Accommodations Toolkit

Recorded Oral Delivery: States' Accessibility Policies, 2021

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National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

This summary of states’ accessibility policies for recorded oral delivery 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 recorded oral delivery.

Accessibility policies often have several tiers of accessibility features: universal features, designated features, and accommodations[2]. Figure 1 summarizes how states included recorded oral delivery in their accessibility policies for students with disabilities in 2021. Figure 2 summarizes how states included recorded oral delivery in their accessibility policies for English learners in 2021. Table 1 shows how recorded oral delivery was included in the policies, while Table 2 contains additional details and specifications.

Figure 1. States’ Accessibility Policies for Students with Disabilities for Recorded Oral Delivery, 2021

Reading/ELA/Writing

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 0 States
  • Accommodations (A): 8 States

Math

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 1 States
  • Accommodations (A): 7 States

Science

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 0 States
  • Accommodations (A): 6 States

Figure 2. States’ Accessibility Policies for English Learners for Recorded Oral Delivery, 2021

Reading/ELA/Writing

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 0 States
  • Accommodations (A): 1 States

Math

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 1 States
  • Accommodations (A): 1 States

Science

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 0 States
  • Accommodations (A): 1 States

Table 1. Accommodations Policies for Recorded Oral Delivery 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 2

State

Reading/ELA/Writing

Math

Science

Notes

(See Table 2)

U

D

A

U

D

A

U

D

A

Alabama

Alaska

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

SD

X

N

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

SD

SD

SD

N

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

SD

SD

SD

N

North Carolina

SD

SD

N

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

SD

SD

SD

N

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

SD

SD

SD

Vermont

Virginia

SD

SD

SD

N

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Total (Students with Disabilities)

0

0

8

0

1

7

0

0

6

Total (English Learners)

0

0

1

0

1

1

0

0

1

Note: Blank cell = no policy found

Table 2. Details and Specifications: States' Recorded Oral Delivery Accessibility Policies

State

Details/Specifications

Alaska

Accommodation (ELA, Math, Science):

Students with disabilities:

Audio CD for test questions and answer choices: Use of the test-contractor provided audio CD is required if the student’s IEP requires a read aloud accommodation. The CD includes assessment questions and answer choices. A test administrator may administer a “read aloud” accommodation if student’s IEP specifically designates a human read aloud. Reading of reading passages is not allowed.

English learners:

Audio CD: Use of the test-contractor provided audio CD is required if the student’s plan requires a read aloud accommodation. The CD includes assessment questions and answer choices. A test administrator may administer a “read aloud” accommodation if student’s plan specifically designates a human read aloud. Reading of reading passages is not allowed.

Louisiana

Designated Feature (Accessibility Feature; Math):

Testing locations and logistics must be secured in advance of testing. The DTC must order the Kurzweil or Recorded Voice DVD. The Math TTS accommodation must be activated within the student’s Accommodations tab within eDIRECT for whichever content area(s) this accommodation applies. Audio will begin immediately when the student navigates next/back to each question. On-screen audio controls are provided, allowing the student to pause the audio, adjust the audio volume, turn on/off the follow along feature, and indicate specific areas of the question they wish to replay.

Accommodation (ELA):

A Kurzweil CD and Human Reader File are available for students testing with a paper-based test and require that their test be read aloud. Materials: Read Aloud Kit, which includes a standard print consumable test booklet, a Kurzweil CD, and a Human Reader File. Before Testing: A Read Aloud Kit must be on-hand before testing begins. Proper administration devices and tools (e.g., CD player, headphones) must be arranged for and on-hand before testing begins. After Testing: The Tests Read Aloud accommodation must be bubbled in either the Special Education Student Accommodation(s) field or the Test Accommodation(s) for Students with Disabilities According to Section 504 field on the student’s consumable test booklet.

Michigan

Accommodation (ELA, Math, Science):

English audio CD: The purpose of this support for paper/pencil testers is detailed in the description for Read-Aloud (human reader). Some Michigan assessments and content areas offer an English Audio CD to better ensure the accuracy and reliability of what is read to students. This support may be used in an individual setting or as a part of a small group of no more than five students. Students may need headphones if the support is administered in an individual setting; the student should have personal control over the equipment. Students may be assisted in playing the CD but may not be given help with the answer to any test item. Students using this support must also have a printed copy of the Form 1 test booklet to use during testing. The Form 1 test booklet will automatically be ordered when an order is placed for a CD (be sure to provide the correct student count when ordering materials).

New York

Accommodation (ELA, Math, Science):

Audio playback devices may also be used to provide read-aloud testing accommodations for students with disabilities in accordance with the specifications in the IEP/504 plan. In this manner of implementation, a student would listen to the test being read through an audio playback device, rather than through human reader or text-to-speech software. This would require an exam proctor to read the exam in its entirety, following the above procedures, just prior to the administration of the exam. If the testing accommodation is to be provided in this manner, and the proctor will not be able to prepare the recording within one hour of the starting time for the exam, the school must request written permission from the Office of State Assessment to open the exam early in order to provide this accommodation. These requests must be submitted by the principal via fax to 518-474-1989. Under no circumstances, however, is it permissible for State tests to be opened prior to the date of general administration. The device used for audio playback must be a school-sanctioned device, and the proctor’s recording must be deleted after the student has submitted his or her exam materials.

North Carolina

Accommodation (Math, Science):

The Test Read Aloud (in English) accommodation permits the test to be read aloud to a student during the administration of state tests that do not measure reading comprehension. As with all accommodations for North Carolina tests, (1) the use must be documented in the current IEP or Section 504 Plan, and (2) the accommodation must be used routinely during classroom instruction and similar classroom tests. To ensure the validity of the test, students provided the Test Read Aloud (in English) accommodation must also be provided the Testing in a Separate Room accommodation (small group or one-on-one), unless the student is testing online wearing headphones.

Students provided the Test Read Aloud (in English) accommodation for online testing can control which portions of the online test are read aloud by clicking a button beside the desired text. The computer will read aloud what a human reader typically reads aloud. The online audio files for the Test Read Aloud (in English) accommodation are human vocalizations and not computer-generated modulation. Several different human voices were used to record the audio files, and therefore the human voice and the volume level might differ from question to question within a single test form. If a student is sensitive to either of these conditions, it may be appropriate for the student to have the test administrator read the test aloud.

Pennsylvania

Accommodation (ELA, Math, Science):

The audio function must be selected during test set-up. The student’s test ticket indicates the audio accommodation and allows the audio to be activated. The default of the online test is no audio. The online audio function is limited to individual students who have a documented need for ALL or many of the allowable test items to be read aloud. Requires the use of headphones and/or one-on-one setting to eliminate distraction to others. The student may press the start and stop buttons as needed. The audio function is available for Mathematics, Algebra I, Science, Biology, multiple choice Conventions of Standard English items and the Text Dependent Analysis prompt (in English only). The online test engine provides the following audio description of graphics:

  • Titles are read
  • Markings on graph axis are read

English voice-over only. Individual words or phrases cannot be selected Individual words or phrases cannot be selected.

Virginia

Accommodation (ELA, Math, Science):

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.

Students with disabilities are expected to have practice in using the audio accommodation prior to being administered an audio SOL test.

Since it would be very difficult for school divisions to provide an online audio accommodation during instruction, the following guidelines have been established to provide clarification as to the circumstances under which a student could be provided with an online audio accommodation during testing.

The IEP Team or 504 Committee must determine whether the read-aloud accommodation administered by a Test Examiner or the online audio accommodation is the more appropriate delivery method for online testing. It is particularly important that the parent agrees to the delivery method and that the decision is clearly documented in the IEP or 504 Plan.

  • The online audio accommodation on the SOL test may be provided to students who typically have a read-aloud accommodation during instruction or to those who use recorded media or text readers in the classroom.
  • If the IEP Team or 504 Committee determines that the online audio accommodation is the more appropriate accommodation, the student should have practice with audio practice items available in the online application, TestNav, which is used to administer online SOL tests. See the TestNav 8 SOL Practice Items page on the Virginia Department of Education website for more details of how to access the audio practice items.

The online audio accommodation for the 2016 Mathematics SOL tests, the 2017 Reading SOL tests, and the 2015 History SOL tests (Virginia Studies, Civics and Economics, and Virginia and United States History) will be delivered through the text-to-speech feature in TestNav. The online audio accommodation for the World History to 1500 test, World History from 1500 to the Present test, World Geography test, all Science tests, and all Writing tests will continue to use the audio player in TestNav.

For tests administered in paper, an audio accommodation remains available for some SOL tests. For the paper SOL tests with an audio accommodation available, a CD-ROM with a recording of the SOL test items is provided for eligible students.

The following tests do not have an audio accommodation available for the paper format of the test: Mathematics (2016 SOL) tests, Reading (2017 SOL tests), and History & Social Studies (2015 SOL) tests. A read-aloud accommodation should be provided to students with disabilities taking any of these paper tests who need the test items read aloud by the test examiner.

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.

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.

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:

  • Quanbeck, M., Lazarus, S. S., & Goldstone, L. (2022). Recorded oral delivery: States’ accessibility policies, 2021 (NCEO Accommodations Toolkit #17b). 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. Project Officer: David Egnor