South Carolina ACT Aspire Presentation Spring 2015 Accessibility System Overview Summative Test: 2015 Understanding Levels of Accessibility Support Why are we using the term “accessibility” instead of the word, “accommodations”? All students have tools they need and use every day to engage in the classroom and to communicate effectively what they have learned and what they can do. In fact, so do you and I. ACT Aspire subject tests are designed to level the playing field universally for all students by acknowledging that there are different levels of support (not just ‘accommodations’) that students need to show us what they really do know and CAN DO on state tests. In ACT Aspire, “accommodation-level supports’ are just one of several possible levels of support available. All these levels of support, taken together, are called: The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support Before reviewing the levels of support, you must know and understand the following: 1. All accessibility supports that are permitted, fully honor and measure exactly the academic content that was originally intended by the test developers. 2. Accessibility supports that are permitted during ACT Aspire testing simply level the playing field by removing unnecessary barriers that have nothing to do with demonstrating the content, knowledge and skills that are being measured on ACT Aspire assessments. The academic content that is measured by ACT Aspire assessments is the information that each and every student must bring to the test and be prepared to communicate. This is not negotiable. Accessibility supports do not do anything academically for the student that he or she should be doing independently, they just make communication possible and fair for each student. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support Support Level 1: Default Embedded System Tools (in brief): DEFAULT EMBEDDED Embedded System Tools are those common supports that are made available to ALL users upon launch/start of test by default. No advance request is needed. These tools are either embedded in the basic computer test delivery platform, or may be automatically provided as needed at the local level. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support OPEN ACCESS TOOLS Support Level 2: Open Access Tools (in brief): Open Access Tools may be used by anyone, but they must be identified in advance, recorded in the online PNP, and selected from the pull down menu inside the test to activate them (CBT version), or must be planned in advance and provided locally. Thoughtful decision-making informed by multiple observations and prior successful user experience is strongly recommended. Best Practice: Users should be practiced, familiar and comfortable with using these types of tools – and comfortable using them in combination with any other tools they will also be using. Decisions to use these tools must be made well prior to the test itself. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support CAUTION: Assigning too many tools can harm student performance! Choose carefully and individually for each student to prevent overwhelming or distracting the student during testing. Remember that routine annual local documentation of successful (and unsuccessful) use of accessibility tools through the student’s educational experience helps to inform and improve future choices. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support ACCOMMODATIONS Support Level 3: Accommodations (in brief): Accommodation-level supports listed in the Accessibility Features List are available to “qualified users”- as determined by the responsible educational authority. These supports (used in content areas where permitted) allow the user to independently demonstrate the measured construct. ACT Aspire recommends that students who use accommodation-level supports have a formally documented need as well as relevant knowledge and familiarity with these tools to qualify. Accommodations must be recorded through the online ACT Aspire Personal Needs Profile (PNP) process to be activated. Any other formal qualifying procedure that is required by the responsible educational authority must be completed prior to completing the ACT PNP request process. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support Support Level 3: Accommodations, continued… Accommodations are high-level intensive accessibility tools that are needed by relatively few students. The ACT Aspire system requires accommodation-level supports to be documented by educational personnel on behalf of the student through the online ACT Aspire Personal Needs Profile (PNP). This will allow any needed online resources to be assigned and documented for the student, whether using an online or paper form. It is expected that the responsible educational authority will determine for itself any qualifying procedures or formal documentation to be required within that agency to request and receive accommodation-level support during ACT Aspire testing. The only requirement ACT makes is that the documentation of the use of accommodation-level supports be made through the online PNP portal before testing. This applies to both CBT and Paper form test takers. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support Support Level 3- Accommodations, Continued… Typically, students who receive this, intensive level of support have a formally documented need for specialized resources or equipment that requires professional expertise, special training, and/or extensive monitoring to select and administer the support effectively and securely. Examples include needs for braille or tactile graphics, audio support, sign language interpretation, or other language translation where permitted. Decisions about accommodation-level supports are typically made by an educational team including and on behalf of the student and are normally based on a formal, documented evaluation of specialized need. These supports require substantial additional local resources or highly specialized, expert knowledge to deliver successfully and securely. Like all other allowed levels of support, accommodation supports always fully preserve and honor the construct being tested. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support Support Level 4: Modifications Modifications are supports that are sometimes used during the earliest phase of instruction, but modifications have negative consequences when used for assessment purposes, and are not permitted during ACT Aspire testing for any user. Modifications are provided in the rare circumstances in school testing situations only to support a student to nominally engage with the test, thus providing student access to the “test experience.” However, modifications alter what the test is attempting to measure and therefore do NOT provide access to the construct being tested or claimed by the test. Modifications create invalid test results. The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support Support Level 4: Modifications, continued… This level of support during testing violates the construct being tested, thereby invalidating performance results, and communicates low expectations of student achievement. Supports that provide this much assistance should be used with extreme caution and decisions to use must be made with very careful and documented team deliberation considering the potential consequences for this student and subsequent learning outcomes. Modification-level supports actually prevent meaningful access to performance of the construct being tested, thus removing any ability for the user to demonstrate actual skill levels that might be present. Modifications, therefore, represent a barrier to independent performance of competence. (More discussion of modifications is provided on in the ACT Aspire Accessibility User’s Guide, under: Instruction vs. Assessment Supports). The ACT Aspire Levels of Accessibility Support MODIFICATIONS Modifications in brief: Modifications, if used during the early instructional period may help some students to successively approximate and to eventually learn a new and difficult skill. However, even then, the intent is always to fade this extreme level of support away so that the student can increasingly demonstrate independent competence. In summative assessment, we are trying to observe what the student independently knows and can do. Therefore, if used during the assessment process, Modifications create a barrier to independent performance of competence. An Overview of the Accessibility Features List, 2015 See The ACT Aspire Accessibility User Guide online at: actaspire.avocet.pearson.com for the full list of Features Available: • For Summative Paper Format Test: pp. 9-12 • For Summative Online (CBT) Format Test: pp. 13-15 • For Periodic Test (CBT only): pp. 16-19 Accessibility Features List Overview Choosing Appropriate Supports for Testing By understanding “Access Points” Building an effective Personal Needs Profile requires two things: the right multidisciplinary team - and the right information gathering method Choosing effective supports requires teamwork! The best-practice team includes: • • • • Content staff with expertise in each content area of concern Accessibility specialists with expertise in each area of need The parent or guardian The student whenever possible PNP Information Gathering Method: See The Accessibility User Guide, pp. 23-25 and pp. 40-42 1. Describe the student’s communication strengths by area of communication skill. 2. Identify the student’s communication challenges by subject area. 3. Where a challenge is indicated, chart the communication strengths by access point for that subject area: (Presentation, Interaction/Navigation, Response - strengths) 4. Use the Accessibility Features List to identify supports that match the communication strengths this student can use to overcome identified challenges. Resources: Refer to the ACT Aspire 2015 Accessibility User’s Guide at actaspire.avocet.pearson.com for test administration procedures specific to accessibility supports. Examples of TestNav tools are available online, (updated periodically), at http://actaspire.avocet.pearson.com/actaspire/Home#5040 ACT Aspire Accessibility User Guide 2015 Test coordinator Manual Room supervisor Manuals actaspire.avocet.pearson.com Braille Notes Spanish Language Audio Directions ACT Aspire Calculator Policy ACT Aspire Portal User Guide Test Administrator Training Videos actaspire.tms.pearson.com For other test administration or materials questions, Call the ACT Aspire helpdesk at: 1-888-802-7502 6:00 am - 7:30 pm CT The following slides provide ACT Aspire responses to questions sent by South Carolina staff in February 2015. For additional accessibility guidance, see: • The ACT Aspire Accessibility User Guide, Spring 2015-3 posted at: actaspire.avocet.pearson.com • The SCDE ACT Aspire FAQ Document For other test procedure questions please call or please email ACT Aspire customer service at: 1-888-802-7502 / email@example.com 14 Questions & Answers about ACT Aspire Accessibility 1. Do all PNPs need to be completed before any test sessions can be created? A: No, the entry of PNP data is student specific, that is, a given student can’t be added to a test session until his/her individual PNP is complete. However, many people will want to have the PNP information for all students, if possible, before they set up test sessions to save time. This is just for efficiency, however. You can do this for a single student. 2. During the PNP process, are accommodations selected subject specific? For example, if a student needs extra time for math but not for reading, is that selection only made for the math test? A: The PNP developed by the school team should be subject specific. Decisions about a student’s accessibility support needs should be based on the student’s needs and the requirements of the specific content area test. However, the Personal Needs Profile (PNP) does not specify supports by content at this time, and school level personnel must refer to the IEP, 504 Plan, or ELL Accommodation Plan to ensure that accessibility supports are delivered for the appropriate tests. 3. For students who have an oral administration (human reader) as an accommodation, are their test forms the same? It is not feasible to administer the test using a human reader in a one-on-one situation in most, if not all, of our schools. We must do small groups. Will all students in a small group have the same form? A: ACT very strongly advises that students receive the (paper form) human reader support in a 1:1 test administration. If a group administration is required, we strongly recommend use of the online Text to Speech Audio support used with headphones. This form of online group administration reduces the local staffing need and simulates a 1:1 testing experience by providing the learner with control of text selection, repetition and speed, in addition to response privacy. All students with a (paper form) human reader accommodation in Writing, Math, or optional Science will be randomly assigned a test form. All students using the human reader accommodation must test using the specified form. To provide the oral administration, the same form test booklet must be used from a school’s overage supply by the human reader to deliver the oral administration accommodation. 4. If a student must have snacks due to a medical condition, may those be provided during breaks? Does the student need to leave the testing room? How is this documented on the student’s PNP? A: This is allowable after you select in the PNP one of the General Test Conditions Supports, called: “BreaksSupervised within Each Day”. Where the snack occurs is governed by the local policy. 5. If a student uses a keyboard as a response support, can the student answer multiple-choice items directly in answer document and only type and print responses to open-response or essay questions? (Handwriting cannot be deciphered, but student can bubble.) A: Yes. This is perfectly allowable and the “Keyboard or AAC Response + Print” support is intended to cover this situation. The Room Supervisor will still be required to transcribe the student response exactly as provided by the student onto a scorable answer document. Each original student answer must be labeled with its respective test item number. Original student responses are also returned with the non-scored materials for security purposes. 6. If dictation and scribing is used as a support, does ACT Aspire require that a witness be present? A: This security protocol is governed and directed by your state agency. 7. Are verbal or nonverbal cues to help a student refocus permitted as an accommodation or a support? Does this need to be documented in the PNP? A: Refocusing cues are not an accessibility feature within ACT Aspire. The role of a room supervisor is, in part, to ensure that students are participating in the assessment. As such, if a student does not appear to be on task, a room supervisor could redirect the student with a statement such as “Please be sure you are working on your test,” “Keep working,” or “Be sure to mark your answers on your answer document.” Room supervisors, however, should not answer any questions about specific test items or use language which would give any sort of hint to a student about his or her work on the assessment. This is documented in the Room Supervisor Manual. 8. For hearing impaired students, are the translators allowed to write cues or use cue symbols about the directions of the test booklet? A: Directions cue symbols may not be written but test directions themselves may be manually signed. 9. Do ASL or SEE translators who will be in the classroom with a regular room supervisor need to be added to the ACT Aspire Portal? A: This is not expected unless there is a school or district or state purpose for it. 10. Do students testing at off-site programs (e.g., alternative schools) need to have “Other Setting” selected on their PNP? A: Yes. Q: How will this affect the packaging of their materials? A: Please contact ACT Aspire Customer Service (1-888-802-7502) about the packaging in this circumstance. 11. Do homebound students need to have “Home Administration” selected on their PNP? Can these students receive extra time, even if they do not have an IEP? A: Yes, “Home Administration” is the appropriate feature. ACT Aspire allows any student to use an accessibility support at any level so long as there is a defined need for this and best practices were followed in making the decision. Your State Department of Education, however, has the governing authority to determine which students are “qualified” (and therefore allowed) to use accommodations. Extra time is considered to be an accommodation level support. Please see your state FAQ for this information. 12. How do we administer the English and Reading assessments for student who has recently become blind and who cannot read Braille; the student’s IEP indicates oral administration for all tests, but oral administration is not allowed for English and reading? A: This is a very important and also a difficult question. The student was most likely a fluent visual print reader until recently, but now his new literacy is non-visual and he must now learn to read Braille to become non-visually literate. The ACT Aspire accessibility supports that are permitted are allowed expressly because they honor the constructs being measured by the tests. In the case of the Aspire Reading and English tests, our content development teams are clear and strong in their indication that decoding text symbols (printed text for sighted, Braille for non-sighted) is an essential element of what is being measured in these 2 tests during this academic developmental period. For that reason, no examinee, regardless of disability status may take the Reading or the English tests and earn a valid score without also showing their symbolic text decoding skills. We support the right of the IEP team to have this student have access to the test experience through a modification such as reading aloud the Reading and English tests, but this modification of the test administration does not allow the student to have access to the construct being measured and must therefore be reported as an invalid administration, and the score result must be invalidated for reporting purposes. I know this is a difficult situation, but this is the honest answer. 13. Regarding oral accommodations, some folks are concerned specifically about oral administration of the ACT Aspire English and Reading tests not being allowed as a standard accommodation at any grade level. Can the use of "modifications" (or non-standard accommodations) be permitted for ACT Aspire tests administered in South Carolina? A: Students may only use accessibility supports that do not invalidate the results of the assessment. IEP, 504 Plan, and ELL Accommodation Plan teams should refer to Tables 1-4 on pages 9-12 of the 2015 Accessibility User’s Guide for information on allowable supports. The supports listed in these tables have been determined by ACT to yield valid results. Any test that is administered with “modifications” must be marked as INVALID prior to return. As noted in your state FAQ: “2007 Federal Regulations on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act §300.160 (b) (2) (ii) require[s] that State and LEA guidelines instruct IEP Teams to select, for each assessment, only those accommodations that do not invalidate a score.” 14. There is an inconsistency between the Table 2 on page 10 and the information for Answer Masking and Answer Eliminator on page 34. A: Table 2 is correct and indicates that Answer Masking is an Open Access Tool and that Answer Eliminator is an available Embedded support for paper-based testing. On page 34, under the Answer Masking entry, the “Paper testing” bullet should read as follows: “Answer Masking: Paper testing: Student may use an index card or similar object/device to cover up or 'mask' certain selectedresponse answer options (while revealing others).” This wording will be corrected in future editions of the Accessibility User Guide. Thank you for your time today.