Carmen’s Corner

tHE staar IS uPON uS

We are fast approaching the end of the school year. I saw a meme on Facebook where it shows a football player and the text around it reads “Hang In There Teachers! 4th Quarter, Baby!” I am sure we can all relate to that meme, even if you are not a teacher. Anyone who works in the school system is most likely feeling the same.

All kidding aside, let me say that I am grateful to all of you for following best practices to ensure that we do right by our students…THANK YOU! STAAR testing is upon us, along with other assessments that are done throughout the year such as district benchmarks, and of course the continual testing that diagnosticians and SLPs have to administer, whether for initial evaluations or re-evaluations, and the occasional special request.

Recently there was a Q&A Zoom session with TEA representatives that allowed individuals to ask questions about what is allowed and what is not when it comes to testing students who are DHH in our campuses. This was not only for RDSPD students, as we know that there are a lot of students who are in the general education classes with or without interpreting services. If you are part of an RDSPD, your Coordinator or Director has probably shared this information. If you are an itinerant teacher you might not have received the information. Regardless, here are the Q&As. Please share with your campus testing coordinators.

Q: Does a student have the ability to use ASL videos and a live signer during the STAAR assessments?

A: Yes, but not for reading passages.

Q: Will staff be given a separate proctor code, so we do not have to look at students’ screens?

A: Yes, you would need to request the code. So, for example, for small group, the teacher would have a proctor code and each student may be on a different question, so if they ask about question 6, then we can look on the teacher computer and sign whatever is needed while the other kids work.

Q: Can the student’s Chromebook be mirrored?

A: Yes

Q: Can a certified sign language interpreter( who is a contracted employee)  in fact sign the test directly from the monitor if asked by the student because they use the language that the student is used to day to day (without them being considered a testing administrator) (or does the teacher need to speak it for them to sign it only for it to not be an irregularity). Since they are not the test administrator but rather just an interpreter.

A: Yes, but they first need to sign an Oath.

Q: We know there are already some known errors in the test. If we run across those, how do we address them with our students? (For example, when an ASL video points to the wrong picture on the screen).

A: The mistakes have been corrected. If you still find mistakes, you can give the correct information and notify TEA.

Q: What about the ability to use a mouse to adjust the screen to read/sign all viewable content?

A: A mouse can be used to make adjustments. It should be part of the STAAR Accommodations. If the LEA has concerns about this as answers can be clicked accidentally, this decision needs to be a local decision.

Q: If the student is using the computer text-to-speech, can they still request a live voice to read sections as needed?

A: Yes.

Q: I have an oral student who can’t hear the computer through an AUX cable, so we have accommodated with having a TOD give test orally. We have a monitor to mirror the student’s computer and at student request, the teacher reads aloud what’s allowed.  We did this last year without a problem.  This year our new Testing Coordinator is balking at letting us do this.

A: This is allowed. If this is a student who cannot use AUX cable or cannot grasp the sign or cannot hear/understand what is coming from the computer

Q: Will the students all have the same version of the test?

A: Yes, if you request a proctor code, you will receive information from Cambrian on how to ensure that all the students have the same test.

Q: I have a student getting a paper test, but she needs a dictionary.  Can she get a paper and online test so she can use the built in dictionary?

A: No

Q: How can the student’s screen be mirrored?

A: HDMI cable to connect and project from the student’s technology. Make sure to try it out before the day of the test so that the students do not get frustrated.

Q: I have received several questions regarding assessing several DHH students at the same time. How would one interpreter mirror each student’s screen?

A: This is where you may want to request a proctor code. DO NOT mirror AND project the students’ live test if there are other students in the room. In order for mirroring and projecting is needed, then the student must have individualized testing setting.

Q: Some hearing aids have a Bluetooth function that would allow students to connect to the laptop to hear the oral administration. Is this allowable? Is the Bluetooth function enabled in the lockdown browser?

A: Yes, it is suggested that students use practice sessions with the students’ accommodations already in place. Click on Test Administrator Practice Site.  This will allow you to create a practice test session that will create a Session ID that the students will use to sign in.

Q: How do set up the practice test with the accommodations?

A: The preset accommodations those would be handled at the campus level by whomever is adding those attributes into the system. If they are already added in for that particular student to do the practice set, then those accommodations will transfer over to the practice sets. This where the teacher is setting a practice session and giving that to that particular student to practice with.

Resource for more information

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