations specific to science laboratory instruction/testing (It is especially important that accommodations provided during testing are those that have been used during instruction.)

Ø     an aide/assistant who can verbally describe specimens seen through a microscope

Ø     enlarging slides or pictures through a CCTV, projector, magnifier

Ø     tactile diagrams/raised line drawings

Ø     use actual objects for 3D representation

Ø     directions/procedures read to student

Ø     Braille/large print directions and procedures

Ø     assistive technology/adapted materials

o      devices that transform visual signals into audio output

o      talking thermometer/timers

o      glassware with embossed numbers

o      Braille labeling


 

Chapter VIII: STAFF DEVELOPMENT

 

        As discussed in Chapter III, many individuals are involved in determining what testing accommodations are needed for individual students and how to implement testing accommodations consistently. Each individual brings his or her unique expertise and information to the process.

        In order to assure that decisions are made consistently across districts and across the State, staff development must be provided that:

·     communicates State policy, guidelines and procedures.

·     provides decision-makers with the tools necessary to make appropriate individualized decisions about students.

·     provides the tools necessary to correctly implement testing accommodations.

 

WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN STAFF TRAINING?

 

All those responsible for developing and implementing the student’s IEP/504 Plan should participate in staff development activities. These include members of the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT, teachers, administrators, teaching assistants and teacher aides.
 

WHAT SHOULD BE COVERED IN THE TRAINING?

 

            The following topics would be appropriate items for a training agenda:

·       Purpose of testing accommodations

·       Eligibility

·       Documentation

·       Types of testing accommodations

·       Criteria for making decisions

·       Aligning testing accommodations with instructional accommodations

·       Implementation of testing accommodations

·       Purpose of State assessments

·       State policy and guidelines

·       Discussing testing accommodations with students

·       Instructing students on the use of certain testing accommodations

·       Training and experience/opportunities to implement testing accommodations


 

Chapter IX: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

DECISION-MAKING

 

1.   For declassified students, may changes be made to the testing accommodations listed on the student’s last recommendation?

 

Yes. During subsequent years, if accommodations are no longer appropriate or different accommodations are needed, the school district may use local procedures to review and document in the last IEP the discontinuation or revision of the testing accommodations. Local procedures can include a meeting with the student’s parent, principal and teacher(s). It is not necessary to convene a full CSE/CPSE to make these changes, but that may be another option.

 

2.    Is there a time limit for a student who has been declassified to be eligible for continuing testing accommodations?

 

No. The CSE/CPSE can recommend continued testing accommodations for a student who is declassified for any time period and indicate these recommendations in their last IEP.

 

3.    Is there any limit to the types of testing accommodations that may be included on a student’s 504 plan?

 

No. Based on the student’s needs the complete range of testing accommodations, which may be included in an IEP, may be included in a 504 Plan.

 

4.    Is there a limit to the amount of extended time a CSE/CPSE/504 MDT may recommend for a student with a disability?

 

No. However, the ability of the student to maintain optimal performance during long periods of test-taking must be considered when the CSE determines how much extended time should be provided.

 

TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

 

1.     Must a separate setting be a separate room, or can a student be in the same room as other students, but in a section away from the group?

 

Separate setting means a student is administered the test in a separate room apart from the standard setting being used to administer the test. The student can be administered the test individually or in a small group. This must be specified in the IEP/504 Plan.

 

2.   Can “questions read” be indicated as a testing accommodation in the IEP/504 Plan, which would mean that only questions are read to the student?

 

No. The passages and multiple choice items that go along with the questions are considered part of the question. Therefore, to assure a common understanding by teachers, parents and students and appropriate implementation of this accommodation, the IEP/504 Plan should indicate this accommodation as “test passages, questions, items and multiple choice responses read to student.”

 

3.     Is the use of “word banks” an allowable accommodation on State assessments?

 

No. For State assessments this is a testing modification that by definition changes the content of the examination. The use of word banks in teacher-made tests would be left up to the discretion of the child’s teachers since they know the skills they are intending to measure and how this would affect the validity of the test.

 

Only those standardized reference materials specifically permitted or provided by the Department are allowable for use by students taking State assessments. Word banks are not authorized reference materials; their availability during the administration of a State examination invalidates the test.

 

4.     Is it permissible to simplify questions when State assessments are being read?

 

No. This is not permissible on State assessments, as it would invalidate the examination. However, on teacher-made tests or quizzes the teacher can make a determination as to whether and the extent to which any clarification may be provided without compromising test validity. Only clarification or simplification of directions is permitted on State assessments when required by the IEP/504 Plan .

 

5.     Can questions or multiple-choice responses be deleted on a State assessment?

 

No. Individual items or responses may never be modified or reduced without specific prior authorization from the Department.

 

6.   What types of calculators are not permitted to be used by students when taking the Regents examinations?

 

Under no circumstances may calculators with symbol manipulation be made available to students taking Regents examinations. Calculators that can communicate with other calculators through infrared sensors or any other method of transmission are not permitted. The use of operating manuals, instruction or formula cards, or other information concerning the operation of calculators is also not permitted during the examinations.

 

Regents Examinations in Science, RCT in Science

 

Four-function or scientific calculators must be made available to all students taking Regents examinations in science or the RCT in Science.

 

7.     Are students permitted to have sheets of mathematical formulas for use on State assessments?

 

No. The provision of mathematical formulas for any State mathematics assessment is not permitted. If students have entered formulas into their calculators, these must be deleted or the student must be given an alternate calculator for the State assessment.
 

8.     What types of calculators are students permitted to use when taking the Regents Competency Test (RCT) in Mathematics?

 

For the RCT in mathematics, students with disabilities may use any type of calculator specified in their IEP/504 Plan that falls within the range of permissible calculators detailed in question six (6) of this section.

 

9.    Can a student with a disability be provided additional paper as a testing accommodation on the Regents Examinations in Mathematics A and B?

 

Yes. If indicated on the IEP/504 Plan, additional paper may be provided to enable students to show their work on examinations of mathematical calculations. These additional sheets must be stapled to the student’s answer papers and scored as part of the test.

 

10.  Can a student with a disability have a notetaker available who takes notes for the student during the listening section of a State examination?

 

No. A note taker cannot take notes for the student but the student can have a scribe to record what the student dictates. In this case, the listening section would be read in sections permitting the student time to pause to turn to the scribe and dictate the notes to be written down by the scribe. Spelling would not have to be provided. If a scribe is used in this manner, documentation in the IEP/504 Plan should state “use of scribe for writing notes as dictated by the student.”

 

11. What types of accommodations are permitted for students with disabilities when administered the listening section of State assessments?

 

The following may be considered:

·       Reading the listening passage more than the standard number of times

·       Breaking the passage into sections for ease in notetaking

·       Having the listening section tape recorded and allowing the student to replay the tape more than the standard number of times.

 

12.  If a student’s handwriting is illegible, can a scribe be used to rewrite the student’s response?

 

Yes. If indicated on the IEP/504 Plan the student may have a scribe who rewrites the student’s response as dictated by the student. Documentation in the IEP/504 Plan must state “use of scribe for rewriting student’s response as dictated by the student.”

 

13.  Are graphic organizers permitted on State assessments?

 

Only the blank shell of a graphic organizer would be permitted. There must be no words, directions or headings on the paper. For those students who have been taught to use this tool for writing, it is best to teach them to develop their own graphic organizer similar to ones used in the classroom. Those students who cannot draw their own graphic organizer can have a scribe draw one for them as directed by the student.

 

14. Is deletion of spelling requirements a test accommodation permitted for second language examinations?

 

Yes.

 

15. Is revised test format (other than Braille or large type) an allowable accommodation on State assessments? If so, who is responsible for revising the test format?

 

If the student’s IEP/504 Plan requires a revised test format, the principal is responsible for implementing this accommodation. Changes in test format such as fewer items on a page (large-print edition has this feature), increased spacing between items, changing size or shape or location of space for answers, etc. can be made by the school. A request to open the test earlier to make these changes must be submitted to and approved by the Office of State Assessment. The request must be faxed by the principal and must indicate that permission is needed to revise the format based in the student's IEP/504 Plan. The request must include the student’s name, examination title and dates, proposed revisions and justification for each and a copy of the test accommodations page of the student’s IEP/504 Plan indicating the recommendation for a revised format. It can be faxed to the Office of State Assessment at 518-474-1989 and they will respond in writing. Request should be submitted as soon as the school knows this will be needed.

 

16. What type of accommodations are permitted for a student with a disability who is unable to independently manipulate objects during science labs due to physical or other impairments?

 

In general, the types of instructional accommodations provided in the classroom to assist learning to take place will be permitted as a testing accommodation if indicated in the IEP/504 Plan. This includes use of an aide who will manipulate objects as directed by the student. It is especially important that the student and aide have experience in using this accommodation during instruction and classroom tests.

 

DOCUMENTATION

 

1.     In order to implement certain accommodations, the need for additional accommodations may need to be recommended. An example is the need for “separate location” when a student uses a scribe. Does the IEP/504 Plan need to indicate separate location or can this be provided at the school’s discretion?

 

The CSE/CPSE/504 MDT must anticipate such consequences and must indicate in the IEP/504 Plan all such accommodations. Accommodations used in the administration of State assessments to students with an IEP/504 Plan may not be devised or put into effect outside the specifications and requirements directly stated in the student’s IEP/504 Plan.

 

2.     Must the IEP/504 Plan specify the type of calculator allowed?

 

The generic type or function of the allowed calculator must be indicated in the IEP/504 Plan by use of very specific terms such as “nongraphing scientific calculator” so as to make clear the limits intended by the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT on the technology that will be available to the student. The particular brand of calculator, however, should never be specified.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

 

1.     Is it permissible for students with disabilities whose IEP/504 Plan specifies “extended time” to begin a State test earlier in the day than the general administration time?

 

Yes. Unlike IEP/504 Plan requirements regarding the duration of examinations and the need for breaks in some cases, adjustments to the starting time of State assessments may be made solely at the discretion of the principal and do not need to be specified in the IEP/504 Plan. However, Department policy governing the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadlines, which are delineated in the School Administrator’s Manual for Regents and RCTs (http://www.p12.nysed.gov/apda/) must be observed even in the case of students with disabilities. The purpose of these deadlines is to eliminate any possibility of the exchange of information between students at different examination centers.

 

2. When a student’s IEP/504 Plan provides the testing accommodation “deletion of spelling, paragraphing and punctuation requirements,” how should this be indicated on the test booklet and when scoring responses?

 

For examinations except the Comprehensive Examinations in languages other than English:

 

A clear written notice must appear on each test booklet as to whether “deletion of spelling, paragraphing and/or punctuation requirements” was among the accommodations required by the student’s IEP/504 Plan. Teachers should not cross out and correct student’s work but must bear these accommodations in mind when scoring those responses to test items in which spelling, paragraphing and/or punctuation is ordinarily part of the scoring rubric.

 

            For Regents Comprehensive Examinations in languages other than English and Second Language Proficiency Examinations:

 

A clear written notice must appear on each test booklet as to whether “deletion of spelling, paragraphing and/or punctuation requirements” was among the accommodations required by the student’s IEP/504 Plan. In order to rate the student’s paper in a fair and objective manner, the rater should first read the student’s entire response. Then the rater should reread the response and in the space above any misspelled word, write the correctly spelled word. In the case of a word having no resemblance to the correct target language word, the teacher should leave the student’s response as it was written. The student’s response may then be rated according to the directions in the teacher’s scoring key. The dimension that contains conventions of language should not be ignored, as it is possible that the word order or the use of words will affect the rating after the teacher has corrected the spelling errors.
 

3.     How should the student’s work be transcribed for State assessments if the student’s IEP/504 Plan accommodations include “use of scribe, tape recorder, word processor or typewriter”?

 

Teachers should indicate in writing on the test booklet whether the student used a “scribe, tape recorder, word processor or typewriter.” If a student uses a typewriter or word processor, the printed answer must be stapled to the test booklet. For students using scribes, tape recorders, large type or Braille editions, responses must be transcribed onto regular test answer documents and test booklets exactly as dictated or recorded. For second language proficiency examinations and Regents Comprehensive Examinations in languages other than English, the student must spell each word to the scribe (except when the IEP/504 Plan includes deletion of spelling requirements) so that the student’s ability to communicate in the target language is accurately reflected in the transcription.

 

For Regents examinations (with the exception of the comprehensive examinations in languages other than English), raters must not cross out or correct the student’s work but must bear these accommodations in mind when scoring those responses to test items in which spelling, paragraphing or punctuation is ordinarily part of the scoring rubric.

 

For Regents Comprehensive Examinations in languages other than English for and Second Language Proficiency Examinations, indicate on the test booklet or answer document that the student received “deletion of spelling, paragraphing and/or punctuation requirements.”

 

In order to rate the student’s paper in a fair and objective manner, the rater should first read the student’s entire response. Then the rater should reread the response and write the correctly spelled word in the space above any misspelled word. In the case of a word with no resemblance to the correct word in the language being tested, the teacher should leave the student’s response as written. The student’s response may then be rated according to the directions in the scoring key. (The dimension that contains conventions of language should not be ignored, as it is possible that the word order or the use of words will affect the rating after the teacher has corrected the spelling errors.)

 

4.     If a student is approved for multiple-day administration of State assessments and has more than one examination in a single day, must he or she begin each examination on the day scheduled for all students?

 

Yes. Each examination must begin on the day scheduled for its administration, and the student must complete at least one section of each examination begun on a given day. The student is not permitted to continue work on a section that was begun on a previous day and may never alter responses made on a previous day. On a section-by-section basis, an additional day or more may be provided for completion of the remaining sections of the examination. Students may be provided only a photocopy of the sections they completed on a previous day (photocopied by the school) so that they have access to all information on the test.
 

5.     Is it permissible to scan a State exam into a software program (such as a text-to-speech program, voice recognition software) so the student can be administered the test through this program?

 

This accommodation would be considered “revised format.” For State assessments, any reproduction and/or reformatting of test booklets require the advance written permission of the Office of State Assessment. A request to open the test earlier to make these changes needs to be submitted to the Office of State Assessment. The request must be faxed by the principal and must indicate that permission is needed to revise the format based on the student's IEP/504 Plan. The fax number of the Office of State Assessment is (518) 474-1989.

 

Any other features that a software program might have that would provide the student with information or assistance not permitted on State assessments (such as dictionaries, thesaurus, websites) must be disabled if the program is to be used for State assessments. Features such as use of spelling or grammar checkers would not have to be disabled if indicated in the student’s IEP/504 Plan as a testing accommodation and allowable on a particular State assessment. If not permitted in the IEP/504 Plan, these features must also be disabled.

 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

 

STUDENTS WITH DEAFNESS OR HEARING IMPAIRMENT

 

1.     Is a student with deafness or hearing impairment permitted to read the listening section of a State examination?

 

Only students who are not proficient in sign language may read the listening section of the examination, and only if this accommodation is indicated in the student’s IEP/504 Plan. This is generally intended for students who are not proficient in sign language because they have recently incurred a hearing impairment prior to the test. This accommodation is not intended for students who are not proficient in sign language because they utilize other methods of “listening” during instruction such as lip reading, amplification devices, etc. For these students it is expected they would utilize the accommodations provided during instruction.

 

2.  Is it permissible to delete/prorate the listening comprehension sections of the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English for students with deafness or hearing impairment?

 

No. The listening section may not be deleted. Students who are deaf or have hearing impairments may use sign language or finger spelling for the listening section.

 

3.   How should the listening passages for ELA tests be signed to a student with deafness or hearing impairment?

 

Students should be given many instructional opportunities to practice listening passages. See page 29 for procedures to be utilized if required by the IEP/504 Plan.

 

4.  If a student with a hearing impairment is provided the use of a scribe through a sign language interpreter, does the interpreter translate the student’s signed response into standard English?

 

Yes. However, for the Grades 3-8 ELA it would be expected that only students with hearing impairments who may have additional disabilities that preclude them from writing their own responses would be using a scribe through a sign language interpreter to respond to questions measuring a student’s writing skills.

 

5.     What form of sign language may be used?

 

Students who use sign language due to a hearing impairment may use any form of sign language (American Sign Language, Signing Exact English, fingerspelling, etc.) for both the listening comprehension and interactive communication sections. (“Language communication” rather than “English communication” is the skill being measured.)

 

6.     If certain sections of the Grades 3-8 ELA tests are not permitted to be read to students, can these sections be signed to students with deafness or hearing impairments?

 

No. Signing of those sections measuring reading is not permitted. Those sections are intended to measure a student’s reading skills.

 

7.     Can the listening comprehension section of the Comprehensive Examinations in modern languages and in the Second Language Proficiency (SLP) Examinations in modern languages be deleted for students who are deaf or hearing impaired?

 

The listening sections may not be deleted. The listening section and interactive communication sections (Part 1 and 2) of the Regents and SLP examinations in modern languages may be presented in written form to students who are deaf or hearing impaired and whose IEP/504 Plan requires this accommodation. In Part 1, Speaking, the communication contributed by the teacher may be provided in writing to the student. The student may then provide the communicative response in writing for each interaction on each of the tasks that the student is required to answer. (Extended time should be considered, as it will be essential for implementation of this accommodation.)

 

Students who are deaf or hearing impaired may be allowed to read each of the passages in Part 2a and Part 2b of the listening section.

 

8.     What accommodations can be made for the administration of the interactive communication section (Part 1) of the Regents and the SLP examinations in modern languages for students who are unable to speak or whose speech is impaired?

 

Students who are unable to speak, or whose speech is affected by a disability (e.g., students who are deaf or hearing impaired) should write their responses to the interactive communication tasks. The teacher’s portion of the speaking task should be presented orally to those students who are unable to speak but are able to hear. 

 

STUDENTS WITH BLINDNESS OR VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

 

1.     Is it permissible to highlight or use colored pencils on graphs on State assessments to make a graph or illustration more visible for a student with visual impairments?

 

Yes. This is permissible only if indicated in the student’s IEP/504 Plan as a testing accommodation needed in order to enhance the contrast on the item for the student or help to distinguish art from text. In this case, the entire graphic must be highlighted or colored so that the student’s attention may not be drawn to a particular element presented in the graph or illustration. Please note: Schools may permit students to use highlighters when taking State assessments. Proctors must monitor student use of highlighters to ensure that they are not being used by students to record their responses to questions that must be answered in pencil and that the use of the highlighters does not obscure the students' responses to open-ended questions.

 

2.     What is the procedure for obtaining Braille or large type editions of State assessments?

 

The school principal may indicate the need for large type or Braille editions in the standard examination request submitted to the Office of State Assessment prior to each examination period. Schools are cautioned to observe the published deadlines for all examination requests, but especially for Braille editions, which are produced on an as-needed basis.

 

3.     Does the Department delete items that cannot be reproduced in Braille?

 

On occasion, the Department will revise a test question on the Braille edition of a State assessment to make it accessible to Braille readers. When it is impossible, even with revision, to make a test question accessible, the Department will revise, delete or replace the item. When this occurs the Department provides special instructions for scoring the affected Braille edition.

 

4.     Is it permissible to use templates or graph paper as a testing accommodation for State assessments?

 

Yes. Templates and graph paper enable some students to maintain their place or record answers.

 

5.     What types of accommodations are permitted for a student with a visual impairment who is unable to see specimens/objects or see through a microscope during science labs?

 

In general, the types of instructional accommodations provided in the classroom that are used to enable the student to learn will be permitted as a testing accommodation if indicated in the IEP/504 Plan. This includes use of an aide who will describe to the student what is seen. The student will draw conclusions and analyze verbal data to make a response. Students must have instruction and practice in using this accommodation during instruction and classroom tests. Aides must receive training and experience to appropriately implement this accommodation.

 

6.     Are students with visual impairments who do not use Braille due to multiple disabilities permitted to have the Grades 3-8 ELA Tests read to them?

 

Yes, if recommended by the CSE and the accommodation “tests read” is indicated on the student’s IEP. When a student is blind or visually impaired, the CSE must provide instruction in Braille and the use of Braille unless the CSE determines, after an evaluation of the student’s reading and writing skills, needs and appropriate reading and writing media, that instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is not appropriate for the student. The student’s future needs for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille must also be considered.

 

Only those students with disabilities for whom it has been determined that instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is not appropriate may be permitted to have the Grades 3-8 ELA Tests read to them as a testing accommodation if indicated on the IEP.

 

The CSE must use the following procedures in order to determine if the student meets the required criteria to be eligible for this accommodation:

 

 

This will be permitted for those students whom the CSE, based on the considerations and criteria outlined above, has determined that:

 

OTHER

 

1.   If “deletion of spelling” is a testing accommodation required in student’s IEP/504 Plan, should spelling be a part of that student’s instruction?

 

Spelling is part of the ELA program/learning standards. Spelling instruction with special education supports may be appropriate to assist the student to improve his/her spelling skills.

 

2.     What options are available when a student is scheduled for more than one State examination in a single day?

 

When the CSE/CPSE/504 MDT discusses and recommends appropriate testing accommodations for a student with a disability, the discussion must include consideration of any State assessments the student is scheduled to take that year. The CSE/CPSE/504 MDT should receive information about the examination schedule from school officials as soon as it is disseminated. If, based on the courses the student is enrolled in, he/she will be expected to take more than one State assessment in a single day, the following options should be considered:

 

·       Postpone one of the examinations until the following administration period. This would minimize the stress and preparation time for the student and maximize his or her performance on the remaining examinations. In discussing this option and determining which examination should be postponed, it is preferable to postpone the examination in a content area in which the student will continue to receive instruction (and in which retention of information is therefore a less critical issue). Schools are encouraged to provide review and preparation for affected students prior to any examination(s) that is postponed for this reason. When postponing one or more examinations to the August administration period, in order to provide the student with the additional time needed and still have time for scoring, the school must remember that the August examination period is only two days long. No student, whether identified as having a disability or not, should be scheduled to take more than two examinations during the August administration.

·       Consider the option of having the student take a Department approved alternative test, such as the SAT II. Many of these examinations are offered several times a year.

·     Consider the option of the testing accommodation of “multiple day administration of State assessments.” See page 16 of this document.

 

3.     What are the consequences if a school fails to provide the testing accommodations required by the student’s IEP/504 Plan?

 

The school’s failure to provide the testing accommodations required by the student’s IEP/504 Plan may result in the invalidation of the student’s test score.

 

For elementary and intermediate level tests, the school would report the test as a misadministration.

 

For secondary level tests required for graduation, if the student fails the test or is not satisfied with the score, the school would report the test as a misadministration and the principal could request the Office of State Assessment to invalidate the score so that it does not appear on the student’s record. The student will then have to retake the examination during a subsequent administration period. If the student does pass the test and is satisfied with the score, it can be considered a valid score.

 

4.     If a student has the test accommodation of recording answers directly into the booklet, should the teacher transcribe the student’s responses to the multiple choice questions onto the answer sheet?

 

Yes.

 


 

Appendices

 

The following tools have been provided in the attached appendices to assist CSEs in making appropriate decisions for testing accommodations:

 


APPENDIX A

 

TYPES OF TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS AND
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

 

FLEXIBILITY IN SCHEDULING/TIMING

 

Examples of questions to ask to determine if scheduling accommodations are needed:


FLEXIBILITY IN SETTING

Examples of questions to ask to determine if setting accommodations are needed:

 

METHOD OF PRESENTATION

Revised Test Format[2]

 

Examples of questions to ask to determine if revised test format accommodations are needed:

Revised Test Directions[3]

Examples of questions to ask to determine if revised test directions are needed:

Use of Aids/Assistive Technology

Examples of questions to ask to determine if use of aids are needed:

METHOD OF RESPONSE

Use of Aids/Assistive Technology

Examples of questions to ask to determine if use of aids are needed:

*Not permitted for certain sections of the Grades 3-8 ELA.

OTHER

Use of Aids/Assistive Technology

 

Examples of questions to ask to determine if use of aids are needed:

 

*Not permitted for certain sections of the Grades 3-8 ELA.

** Not permitted for certain sections of the Grades 3-8 Mathematics test.
 


 

APPENDIX B


Examples of Student Characteristics and Possible Accommodations

Student Characteristics

Possible Effect
on Test-taking

Possible Accommodations

Poor attention/distractibility.

Has difficulty remaining on task.

May have difficulty concentrating on test items for extended length of time and completing exam in allotted time. May be distracted by other students.

·     Separate setting free from distractions

·     On-task focusing prompts

·     Provide breaks during exam period

·     Extended time

·     Study carrel

May have difficulty following or remembering directions.

·     Directions read more than standard number of times

·     Directions provided for each page of questions

·     Directions simplified

May have difficulty dividing attention between the test booklet and recording answers on a separate answer sheet.

·     Record answers directly in test booklet

Processes written information at a slow rate.

May not be able to complete exam within standard timeframe.

·     Extended time

May become fatigued/distracted.

·     Separate setting

·     Directions read

·     Tests read orally*

·     Multiple day

Poor physical /motor coordination /writing difficulties.

Unable to or has difficulty recording responses using paper and pencil in standard manner.

·     Use of computer/word processor or other writing aids.

·     Respond orally to scribe

·     Separate setting when using scribe

·     Use of adaptive writing utensils

Difficulty recording answers on a separate answer sheet.

·     Record answers directly in test booklet

·     Allow additional space for writing

Writing tasks completed at a slow rate.

·     Extended time

Unable to or has difficulty using paper and pencil to solve computations.

·     Use of calculator/math tables*

·     Use of graph paper to align numbers when doing computations

Difficulty following/understanding directions.

May not understand what the test requires them to do.

·     Directions read orally

·     Directions simplified

·     Additional examples of directions provided

·     Key words or phrases of directions highlighted

May have difficulty remembering directions.

·     Directions reread for each page of questions

Student Characteristics

Possible Effect
on Test-taking

Possible Accommodations

Visual Impairments

Unable to or has difficulty accessing test in standard print format and requires tactile or oral means to obtain information.

·     Braille

·     Tests read orally*

·     Tape recorder

May have low or limited vision and has difficulty with standard print.

·     Large type

·     Magnifier

·     Tests read when fatigue sets in due to eye strain*

·     Special desk or book stand to hold materials for easier reading

·     Extended time

·     Increase spacing between test items

·     Fewer items per page

Unable to use paper and pencil to solve computations

·     Use of calculator/talking calculator*

·     Use of graph paper to align numbers

Difficulty tracking from test to answer sheet.

·     Record answers on test booklet

·     Templates to reduce visible print

May have low or limited vision and has difficulty with detailed visual tasks such as printed material, graphs, charts, diagrams, etc.

·     Highlighting entire graphs to increase contrast from color of page

·     Special lighting

·     Oral description of graphs, charts, etc. presented in a neutral manner

Difficulty maintaining place in a standard test booklet.

·     Use of templates to reduce visible print

Visual-perceptual difficulties

Difficulty focusing on individual items if too many items are presented.

·     Large type

·     Increase spacing between test items

·     Fewer items per page

·     Use of templates to reduce visible print

Emotional/ Mental Health Impairments

Displays test anxiety.

·     Extended time

·     Breaks during test

Exhibits inappropriate behavior.

·     Separate location

·     On-task focusing prompts

Administered medication which may affect the student’s physical stamina.

·     Test administered during optimal times when student is most alert

Health Impairments/ Poor stamina

Unable to sit for extended lengths of time without changing position.

·     Extended time

·     Breaks provided for rest periods

·     Adaptive furniture

Unable to complete test within standard time allotted due to fatigue.

·     Multiple day testing

·     Separate setting

Increased fatigue as duration of taking test increases.

·     Use of scribe when fatigue affects ability to write

·     Tests read when fatigue affects ability to read*

Difficulty with reading

Reading skills below grade level of test.

·     Oral reading of tests or sections of tests that do not measure reading comprehension

Slow reading pace.

·     Test read orally to student individually in a separate location to accommodate individual student pace*

·     Extended time

Hearing Impairments

Unable to or has difficulty accessing oral directions or listening sections of test in standard manner.

·     Use of sign language interpreter for oral directions and listening passages

·     Listening passages may be signed more than once

·     Written directions provided

·     Extended time

·     Separate setting

·     Amplification devices

·     Preferential seating in front of interpreter

Difficulty with auditory processing

Difficulty remembering and/or understanding oral directions.

·     Repeat directions more than standard number of times

·     Directions simplified

·     Provide written directions

·     Preferential seating

·     Repeat listening section more than standard number of times

Difficulty with math processing/computations

Unable to memorize basic math facts.

·     Use of calculator*

·     Chart of basic math facts*

 

* Except as not permitted by the State Education Department policy on Grades 3-8 ELA and/or mathematics tests. www.p12.nysed.gov/3-8/home.html


 

APPENDIX C

RESOURCES

Books/Articles

Elliott, J., Thurlow, M. and Ysseldyke, J. Testing students with disabilities, practical strategies for complying with district and state requirements, Corwin Press, Inc., Thousand Oaks, California. (1998)

 

Elliott, J., Thurlow, M., Ysseldyke, J., and Erickson, R. (1997) Providing assessment accommodations for students with disabilities in state and district assessments (Policy Directions 7), Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.
http://education.umn.edu/nceo/OnlinePubs/Policy7.html

 

Elliott, J., Thurlow, M., Ysseldyke, J. (1996) Assessment guidelines that maximize the participation of students with disabilities in large-scale assessments: Characteristics and considerations (Synthesis Report No. 25) Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. http://education.umn.edu/nceo/OnlinePubs/synthesis25.html

 

Web Sites

http://education.umn.edu/nceo/OnlinePubs/onlinedefault.html

 

State Education Department Offices

Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/

(518) 473-2878

 

Office of State Assessment (OSA)

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/apda/

 

Latest News on Grades 3-8 Testing Program

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/3-8/home.html

(518) 474-5099

 

Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC)
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/

(518) 474-5915

 

Information and Reporting Services

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/

 

Special Education Training and Resource Centers (SETRC)

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/techassist/setrcs.htm
 

MORE INFORMATION

Please note that decisions regarding allowable testing accommodations for the General Education Development (GED), Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) I and SAT II examinations are made by the following applicable offices:

College Board Services for Students with Disabilities

P.O. Box 6226

Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6226

For information on SAT call (609) 771-7137

For information on PSAT call (609) 771-7070

E-mail address: ssd@info.collegeboard.org

 


 

NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
SPECIAL EDUCATION QUALITY ASSURANCE

 

Albany Site

NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
Room 1619 One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12234
(518) 402-3353
(518) 473-0721 (fax)

NYC Site

NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
55 Hanson Place, Room 545
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 722-4558
(718) 722-4793 (fax)

UPSTATE QUALITY ASSURANCE REGIONAL OFFICE

NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
Room 1623 One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12234
(518) 486-6221
(518) 402-3582 (fax)

NEW YORK CITY REGIONAL OFFICE

NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
55 Hanson Place, Room 545
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1580
(718) 722-4544
(718) 722-2032 (fax)

EASTERN REGIONAL OFFICES

Albany Site (One Commerce Plaza)
NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
Room 1623 One Commerce Plaza
Albany, NY 12234
(518) 486-6366
(518) 486-7693 (fax)

 

Malone Site (VR District Office)
NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
209 West Main Street, Suite 3
Malone, NY 12953-9501
(518) 483-3530
(518) 483-3552 (fax)

WESTERN REGIONAL OFFICE

Batavia Site (NYS School for the Blind)
NYS Education Department
Special Education Quality Assurance
2A Richmond Avenue
Batavia, NY 14020
(585) 344-2002

(585) 344-2422 (fax)


 

HUDSON VALLEY REGIONAL OFFICES

Albany Site (One Commerce Plaza)
NYS Education Department
VESID Special Education Quality Assurance
Room 1623 One Commerce Plaza
Albany, N Y 12234
(518) 473-1185
(518) 402-3582 (fax)

Yorktown Heights Site (PNW BOCES)
NYS Education Department
VESID Special Education Quality Assurance
1950 Edgewater Street
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
(914) 245-0010
(914) 245-2952 (fax)

CENTRAL REGIONAL OFFICE
NYS Education Department
VESID Special Education Quality Assurance
State Office Building
333 East Washington Street, Suite 527
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 428-3287
(315) 428-3286 (fax)

LONG ISLAND REGIONAL OFFICE
(Western Suffolk BOCES)
NYS Education Department
VESID Special Education Quality Assurance
The Kellum Educational Center
887 Kellum Street
Lindenhurst, NY 11757
(631) 884-8530
(631) 884-8540 (fax)

 


[1] State Education Department approval is not required for use of this test accommodation in the administration of locally developed classroom tests or districtwide assessments.

[2] For State assessments, any reproduction and/or reformatting of a test booklet requires the advance written permission of the Office of State Assessment.

[3] Revision of test directions is an accommodation that is limited to oral or written instructions provided to all students that explain where and how responses must be recorded; how to proceed in taking the test upon completion of sections; and what steps are required upon completion of the examination. The term "test directions" never refers to any part of a question or passage that appears on a State assessment.