Accommodations Toolkit

Human Read-Aloud: States' Accessibility Policies, 2021

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National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

This summary of states’ accessibility policies for human reader is part of the Accommodations Toolkit published by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)[1]. The toolkit also contains a summary of the research literature on human reader.

Accessibility policies often have several tiers of accessibility features: universal features, designated features, and accommodations[2]. Figures 1-2 summarize how states included human reader in reading/English language arts (ELA) policies, while Figures 3-4 summarize it for math, and Figures 5-6 summarize it for science. Figures 1, 3, and 5 summarize how states included human reader in their accessibility policies for students with disabilities in 2021. Figures 2, 4, and 6 summarize how states included human reader in their accessibility policies for English learners in 2021. Tables 1-3 contain state specific information on how human reader was included in the policies, while Table 4 contains additional details and specifications.

Many states’ human reader accessibility policies were nuanced and complex. The terminology for this accessibility feature differs across states, and includes “human reader,” “test reader,” and “human read aloud.” The policies sometimes included different acceptable uses or tiers of the accessibility feature based on: the section of the test, the subject of the test, the language in which the test is read aloud, or the grade level. For example, Hawaii’s policy included human reader as a designated feature on the mathematics assessment, and the science assessments. Human readers were also allowed a designated feature to read directions and questions on the ELA assessment; but human reader could only be used as an accommodation on the reading passages of the ELA assessment. Hawaii also allowed human reader in Spanish as a designated feature on the mathematics assessment.

Figure 1. States’ Accessibility Policies for Students with Disabilities for Human Reader on Reading/ELA/Writing, 2021

Directions

  • Universal Features (U): 3 States
  • Designated Features (D): 11 States
  • Accommodations (A): 23 States

Passages

  • Universal Features (U): 1 States
  • Designated Features (D): 5 States
  • Accommodations (A): 36 States

Questions

  • Universal Features (U): 3 States
  • Designated Features (D): 17 States
  • Accommodations (A): 26 States

Note: Two states prohibited all use of human read aloud, and one additional state prohibited its use for passages/stimuli.

Figure 2. States’ Accessibility Policies for English Learners for Human Reader on Reading/ELA/Writing, 2021

Directions

  • Universal Features (U): 3 States
  • Designated Features (D): 11 States
  • Accommodations (A): 6 States

Passages

  • Universal Features (U): 1 States
  • Designated Features (D): 5 States
  • Accommodations (A): 4 States

Questions

  • Universal Features (U): 3 States
  • Designated Features (D): 17 States
  • Accommodations (A): 7 States

Note: Two states prohibited all use of human read aloud, and one additional state prohibited its use for passages/stimuli. 

Figure 3. States’ Accessibility Policies for Students with Disabilities for Human Reader on Mathematics, 2021

Directions

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 14 States
  • Accommodations (A): 18 States

Passages

  • Universal Features (U): 3 States
  • Designated Features (D): 21 States
  • Accommodations (A): 18 States

Questions

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 21 States
  • Accommodations (A): 22 States

Note: One state prohibited all use of human read aloud, and one state prohibited its use for passages/stimuli.

Figure 4. States’ Accessibility Policies for English Learners for Human Reader on Mathematics, 2021

Directions

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 14 States
  • Accommodations (A): 7 States

Passages

  • Universal Features (U): 3 States
  • Designated Features (D): 21 States
  • Accommodations (A): 6 States

Questions

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 21 States
  • Accommodations (A): 7 States

Note: One state prohibited all use of human read aloud, and one state prohibited its use for passages/stimuli.

Figure 5. States’ Accessibility Policies for Students with Disabilities for Human Reader on Science, 2021

Directions

  • Universal Features (U): 4 States
  • Designated Features (D): 12 States
  • Accommodations (A): 17 States

Passages

  • Universal Features (U): 2 States
  • Designated Features (D): 16 States
  • Accommodations (A): 17 States

Questions

  • Universal Features (U): 4 States
  • Designated Features (D): 16 States
  • Accommodations (A): 21 States

Note: One state prohibited all use of human read aloud, and one state prohibited its use to for passages/stimuli.

Figure 6. States’ Accessibility Policies for English Learners for Human Reader on Science, 2021

Directions

  • Universal Features (U): 4 States
  • Designated Features (D): 12 States
  • Accommodations (A): 6 States

Passages

  • Universal Features (U): 2 States
  • Designated Features (D): 16 States
  • Accommodations (A): 5 States

Questions

  • Universal Features (U): 4 States
  • Designated Features (D): 16 States
  • Accommodations (A): 6 States

Note: One state prohibited all use of human read aloud, and one state prohibited its use to for passages/stimuli.

Table 1. Accommodations Policies for Human Reader for Reading/ELA/Writing by State, 2021

U = Universal Feature, D = Designated Feature, A = Accommodation, ELA = English Language Arts, X = Allowed, SD = Allowed for Students with Disabilities, E = Allowed for English Learners, P = Prohibited, Blank cell = no policy found, N = Notes in Table 4

State

Directions

Passages/Stimuli

Questions

Notes

(See Table 4)

U

D

A

U

D

A

U

D

A

Alabama

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Alaska

P

P

P

SD

N

Arizona

X

X

X

N

Arkansas

SD

SD

SD

N

California

X

SD

X

N

Colorado

SD

SD

SD

N

Connecticut

SD

X

N

Delaware

SD

X

N

District of Columbia

SD

SD

SD

N

Florida

SD

SD

SD

N

Georgia

SD

E

N

Hawaii

X

SD

X

N

Idaho

SD

X

N

Illinois

SD

SD

SD

N

Indiana

SD

Iowa

X

X

X

N

Kansas

Kentucky

SD

SD

SD

N

Louisiana

SD

SD

SD

N

Maine

Maryland

SD

SD

SD

N

Massachusetts

SD

SD

SD

N

Michigan

X

SD

X

N

Minnesota

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

N

Mississippi

SD, E

SD, E

Missouri

X

SD

X

N

Montana

X

SD

X

N

Nebraska

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Nevada

X

SD

X

N

New Hampshire

X

SD

N

New Jersey

SD

SD

SD

N

New Mexico

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

New York

SD

SD

SD

North Carolina

X

P

P

P

P

P

P

N

North Dakota

X

X

X

N

Ohio

SD

SD

SD

N

Oklahoma

SD

SD

N

Oregon

X

X, P*

SD

X

N

Pennsylvania

X

X

N

Rhode Island

SD

SD

SD

N

South Carolina

SD

SD

SD

N

South Dakota

SD

X

N

Tennessee

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Texas

X

X

X

N

Utah

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

N

Vermont

SD

X

N

Virginia

SD

SD

SD

N

Washington

X*

SD*

X

N

West Virginia

SD, E

SD

SD, E

N

Wisconsin

SD

SD

SD

N

Wyoming

X

SD

X

N

Total (Students with Disabilities)

3

11

23

1

5

36

3

17

26

Total (English Learners)

3

11

6

1

5

4

3

17

7

*Differs by computer-based versus paper-based test – see details and specifications in Table 4

Table 2. Accommodations Policies for Human Reader for Mathematics by State, 2021

U = Universal Feature, D = Designated Feature, A = Accommodation, ELA = English Language Arts, X = Allowed, SD = Allowed for Students with Disabilities, E = Allowed for English Learners, P = Prohibited, Blank cell = no policy found, N = Notes in Table 4

State

Directions

Passages/Stimuli

Questions

Notes

(See Table 4)

U

D

A

U

D

A

U

D

A

Alabama

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Alaska

P

P

P

SD

N

Arizona

X

X

X

N

Arkansas

SD

SD

SD

N

California

X

X

X

N

Colorado

X

X

X

N

Connecticut

X

X

N

Delaware

X

X

N

District of Columbia

X

X

X

N

Florida

SD

SD

SD

N

Georgia

Hawaii

X

X

X

N

Idaho

X

X

N

Illinois

X

X

X

N

Indiana

SD

Iowa

X

X

X

N

Kansas

Kentucky

SD

SD

SD

N

Louisiana

E

E

E

Maine

SD

SD

SD

N

Maryland

X

X

X

N

Massachusetts

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Michigan

X

X

X

N

Minnesota

SD

SD

SD

N

Mississippi

SD, E

SD, E

Missouri

X

X

N

Montana

X

X

N

Nebraska

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Nevada

X

X

X

N

New Hampshire

X

SD

N

New Jersey

X

X

X

N

New Mexico

X

X

X

N

New York

SD

SD

SD

North Carolina

X

SD

SD

N

North Dakota

X

X

X

N

Ohio

SD

SD

SD

N

Oklahoma

SD

SD

SD

N

Oregon

X

X

X

N

Pennsylvania

X

X

X

N

Rhode Island

SD

SD

SD

N

South Carolina

SD

SD

SD

N

South Dakota

X

X

N

Tennessee

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Texas

X

X

X

N

Utah

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

N

Vermont

X

X

N

Virginia

SD

SD

SD

N

Washington

X

X

N

West Virginia

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Wisconsin

SD

SD

SD

N

Wyoming

X

X

X

N

Total (Students with Disabilities)

5

14

18

3

21

18

5

21

22

Total (English Learners)

5

14

7

3

21

6

5

21

7

Table 3. Accommodations Policies for Human Reader for Science by State, 2021

U = Universal Feature, D = Designated Feature, A = Accommodation, ELA = English Language Arts, X = Allowed, SD = Allowed for Students with Disabilities, E = Allowed for English Learners, P = Prohibited, Blank cell = no policy found, N = Notes in Table 4

State

Directions

Passages/Stimuli

Questions

Notes

(See Table 4)

U

D

A

U

D

A

U

D

A

Alabama

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Alaska

P

P

P

SD

N

Arizona

X

X

X

N

Arkansas

SD

SD

SD

N

California

X

X

X

N

Colorado

X

X

X

N

Connecticut

X

X

N

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

SD

SD

SD

N

Georgia

Hawaii

X

X

X

N

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

SD

N

Iowa

X

X

X

N

Kansas

Kentucky

SD

SD

SD

N

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

X

X

X

N

Massachusetts

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Michigan

Minnesota

SD

SD

SD

N

Mississippi

SD, E

SD, E

Missouri

X

X

N

Montana

X

X

X

N

Nebraska

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Nevada

New Hampshire

X

SD

N

New Jersey

X

X

X

N

New Mexico

X

X

X

N

New York

SD

SD

SD

North Carolina

X

SD

SD

N

North Dakota

X

X

X

N

Ohio

SD

SD

SD

N

Oklahoma

SD

SD

SD

N

Oregon

X

X

X

N

Pennsylvania

X

X

X

N

Rhode Island

SD

SD

SD

N

South Carolina

SD

SD

SD

N

South Dakota

X

X

N

Tennessee

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Texas

X

X

X

N

Utah

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

N

Vermont

X

X

N

Virginia

SD

SD

SD

N

Washington

X

X

N

West Virginia

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Wisconsin

SD

SD

SD

N

Wyoming

X

X

X

N

Total (Students with Disabilities)

4

12

17

2

16

17

4

16

21

Total (English Learners)

4

12

6

2

16

5

4

16

6

Table 4. Details and Specifications: States' Human Reader Accessibility Policies

State

Details/Specifications

Alabama

Accommodation:

Oral Presentation consists of the following read aloud options for Math and Science and the ELA language and writing sessions (no read aloud accommodation is allowed for ELA reading). This accommodation may not be identified in the IEP or Section 504 Plan as “Text-to-Speech” but rather as a read aloud accommodation that is provided regularly in the classroom.

  1. Text-to-Speech (TTS)
  2. Human Reader

EL students may also receive this accommodation as long as it is provided regularly on classroom assignments and tests and documented in the I-ELP. There is no requirement of a documented reading disability nor a requirement to have an IEP or Section 504 Plan.

This accommodation is used for a student who has a documented reading disability and a need for an “in person” reader (example: a student with a hearing impairment who reads lips) who cannot benefit from the TTS functionality embedded in the INSIGHT test engine. This read aloud accommodation must be provided regularly in the classroom and indicated in the IEP or Section 504 Plan as a read aloud accommodation. This accommodation is untimed.

Alaska

Accommodation:

A test administrator reads aloud the English language arts, mathematics, and science assessments.

  • Questions
  • Answer choices

Reading of reading passages is not allowed.

Arizona

Universal Feature:

Read-aloud (text-to-speech or human reader) content of the ELA Writing, Mathematics, and Science assessments.

Arkansas

Accommodation:

Available for math, science, and writing. The room supervisor reads aloud to one examinee using the provided Reader's Script in English.

Notes: Recommend examinees authorized for a human reader are also assigned triple time (extra testing time), as that is the length of time required to orally present the test. Requires time for shipment of materials. The human reader must sign an agreement (found in the Test Coordinator manual) on test day. The examinee must be tested one-to-one.

California

Designated Feature:

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified person who follows the administration guidelines for the ELPAC or the read aloud protocol for the CAASPP (https://portal.smarterbalanced.org/library/en/read-aloud-guidelines.pdf PDF ). All or portions of the content may be read aloud. For math and science Spanish stacked–dual language translation, refer to Read Aloud Spanish Guidelines at https://portal.smarterbalanced.org/library/en/read-aloud-guidelines-in-spanish.pdf PDF . This resource is a designated support for all ELA and CSA items, and not for reading passages. Refer to the read aloud accommodation for ELA and CSA reading passages.

Accommodation:

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified person who follows the administration guidelines and read aloud protocol (refer to https://portal.smarterbalanced.org/library/en/read-aloud-guidelines.pdf PDF ). All or portions of the content may be read aloud. This resource is an accommodation for ELA and CSA reading passages.

Colorado

Accessibility Feature:

The following information applies to math, science, and social studies assessments. For ELA, including CSLA, refer to 6.1.5 Modifications as the auditory presentation modification requires verification for ELA/CSLA. PBT oral script is the paper-based auditory presentation available to a student who is unable to decode printed or tactile code and receives auditory presentation of text during instruction and classroom-based assessment. Through an oral script, assessment text is read aloud to the student by a Test Administrator. A trained Test Administrator uses the oral script to read the entire test orally to a student who is unable to decode printed or tactile code. Administration on a 1:1 basis (i.e., one Test Administrator to one student) is recommended. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. Test Administrators must read word-for-word from the physical oral script and may not read from the math, science, or social studies test book. Oral scripts are secure; return oral scripts to the vendor after testing. Test Administrators must be able to read and pronounce all text correctly. Refer to the 1.2.5 Who May Administer the Assessments in this manual for additional qualifications of Test Administrators. Test Administrators may have supervised access to the oral script for the paper-based form 24 hours prior to administration. This time is to ensure that Test Administrators are familiar with the content terminology and the appropriate practices associated with this accommodation. Note: While it is anticipated that most students requiring oral scripts are able to complete the testing session within the standard testing time, due to the nature of auditory presentation and the need to repeat questions and answer options as requested, an oral script testing session may take additional time.

Accommodation:

The following information applies to ELA assessments including CSLA. For math, science, and social studies refer to 6.1.2 Accessibility Features, as auditory presentation does not require a Modification Verification Submission for math, science, and social studies. Because auditory presentation changes what CMAS ELA intends to measure, IEP teams are strongly encouraged to select only valid accommodations; however, to use this modification, auditory presentation must be documented on the student’s IEP or 504 plan as part of the student’s instructional need. Even though auditory presentation is not an allowable accommodation for ELA and CSLA, auditory presentation for ELA and CSLA for 2021 may be considered specifically for:

  • Older students who have years of experience taking CMAS ELA with auditory presentation
  • Students whose IEPs were not able to be reviewed or revised before the spring 2021 assessment
  • Students whose disability precludes them from accessing print (e.g., students with neurological injury or congenital brain conditions which preclude the ability to process print or tactile code).

Note: A physical oral script is not available for auditory presentation of the ELA and CSLA assessments. Audio guidelines, received when the appropriate ELA/CSLA script kit is ordered, must be followed to provide this modification.

Connecticut

Designated Feature (Math and Science, Stimuli & Items), (ELA Items, NOT Reading Passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the test administration manual, security procedures, and the Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud, depending on content area. Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment, excluding the reading passages, read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers must be provided to students on an individual basis–not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and the student must be tested in a separate setting. A Read Aloud of the ELA Reading Passages may be available to students with an IEP or 504 Plan through a Special Documented Accommodation Request.

Designated Feature for English learners (Read Aloud in Spanish - Math, Science):

When a student cannot access the embedded text-to-speech, a qualified test reader can provide an oral presentation of the assessment text to an eligible student. Given that the student depends on the test reader to read the test questions accurately, pronounce words correctly, and speak in a clear voice throughout the test, the test reader must be trained and must follow the Guidelines for Spanish Read Aloud, Test Reader. The guiding principle in reading aloud is to ensure that the student has access to test content. On Smarter Balanced Assessments, test readers in Spanish are allowable across all grades as a designated support for mathematics and the NGSS. As a consideration, if this support is not used regularly during instruction, it is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and the student will need to be tested in a separate setting.

Accommodation (ELA Reading Passages Grades 3-8):

The read aloud accommodation for ELA reading passages for students in Grades 3-8 may only be provided through the submission of a Special Documented Accommodations Petition. Text is read aloud in English to the student in a 1:1 test setting by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the Guidelines for Read Aloud, Test Reader and who has submitted a signed Read Aloud Protocol for Smarter Balanced Assessments Security/Confidentiality Agreement Form. All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Note: The platform for submitting this protocol opens on December 7, 2020. Following approval from the CSDE, the teacher must electronically submit the Decision Guidelines for Read Aloud of the Smarter Balanced Reading Passages prior to testing the student with this accommodation.

Delaware

Designated Feature (for math stimuli and items and ELA items, not for reading passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis—not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting. Human read aloud for Questions and stim/passages for ELA PT, Math CAT and Math PT, can be selected by school and district staff. TTS and Human Read Aloud are NOT interchangeable. Each must be selected separately and considered carefully if a student needs both accommodations.

Designated Feature (in Spanish - stimuli & items on Dual Language – Math):

Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in Appendix C-7. All portions of the content may be read aloud. Students receiving the translations (dual language) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (passages):

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. Human Read aloud for ELA passages of the assessment can only be activated by DOE. TTS and Human Read Aloud are NOT interchangeable and must be considered carefully if a student needs both accommodations. TTS is preferred but there are some students for whom TTS can be difficult to use or for whom TTS is not familiar.

District of Columbia

Accessibility Feature (for mathematics):

A Test Administrator (Human Reader or Human Signer) reads aloud to a student using the provided Human Reader script and test booklet. The student must be tested in an individual or small group setting. Small groups should only be used if all students are able to work at approximately the same pace. The number of students in a small group is determined at the state level.

Accommodation (for ELA/literacy):

The purpose of the Human Reader/ Human Signer accommodation for the ELA/ literacy assessment is to provide access to printed or written texts on the ELA/literacy assessments for a very small number of students with print-related disabilities who would otherwise be unable to participate in the assessment because their disability severely limits or prevents their ability to access printed text by decoding. This accommodation is not intended for students reading somewhat (i.e., only moderately) below grade level.

A student receives an audio representation of the ELA/literacy assessment either through a Human Reader/Signer. For Human Reader, the Test Administrator will need to reference Appendix I: ELA Audio Guidelines. Note: The student that has a Human Reader or Signer, the student must be tested in a separate setting.

In making decisions on whether to provide a student with this accommodation, IEP teams and 504 Plan Coordinators should consider whether the student has:

  • Blindness or a visual impairment and has not learned (or is unable to use) braille; OR
  • A disability that severely limits or prevents him/her from accessing printed text, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (e.g., student is unable to decode printed text); OR

Deafness or a hearing impairment and is severely limited or prevented from decoding text due to a documented history of early and prolonged language deprivation.

Accommodation (for mathematics in Spanish):

A Test Administrator (Human Reader or Human Signer) reads aloud to a student using the provided Human Reader Script in Spanish. The student must be tested in an individual or small group setting, and the Test Administrator must provide the read aloud in Spanish only (i.e., the test cannot be read aloud in English in addition to Spanish). Small groups should only be used if all students are able to work at approximately the same pace. The number of students in a small group is determined by individual states.

Accommodation (for science):

Human reader in Spanish.

Florida

Accommodation:

Oral presentation may be provided for directions, prompts, items, and answer choices. Passages in ELA Reading and ELA Writing tests may not be read aloud to students, with the exception of students who have been approved for a unique accommodation (see pages 8–9). Passages in Mathematics, Science, or EOC assessments may be read aloud. Prompts, items, and answer choices may not be reworded, summarized, or simplified. When reading answer choices, the test administrator or proctor must be very careful not to use inflection that might lead a student to the correct/incorrect responses. Directions, prompts, items, and answer choices may be repeated as many times as a student requests.

For students who are ELLs or recently exited ELLs and who also have an IEP or Section 504 Plan that allows oral presentation, the oral presentation must be in English and not in the studentʼs heritage language. These students may still receive limited assistance in their heritage language.

The following read-aloud accommodations are available:

  • ELA Writing—Students with an oral presentation accommodation on their IEPs or Section 504 Plans may have the directions and prompt read aloud to them. See Writing prompt example on page 33. The Writing test requires that students read a variety of texts and respond to what they have read. Because this portion of the test assesses reading skills as well as writing skills, the passages may not be read aloud to students, with the exception of students who have been approved for a unique accommodation (see below).
  • ELA Reading—Students with an oral presentation accommodation on their IEPs or Section 504 Plans may have the directions, test questions, and answer choices read aloud to them. The Reading passages may not be read aloud to students, with the exception of students who have been approved for a unique accommodation (see below). Please see the Instructions for Oral Presentation Accommodations on pages 28–32 for more details about what content may be read aloud in Reading items.
  • FSA Mathematics and EOCs—All Mathematics and FSA EOC directions, passages, test questions, and answer choices may be read aloud to students with this accommodation. See Mathematics examples beginning on page 34.
  • NGSSS Statewide Science and EOCs—All Science and NGSSS EOC directions, passages, test questions, and answer choices may be read aloud to students with this accommodation. See examples on pages 39–40.

For a student to qualify for the unique accommodation that allows auditory presentation of ELA Writing and Reading Passages, the student must be severely visually disabled and without tactile or manual abilities; the student may also qualify if he or she is newly blind and has not yet learned braille or the studentʼs disability severely limits his or her ability to learn braille. A student may also qualify for the unique accommodation that allows auditory presentation of ELA Writing and Reading Passages if he or she has a documented deficit in decoding and is receiving evidence-based intervention in addition to core instruction. These unique accommodations must be submitted annually by the district assessment coordinator to FDOE for approval.

Georgia

Accommodation:

Oral Reading of ELA passages:

The use of this conditional accommodation for the English Language Arts Georgia Milestones, regardless of grade level, must be restricted to only those students with IEPs who meet ALL eligibility criteria outlined below:

  1. The student has a specific documented disability that severely limits or prevents his/her ability to decode text at any level of difficulty, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (i.e., the student is a non-reader, not simply reading below grade level); and
  2. The student has access to printed materials only through a reader or electronic format during routine instruction; and
  3. There are clear and specific goals within the student’s IEP addressing the deficits which necessitate the need for this conditional accommodation.

NOTE: The preferred method of administration for this conditional accommodation is screen reader. Where a human reader delivers the accommodation, examiners must adhere to directions provided in the posted Read-Aloud Guidelines.

Oral reading of test questions in English only:

Allowed for English learners.

Hawaii

Designated Feature:

Allowed on ELA, mathematics, and science. This does not include reading passages. See Read Aloud accommodation for reading passages.

Designated Feature (in Spanish):

Allowed on mathematics.

Accommodation:

For ELA passages. All other TTS and Read Aloud is under designated supports.

Idaho

Designated Feature (for math stimuli and items and ELA items, not for reading passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Protocol (see Appendix D). All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis—not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (in Spanish for mathematics, all grades):

Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and the Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students receiving the translations (stacked) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (for ELA reading passages, all grades):

Text is read aloud to the student via an external screen reader or by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Members can refer to the Guidelines for Choosing TTS or Read Aloud in Grades 3-5 when deciding if this accommodation is appropriate for a student.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Illinois

Accessibility Feature (for mathematics):

A Test Administrator (Human Reader or Human Signer) reads aloud to a student using the provided Human Reader script and test booklet. The student must be tested in an individual or small group setting. Small groups should only be used if all students are able to work at approximately the same pace.

Accessibility Feature (for mathematics in Spanish):

A Test Administrator (Human Reader or Human Signer) reads aloud to a student using the provided Human Reader Script in Spanish. The student must be tested in an individual or small group setting, and the Test Administrator must provide the read aloud in Spanish only (i.e., the test cannot be read aloud in English in addition to Spanish). Small groups should only be used if all students are able to work at approximately the same pace.

Accommodation (for ELA/literacy):

The purpose of the Human Reader/ Human Signer accommodation for the ELA/ literacy assessment is to provide access to printed or written texts on the ELA/literacy assessments for a very small number of students with print-related disabilities who would otherwise be unable to participate in the assessment because their disability severely limits or prevents their ability to access printed text by decoding. This accommodation is not intended for students reading somewhat (i.e., only moderately) below grade level.

A student receives an audio representation of the ELA/literacy assessment either through a Human Reader/Signer. For Human Reader, the Test Administrator will need to reference Appendix I: ELA Audio Guidelines. Note: The student that has a Human Reader or Signer, the student must be tested in a separate setting.

In making decisions on whether to provide a student with this accommodation, IEP teams and 504 Plan Coordinators should consider whether the student has:

  • Blindness or a visual impairment and has not learned (or is unable to use) braille; OR
  • A disability that severely limits or prevents him/her from accessing printed text, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (e.g., student is unable to decode printed text); OR
  • Deafness or a hearing impairment and is severely limited or prevented from decoding text due to a documented history of early and prolonged language deprivation.

Indiana

Accommodation:

Human Reader for Paper Assessment, except items testing reading comprehension:

Available for reading, math, and science. Text is read aloud to the student (except items testing reading comprehension) by a human reader using a reader’s script for paper fixed- 22 forms. For I AM, students may utilize a human reader with a reader’s script during online testing if noted in their IEP.

Human reader for Paper Assessment for ALL items, including items testing reading comprehension:

Available for math and science. Text is read aloud to the student by a human reader using a reader’s script for paper fixed-forms. All items are read aloud including items testing reading comprehension. For I AM, students may utilize a human reader with a reader’s script during online testing if noted in their IEP.

Iowa

Designated Feature:

Available in Reading (Grades 6-11), Language and Writing, Mathematics and Science.  For students taking the paper and pencil test ONLY, a trained and qualified human reader will read all or parts of the assessment content to the student.

Kentucky

Accommodation:

The use of a reader is allowed on all sections of the Spring 2021 K-PREP and QSCS Survey as described in a student’s current IEP, 504 Plan or PSP. The use of a reader shall not in any way lead the student to the correct answer

Louisiana

Accommodation (for mathematics):

Spanish Read Aloud (EL Only)

ELA Read Aloud Guidelines:

Accommodations, by definition, provide support for students with disabilities without compromising the integrity of the assessment. The purpose of the assessment, the standards measured, and method of measurement determine whether or not an accommodation can be used on the given assessment. The statewide assessments are integrated—assessing Reading, Writing, and Language through a series of tasks or passage sets. Because the ELA Read Aloud accommodation applies to the entire ELA assessment, it must be used for only a small population of students—those who could not otherwise access the ELA assessment. Students with disabilities who are simply having difficulty reading text and/or are reading below grade level are not allowed the read aloud accommodation on the statewide ELA assessments.

  • Includes Read Aloud of the entire ELA assessment
  • Shall be noted on student performance reports
  • Is available to students with IEP and IAP accommodations that meet the following criteria:
    • Blindness or a visual impairment and has not learned (or is unable to use) braille;
    • A disability that severely limits or prevents them from accessing printed text, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (e.g., the student is unable to decode printed text);
    • Deafness or hearing impairment and is severely limited or prevented from decoding text due to a documented history of early and prolonged language deprivation

Maine

Accommodation:

Text is read aloud or translated via sign language interpreter to a student by an Assessment Administrator human reader as documented in the IEP/504 plan. Read aloud is allowed for math session only, and not permitted for the reading session.

Maryland

Designated Feature (for mathematics and science):

Available for whole text and selected sections.

Before Testing: This feature will need to be identified in advance in order to assign a human reader or signer to the student. During Testing: A Test Administrator (Human Reader or Human Signer) reads aloud to a student using the provided Human Reader Script. The student must be tested in an individual or small group setting. Small groups should only be used if all students are able to work at approximately the same pace. The number of students in a small group is determined to be 5 in Maryland. After Testing: Human Reader Scripts contain secure item content and should be handled as secure test materials. Test Administrators should return materials to Test Coordinators. Test Coordinators must return the Human Reader Scripts with the nonscorable materials.

Accommodation (for ELA/L, including items, response options and passages):

The purpose of the Human Reader/Human Signer accommodation is to provide accesses to printed or written texts in ELA/L for a very small number of students with print-related disabilities and/or who are deaf or hearing impaired who would otherwise be unable to participate in instruction or assessment because their disability severely limits their ability to access print. This accommodation is not intended for students reading somewhat (i.e., only moderately.) below grade level. In making decisions on whether to provide the student with this accommodation, IEP teams and 504 Plan Coordinators are instructed to consider whether the student has:

  • Blindness or a visual impairment and has not yet learned (or is unable to use) braille; OR
  • A disability that severely limits or prevents them from accessing printed text, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (e.g., student is unable to decode printed text); OR
  • Deafness or a hearing impairment and is severely limited or prevented from decoding text due to a documented history of early and prolonged language deprivation.

When determining the need for this accommodation, it is important to 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.

A student should have the option of asking a human reader to slow down or repeat text. This is difficult when a person is reading to an entire group of students. However, verbatim reading to a group of students is permitted in testing if the accommodation is provided on that basis during regular ongoing instruction. No more than five (5) students may be grouped together for reading tests aloud by a human reader, since students typically proceed through the test at different rates. Students grouped together must be assigned the same test form.

Massachusetts

Accommodation (for Mathematics and Science and Technology/Engineering computer- or paper-based tests):

  • A human reader may either read aloud 1) the computer-based test logged in to a nearby computer or sitting next to the student; or 2) the paper-based test.
  • The test must be administered in a separate setting, either individually or to a small group of 2–5 students (or up to 10 students for the legacy ELA Composition retest), all of whom are being provided the human read-aloud accommodation.
  • For students who require that text be read aloud, IEP teams should consider whether TTS is preferable to a human reader (or vice versa) and list this in each student’s IEP or 504 plan (e.g., “text-to-speech is preferable, but human reader is acceptable”).
  • The entire test must be read word-for-word, exactly as it appears. The test administrator may not provide assistance to the student regarding the meanings of words, intent of any test item, or responses to test items. The test administrator should read with emphasis only when indicated by bold or italicized text. (Note: Reading aloud selected words on the Mathematics and/or Science and Technology/Engineering (STE) tests, as requested by the student, is UF10.)
  • Test administrators who review the test, including human readers, will be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.
  • Note: Reading aloud the ELA tests or legacy ELA Reading Comprehension retest is a special access accommodation (SA1). See Table 5 for guidelines and criteria to receive this accommodation.

Special access accommodation:

Text-to-speech (SA1.1) or Human read-aloud (SA1.2) for next-generation ELA tests; or Kurzweil 3000 (SA1.3) electronic text reader or Human read-aloud (SA1.2) for the legacy ELA Reading Comprehension retest, including oral presentation of test questions, response options, and passages.

  • text-to-speech may be used either with or without headphones;
  • a human reader may either read aloud 1) the computer-based test logged in to a nearby computer or sitting next to the student; or 2) the paper-based test.

This accommodation is intended for a small number of students with disabilities that severely limit or prevent them from reading, as documented in locally administered diagnostic evaluations. The student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be virtually unable to read, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (i.e., the student is at the very beginning stages of learning to read, and not simply reading below grade level), as determined by locally administered diagnostic evaluations; and
  • receive ongoing intervention to learn the skill of reading; and
  • use this accommodation routinely (except during instruction in learning to read).

The human read aloud (SA1.2) may also be provided to a student who is blind or has a visual impairment and uses a screen reader and/or has not yet learned (or is unable to use) Braille on the tests and retests listed above. If the student will use a screen reader, a separate hard copy Braille test edition will be sent to the school to allow the student to access the appropriate Braille graphics (see accommodation A3.1). The student

  • may be tested in a typical-sized group if using text-to-speech with headphones;
  • must be tested individually in a separate setting if text-to-speech will be used without headphones; and
  • may be tested in a group of up to five students if a human reader will be used.

Michigan

Designated Feature:

Note: There are two different types of Read-aloud options. One is a Designated Support and the other is an Accommodation which is only available to students whose IEP or 504 plan identify that accommodation as a need for that student. The support described here is a Designated Support. This option does not include reading aloud the Reading passages for the M-STEP ELA test. Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified person (human reader) who follows the security and administration guidelines provided in the M-STEP ReadAloud Guidelines. Students who struggle with reading for a variety of reasons (including visual, cognitive disabilities) may need assistance accessing the assessment, by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. If read aloud is not used regularly by a student during classroom instruction, this support will likely be confusing and may impede his/her performance on the assessments.

The Read-Aloud support is administered by a person (human reader) who provides an oral presentation of the assessment text to an eligible student. The student depends on the reader to read the test questions accurately, pronounce words correctly, and speak in a clear voice throughout the test. The reader must be trained and qualified and must follow the M-STEP ReadAloud Guidelines presented here. The guiding principle in reading aloud is to ensure that the student has access to test content. Readers are allowed across all grades as a Designated Support for M-STEP mathematics and ELA assessment test questions and answer options. Readers are also allowed for ELA reading passages as a documented Accommodation in grades 6-7. This means that ONLY students who have a need to have reading passages read out loud to them on their IEP or 504 Plan can use this Accommodation. Note that this Accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students (estimated to be approximately 1-2 percent of students with disabilities participating in a general assessment; this number is not a cap but an anticipated percentage of student need). For information on documentation requirements and decision-making criteria for using readers, see the Text-to-Speech and Read-Aloud Decision Guidelines provided in this document.

Minnesota

Listening to the Reading MCA (whether through a screen reader or with a human reader) rather than reading it through more traditional means (i.e., text or braille) is not an allowable accommodation.

Accommodation:

If the IEP or 504 plan requires read-aloud support, consider if the student needs this support from a human reader or if the standard text-to-speech available in the online test can provide it; if the student needs the additional read-aloud support for the labels, charts, and graphs, accommodated text-to-speech may also be an option. Refer to the item samplers on PearsonAccess Next to hear examples of both types of text-to-speech.

Missouri

Universal Feature:

Read Aloud is a Universal Tool that allows the student to have test directions and items (questions and answer choices) in all content areas presented to them orally via Text-To-Speech or a Human Reader. Read Aloud is available for students who can benefit from it including those who can decode but have poor comprehension skills and those who simply have not mastered decoding skills. This universal tool is designed for the student who is struggling with reading and is using this as an instructional strategy in the everyday classroom.

Accommodation:

The presentation of ELA Reading Passages via Read Aloud requires and IEP or 504 plan.

Montana

Designated Feature (Math items and stimuli; ELA items only; all science):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Guidelines (see Appendix B). All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis – not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (in Spanish, math and science only):

Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Test Administration Manual and the Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students receiving the translations (stacked) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (ELA passages only):

Text is read aloud to the student via an external screen reader or by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Nebraska

Linguistic Support:

The student will have those parts of the test that have audio support in the computer-based version read by a qualified human reader in English or native language. Must be read verbatim.

Accommodation:

This accommodation is only allowed for students that have a documented need for paper/pencil. The student will have those parts of the test that have audio support in the computer-based version read by a qualified human reader in English. Students meet the requirements for a paper/pencil form and students have reading-related disabilities that may require assistance accessing instructional content.

Nevada

Designated Feature (for math stimuli and items and ELA items, not for reading passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Protocol (see Appendix D). All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis—not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (in Spanish for mathematics, all grades):

Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and the Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students receiving the translations (dual language) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (for ELA reading passages, all grades):

Text is read aloud to the student via an external screen reader or by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Members can refer to the Guidelines for Choosing TTS or Read Aloud in Grades 3-5 when deciding if this accommodation is appropriate for a student.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

New Hampshire

Designated Feature or Accommodation:

For Math, Science, and ELA Segment 2 Writing items. Not to be used by anyone for the ELA Segment 1 Reading test.

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System Test Administration Manual. All or portions of the content may be read aloud Read Aloud is available as a non-embedded accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan or a non-embedded designated support for those students for whom this support has been deemed necessary by the school’s educational support team prior to the test.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis – not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

New Jersey

Designated Feature (accessibility feature identified in advance):

A Test Administrator (Human Reader or Human Signer) reads aloud to a student using the provided Human Reader Script. The student must be tested in an individual or small group setting. Small groups should only be used if all students are able to work at approximately the same pace. The number of students in a small group is determined at the state level.

Accommodation (for ELA):

A student receives an audio representation of the ELA assessment either through embedded text-to-speech, embedded ASL video, or a Human Reader/Signer. For Human Reader, the Test Administrator will need to reference Appendix I: NJSLA ELA Audio Guidelines. Note: If headphones are not used for text-to-speech, or the student has a Human Reader or Signer, the student must be tested in a separate setting.

New Mexico

Accommodation:

For students who are unable to decode text visually. Scripted oral accommodation in English used individually or in small group testing with PBT/CBT. Follow test manual directions when assigning to ELA assessments.

North Carolina

Reading aloud or signing/cueing the selections, sample questions, test questions, or answer choices from the reading assessments invalidates test results because the assessments measure reading skills.

Designated Feature:

However, test directions in the administration guides may be read aloud or signed/cued during the administration of any state test.

North Dakota

Designated Feature:

Text is read aloud to the learner via embedded text-to-speech technology or a human reader. In cases where a learner cannot use the computer-based version of assessments, the learner should be provided the read aloud feature. When provided the read aloud support, the student will have those parts of the test that have audio support in the computer-based version read aloud by a qualified human reader.

Ohio

Accommodation:

A test administrator or monitor reads from the student’s computer screen to the student. For computer-based testing, most students should be able to use text-to-speech for a read-aloud. In some cases, a student’s disability may prohibit them from using the text-to-speech feature and require a human reader. If testing in a small group, test administrators should ensure that all students in the group have similar abilities so that the reader’s pace meets all student’s needs without being too slow or too fast for any student. Refer to the TIDE User Guide for information about setting up groups for computer-based testing. If a student needs this accommodation, then the person providing the accommodation must read the entire test to the student. It cannot be “as needed” or “on demand.” Only students who meet the criteria to have a read-aloud accommodation on the English language arts may use this feature for the OST English language arts. Human reader is an allowable accommodation for students with disabilities on any OGT. Reading passages may not be read to students on the reading OGT under any circumstance.

Oklahoma

Accommodation:

Accommodation applies to all Math, Science, and U.S. History test sections and Grades 5 & 8 ELA writing/extended constructed response sections only.

For online tests, if a Human Reader is required for a student, then the test must be read from the computer screen verbatim. (S1 or S2) is required when utilizing a Human Reader for Online tests. For paper tests, tests (test forms must be the same) are read by a Human Reader. Test Administrator uses separate test booklet or reads over a student’s shoulder. Small group testing (S1 or S2: 8-10 maximum) is required and test forms must be the same.

ELA Read-Aloud (Grades 3-8):

A Human Reader reads test directions, test items, and answer choices. This is limited to small group or individualized testing. Test directions, test items, and answer choices must be read verbatim. Students may request items be read more than once.

This accommodation must be determined by the following 3-pronged approach:

  1. The student has a specific disability that severely limits or prevents him/her from decoding printed text at any level of difficulty, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (i.e., the student is a non-reader, not simply reading below grade level); and
  2. The student can only access printed materials through a screen reader (assistive technology) or Human Reader, and/or is provided with spoken text on audiotape, CD, video, or other electronic format during routine instruction (includes Sign Language Interpretation), except while the student is actually being taught to decode; and
  3. The IEP/504 team will utilize and provide the required documentation from the OSTP ELA Test Read-Aloud Protocol, which includes the use of the Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR) or the AEM Navigator for deaf or blind students. This documentation must be uploaded into the Nonstandard Accommodation Application in the Single Sign-On website for consideration by the OSDE.

Paper tests are read by a Human Reader. (S1 or S2) is required, and test forms must be the same. Online tests: If a Human Reader is utilized, they must read the assessment verbatim from the computer screen. (S1, S2, or S4) is required.

Oregon

Designated Feature:

Math CAT and PT: All of the content may be read aloud.

ELA CAT: Only the items may be read aloud. The reading passages shown on the left side of the screen CANNOT be read.

ELA PT: All of the content may be read aloud, including the stimuli (reading sources) on the left side of the screen.

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Read Aloud Guidelines for our ELA and Mathematics assessments.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate Braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis—not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (in Spanish for math, all grades):

The Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the Spanish Read Aloud Guidance for our ELA and Mathematics assessments. All or portions of the Math assessment may be read aloud.

Students receiving the translations (dual-language) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (for ELA reading passages/ stimuli on the left side of the screen):

Text is read aloud to the student via an external screen reader or by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Read Aloud Guidelines for our ELA and Mathematics assessments. All or portions of the approved content may be read aloud.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (for science):

Science items/stimuli and response choices are read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Read Aloud Guidelines.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. Students with reading-related disabilities or students who are blind and do not yet have adequate Braille skills may also need this support. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis – not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Pennsylvania

Universal Feature:

Read Aloud Test Directions

Test readers must ensure that all students understand what is expected of them when reading test directions aloud. Students must have an opportunity to ask questions and understand how to mark their answers before they begin taking the test. Test readers should be prepared to answer questions about item format, scoring rules, and timing. However, test readers should not answer questions about specific test items.

Read Aloud Some Individual Words, Phrases, Sentences, or Items at student request:

It is important to not take the read aloud feature out of context. As a test feature, the PSSA has always allowed, at student request, the read aloud of certain items that do not measure reading. This was intended to ensure that the measurement of non-reading content was not influenced by a student’s inability to decode words. In other words, the student knows how to do the math, but cannot decode the word “perpendicular”. This is not a part of the DFA, therefore, the TA does not announce to the test takers that she will read the questions for the students. This feature is there to help ensure a valid measurement of the content if a student should ask to have an allowable (non-reading) word pronounced for her. It must be the test taker’s initiative to ask to have “perpendicular” read aloud to her—it is not the TA’s decision to interfere in the testing process and read “perpendicular” aloud because he/she thinks it will help a particular student. It is permissible to read aloud a word, phrase, sentence or test item(s), as requested by the student, for the Mathematics, Algebra I, Science, and Biology tests; multiple choice Conventions of Standard English items, and the Text Dependent Analysis prompt. When reading test items aloud, test readers must be careful not to inadvertently give clues that indicate the correct answer or help eliminate some answer choices. Readers should use even inflection so that the student does not receive any cues by the way the information is read. It is important for readers to read test items/questions and text word-for-word, exactly as written. Readers may not clarify, elaborate, or provide assistance to students

Designated Feature:

Read Aloud All Allowable Items:

Teachers should work closely with special education students to identify those students who need the most intensive intervention of having all allowable test items read aloud by the test administrator. These are the students (no more than 5 in the group) who may need the same form of the test read aloud to them by the test administrator. Keep in mind that reading aloud all test items to a group of students may artificially pace the students. Some students may be reluctant to ask the reader to slow down or repeat the question in a group setting. Therefore, the online audio version of the test is recommended for students who require a read aloud of all or most of the test items on the Mathematics, Algebra I, Science, and Biology tests; multiple choice Conventions of Standard English items and the Text Dependent Analysis prompt. This allows students optimal independence in moving through the test at his/her own pace. The student may individually listen to a question being read aloud more than once as needed. Occasionally, a non-IEP student requires all test items to be read aloud. This may be a student who has not yet been identified as needing special services and may be included in the small group of 1-5 with IEP students. Documentation must be kept in the student record of the need for this intensive accommodation for both instruction and assessment. Tools 5 and 7 may be used for record keeping. If the student does not require a read aloud of all math or science items for instruction, then the student does not require a read aloud of all math or science items for the PSSA or Keystone tests.

Rhode Island

Accommodation:

ELA (IEP/504 only):

The student requires a human read aloud for the ELA test and meets the criteria below. This includes oral presentation of test questions, response options, and passages, using a human reader (the test administrator reads aloud the computer-based test either logged in to a nearby computer or sitting next to the student; or reads aloud the paper-based test to the student).

This accommodation is intended for a small number of students with documented disabilities that severely limit or prevent them from reading, as documented in locally administered diagnostic evaluations. The student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be virtually unable to read, even after varied and repeated attempts to teach the student to do so (i.e., the student is at the very beginning stages of learning to read, and not simply reading below grade level); and
  • uses this accommodation routinely (except during reading instruction); and
  • receives ongoing intervention to learn the skill.

The student:

  • must be tested individually, in a separate setting, if the student is the only student receiving this accommodation for their grade level.
  • may be tested in a group of no more than 5 if a human reader is used. All students in the group must have this accommodation and be in the same grade level.

This accommodation is only for students with a reading disability that meets the criteria above. It is not intended for EL students, unless they a reading disability that meets the criteria above.

Math (IEP/504/EL only):

Student requires a human read-aloud for math test in English or Spanish.

“Read aloud selected words on the mathematics tests” is an accessibility feature and may be more appropriate for students who need occasional reading assistance. Students taking the Spanish versions of RICAS mathematics or NGSA science tests may also find this accessibility feature helpful.

Science (IEP/504 only):

Student requires a human read aloud for science tests in English or Spanish for either paper or computer-based science tests. The test administrator reads aloud in English or Spanish (or signs, in the case of a student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing) selected words on the science test, as requested by the student. The student will point to the word or phrase that he or she needs read aloud or signed. Test administrator quietly reads aloud or signs the selected word to the student. Students using this feature may be tested alongside other students in groups of any size.

South Carolina

Accommodation (oral presentation):

The student has test content that is provided by an audio file in a computer-based test, read by a qualified human reader. Students who use the paper-and-pencil version of the test can have the same test content read aloud that is supported through audio in a computer-based version. If a human reader is selected, that person must have appropriate experience providing read aloud support and must sign a document verifying adherence to state policy or practice to ensure test security and ethical practices.

South Dakota

Designated Feature (for math & science stimuli and items and ELA items, NOT for reading passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Protocol (see Appendix D). Allowable portions of the content may be read aloud. Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having allowable portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis – not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (in Spanish, for mathematics, all grades):

Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Test Administration Manual and the Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Students receiving the translations (stacked) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (for ELA reading passages):

Text is read aloud to the student via an external screen reader or by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the South Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Members can refer to the Guidelines for Choosing the Read Aloud Accommodation when deciding if this accommodation is appropriate for a student. This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Tennessee

Accommodation (oral presentation):

Before testing: Test administrator ensures only students who receive this accommodation are included in the oral presentation group and adheres to the directions for test administration.

Provides an oral presentation of directions, test items, and answer options on the assessments for students. Refer to the Oral Accommodations Considerations when deciding whether this accommodation is needed for a student. See Appendices for Oral Presentation Guidance by Subject Area (p. 31).

Oral Accommodations Considerations:

Oral presentation (read aloud) or signing is an accommodation available to students with an IEP, 504 plan, or identified as EL if the IEP, 504 or ILP team determines that oral or signing presentation is required for the student to access the assessment. Students who communicate with sign language may have a human signer as an accommodation. The human signer will read the assessment using the conventions of the student’s sign language (i.e., American Sign Language (ASL)) The following questions should be used by the IEP or 504 team to help determine if a student’s disability is significant enough to warrant oral presentation. For a student with a visual impairment, the IEP team must consider the impact of the visual impairment on the student’s ability to access printed text. Questions they may want to consider include:

  • Does the student have a documented decoding or fluency deficit which precludes access to printed text?
  • For students with an IEP, does the student have a goal to address the deficit listed in the present level of educational performance?
  • Is the student engaged in intensive intervention to address the specific deficit?
  • For students identified as EL, does the student show limited reading ability in English?

Texas

Designated Feature (oral/signed administration):

This designated support allows test material to be read aloud or signed to a student. All references to reading support during an oral administration also apply to signing during a signed administration. An online oral/signed administration is administered via text-to-speech (TTS) or American Sign Language (ASL) videos.

For a student who meets the eligibility criteria, this designated support may be used on paper and online tests for:

  • STAAR and STAAR Spanish mathematics, science, and social studies: Test questions, answer choices, and embedded supports can be read aloud. Required reference materials (where applicable) and allowable designated supports may be read aloud.
  • STAAR and STAAR Spanish reading: Test questions, answer choices, and embedded supports can be read aloud. Required reference materials (where applicable) and allowable designated supports may be read aloud. Reading selections CANNOT be read aloud.
  • STAAR and STAAR Spanish writing: Revising passages, revising test questions and answer choices, and embedded supports can be read aloud. Required reference materials (where applicable) and allowable designated supports may be read aloud. Editing passages, test questions, and answer choices CANNOT be read aloud.
  • STAAR English I, English II, and English III: Reading test questions and answer choices, revising passages, revising test questions and answer choices, and embedded supports can be read aloud. Required reference materials and allowable designated supports may be read aloud. Reading selections, editing passages, and editing test questions and answer choices CANNOT be read aloud.

A student may use this designated support if that student

  • routinely and effectively uses it during classroom instruction and classroom testing, and
  • meets at least one of the following:
    • The student is a current EL and takes a STAAR test in English.
    • The student is identified with dyslexia or a related disorder per TEC §38.003.
    • The student has documented evidence of reading difficulties.

Utah

Not allowed for any student for any portion of ELA, mathematics, or science assessments. Use text-to-speech for all students instead.

Vermont

Designated Feature (for math stimuli and items and ELA items, not for reading passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Protocol (see Appendix D). All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis—not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Designated Feature (in Spanish, for mathematics, all grades):

Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and the Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students receiving the translations (dual language) designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (for ELA reading passages, all grades):

Text is read aloud to the student via an external screen reader or by a trained and qualified human reader who follows the administration guidelines provided in the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual and Read Aloud Guidelines. All or portions of the content may be read aloud. Members can refer to the Guidelines for Choosing TTS or Read Aloud in Grades 3-5 when deciding if this accommodation is appropriate for a student.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Virginia

Accommodation (read-aloud or audio):

Students with disabilities that impact their ability to read may have test items read aloud in English by the test examiner using the read-aloud accommodation or delivered through an audio or text-to-speech player in an online test. The IEP Team or 504 Committee must determine whether the audio or read-aloud accommodation is the most appropriate delivery method for the student for online or paper testing.

The IEP or 504 Plan must document how the test items will be administered during a read-aloud testing session. The IEP or 504 Plan must state whether the student will have

  • the entire test read (directions, questions, and answer options); or
  • words, questions, sentences or answer options read only when requested by the student.

When reading test items aloud, the Examiner must be careful not to lead the student to select an answer by intonation or to repeat any part of the test which is not specifically requested by the student. For more detailed information on reading test items aloud, refer to the Guidelines for Administering the Read-Aloud Accommodation for the Standards of Learning Assessments.

SOL Mathematics, Science, History/Social Science and Writing Assessments:

The read-aloud or audio accommodation is permitted for students with disabilities on the Mathematics, Science, History/Social Science, and Writing assessments as specified in the student’s IEP or 504 Plan.

Read-Aloud or Audio Accommodation on the SOL Reading Assessments:

The read-aloud and audio accommodations on the SOL Reading assessments are allowed only for students with a visual impairment, including blindness, and those students with a specific disability that severely limits or prevents them from decoding text at any level of difficulty as determined by a diagnostic tool or instrument that was administered by a qualified professional. Students with disabilities who are simply having difficulty reading text and/or are reading below grade-level are not permitted to use the read-aloud or audio accommodation on the statewide Reading assessments.

Note: For the EOC Reading test, under certain circumstances, students with disabilities may receive the read-aloud accommodation even though the student has not been determined as eligible by the school division according to the criteria required for the read-aloud accommodation on the Reading Assessment. To qualify, the student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • the student is retaking the EOC Reading test, having failed the previous attempt(s) without using the read-aloud or audio accommodation; and
  • the student’s IEP or 504 Plan lists the read-aloud or audio accommodation for other tests; and
  • the student receives the read-aloud or audio accommodation in the classroom.

If the student received the read-aloud accommodation on the EOC Reading test as a result of meeting these criteria, it will be considered a non-standard accommodation. Refer to the Non-Writing SOL Test Implementation Manual for instructions regarding proper coding. If a student passes the EOC Reading test using a non-standard accommodation, the student is considered to have passed for the purpose of earning a verified credit toward graduation.

Read-Aloud Accommodation on a Computer Adaptive Test (CAT):

Test questions presented to students during a computer adaptive test (CAT) are selected by the computer based on the student’s response to each question. Because the selection of items is customized for each student, the Examiner/Proctor must read from the student’s computer in an individual test session. Follow the Guidance for Providing the Read-Aloud Accommodation on a Computer Adaptive Test provided in Appendix B of the Virginia SOL Test Implementation Manuals.

Washington

Designated Feature (read aloud in English for ELA, math, and science):

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing assessments by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not yet have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede performance on assessments. Read aloud is available for both online and paper tests. Read aloud should be provided to students on an individual basis – not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text.

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified test reader who follows the Read Aloud Guidelines for Washington State Assessments. ELA CAT: Only the items may be read aloud. The reading passages shown on the left side of the screen CANNOT be read. ELA PT: All of the content may be read aloud, including the stimuli on the left side of the screen. Math and science: All of the content may be read aloud.

Available options:

  • ELA CAT: Read aloud items
  • ELA PT: Read aloud items; Read aloud stimuli; and Read aloud passages, items, and stimuli
  • Math: Read aloud items; Read aloud stimuli; and Read aloud items and stimuli
  • Science: Read aloud items; Read aloud stimuli; and Read aloud items and stimuli

Designated Feature (read aloud in Spanish for math and science):

Online only. Spanish text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified test reader who follows the Read Aloud Guidelines for Washington State Assessments. All of the content may be read aloud.

Students receiving the dual language translations designated support and who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all, or portions of the assessment read aloud. This support may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede performance on assessments. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text.

  • Math: Read aloud items, Read aloud stimuli, and Read aloud items and stimuli
  • Science: Read aloud items, Read aloud stimuli, and Read aloud items and stimuli

Accommodation (read aloud in English for ELA passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified test reader who follows the Read Aloud Guidelines for Washington State Assessments. ELA CAT: All of the content may be read aloud, including the reading passages on the left side of the screen.

This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students (estimated to be approximately 1–2% of students with disabilities participating in state assessments) for whom there is no other way to access the reading passages (e.g., a student who is blind and doesn't read braille). It is not necessarily appropriate for students who have reading skills below grade level as that is what we are measuring (a student's at grade level reading skills) regardless of a student's disability. This accommodation should only be provided to those who receive it (or audio/read aloud) daily for instruction across environments or subjects.

West Virginia

Accommodation (excluding ELA reading passages) (P02):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader. The trained examiner reads aloud the directions, stimulus material, questions, and answer choices. This accommodation excludes passages.

For students who are struggling readers and may need assistance accessing the assessment by having the assessment read aloud, excluding ELA reading passages. This accommodation may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. This option may also be appropriate for EL students.

Accommodation (including ELA reading passages) (P14):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained and qualified human reader. The trained examiner must follow administration guidelines. All or portions of the test may be read aloud including ELA reading passages, for any grade.

When to select:

  • The student is blind or has low vision.
  • The student is a beginning braille reader who has not yet developed braille fluency.
  • The student whose disability severely affects his/her ability to read passages independently and who utilize classroom accommodations such as text-to-speech, audio recordings, and/or a human reader during classroom instruction and during classroom assessments.

Wisconsin

Accommodation:

The room supervisor reads aloud to one examinee using the provided Reader's Script in English. For Periodic, Interim testing, there is not a Reader's Script. The computer screen may be read aloud to the examinee by a trained and prepared room supervisor.

Recommended Usage: Examinees with a learning disability in reading decoding or comprehension.

Notes: Recommend examinees authorized for a human reader also be assigned triple time (extra testing time), as that is the length of time required to orally present the test. Requires time for shipment of materials. Requires the human reader to sign an agreement (found in the Test Coordinator manual) on test day. The examinee must be tested one-to-one.

Wyoming

Designated Feature (for science and math, and ELA items, Not for ELA passages):

Text is read aloud to the student by a trained staff member who follows the administration guidelines provided in Appendix A: Read Aloud Protocol l. Allowable portions of the content may be read aloud.

Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having allowable portions of the assessment read aloud. This support also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities, or by students who are blind and do not have adequate braille skills. If not used regularly during instruction, this support is likely to be confusing and may impede the performance on assessments. Readers should be provided to students on an individual basis – not to a group of students. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. The use of this support may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Accommodation (available for passages on the ELA and writing tests):

Text is read aloud to the student via external screen reader or by a trained and qualified staff member who follows the administration guidelines provided in Appendix A: Read Aloud Protocol. All or portions of the content may be read aloud.

Read aloud is available as an accommodation for students whose need is documented in an IEP or 504 Plan. ELL Students may only receive this accommodation if it is documented in their IEP or 504 Plan. A student should have the option of asking a reader to slow down or repeat text. Read Aloud should only be used with students who practice and use this accommodation routinely during daily instruction. Read Aloud should NOT be used as a substitute for Braille or Nemeth Code for students who routinely access information through Braille or Nemeth Code. Read Aloud can be used in ADDITION to Braille or Nemeth Code for students who are blind AND also routinely use a reader for that subject. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment and/or the use of a separate setting.

Attribution

All rights reserved. Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced and distributed without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:

  • Lazarus, S. S., Quanbeck, M., & Goldstone, L. (2022). Human read aloud: States’ accessibility policies, 2021 (NCEO Accommodations Toolkit #18b). National Center on Educational Outcomes.

The Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G210002) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Consistent with EDGAR §75.62, the contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.