Accommodations Toolkit

Student Reads Aloud to Self: States’ Accessibility Policies, 2020

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National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

This summary of states’ accessibility policies for student reads aloud to self 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 read aloud to self.

Accessibility policies often have several tiers of accessibility features: universal features, designated features, and accommodations.[2] Figures 1 and 2 summarize how states included student reads aloud to self in their accessibility policies for students with disabilities and English learners in 2020. Table 1 shows how student reads aloud to self was included in the policies, while Table 2 contains additional details and specifications.

Figure 3 summarizes how states implement student reads aloud to self with regards to setting.  Most states require that students receiving the student reads aloud to self accessibility feature must be tested in a separate or individual setting due to the nature of the feature. Six states, however, note that students do not necessarily have to be tested in a separate setting if they are using an auditory feedback device (e.g., a WhisperPhone®, etc.). 

Figure 1. States’ Accessibility Policies for Student Reads Aloud to Self for Students with Disabilities, 2020

Reading/ELA/Writing

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 20 States
  • Accommodations (A): 7 States

Math

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 20 States
  • Accommodations (A): 7 States

Science

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 19 States
  • Accommodations (A): 6 States

Figure 2. States’ Accessibility Policies for Student Reads Aloud to Self for English Learners, 2020

Reading/ELA/Writing

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 20 States
  • Accommodations (A): 1 States

Math

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 20 States
  • Accommodations (A): 1 States

Science

  • Universal Features (U): 5 States
  • Designated Features (D): 19 States
  • Accommodations (A): 1 States

Figure 3. States’ Implementation of Student Reads Aloud to Self by Setting, 2020

Separate setting: 22

Either separate setting or same setting: 6

Unspecified: 3

Table 1. Accommodations Policies for Student Reads Aloud to Self by State, 2020

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, 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

X

X

X

N

Alaska

Arizona

X

X

X

N

Arkansas

California

Colorado

X

X

X

N

Connecticut

Delaware

X

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

SD

SD

N

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

X

X

X

N

Maine

Maryland

X

X

X

N

Massachusetts

X

X

X

N

Michigan

Minnesota

X

X

X

N

Mississippi

Missouri

X

X

X

N

Montana

X

X

X

N

Nebraska

X

X

X

N

Nevada

X

X

X

N

New Hampshire

X

X

X

N

New Jersey

N

New Mexico

X

X

X

N

New York

SD

SD

SD

N

North Carolina

SD

SD

SD

N

North Dakota

Ohio

X

X

X

N

Oklahoma

SD

SD

SD

N

Oregon

SD

SD

X

N

Pennsylvania

SD, E

SD, E

SD, E

N

Rhode Island

X

X

X

N

South Carolina

South Dakota

X

X

X

N

Tennessee

X

X

X

N

Texas

Utah

Vermont

X

X

N

Virginia

Washington

X

X

X

N

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

X

X

X

N

Total (Students with Disabilities)

5

20

7

5

20

7

5

19

6

Total (English Learners)

5

20

1

5

20

1

5

19

1

Note: Blank cell = no policy found

Table 2. Details and Specifications: States’ Student Reads Aloud to Self Accessibility Policies

State

Details/Specifications

Alabama

Accessibility Support:

Oral Reader (student reads to self): The student reads the test content aloud. This support must be administered in a one-on-one test setting.

Arizona

Reading the test quietly to himself/herself as long as other students are not disrupted.

Colorado

Test Administrator-provided accessibility features are available to all students on CMAS assessments. These accessibility features may require testing students in a separate environment.

Accessibility Features that do not require pre-assignment:

Read Aloud to Self: A student may read the assessment aloud to him/herself. Devices, such as “whisper phones” are allowed. This accessibility feature requires the student to test in a one-on-one environment separate from other students.

Delaware

WhisperPhone®: School provides a WhisperPhone®, which student may use to read the test to himself. Seating for students using this accommodation must be widely spaced apart, so that reading does not disturb other students, or in a separate setting.

District of Columbia

Reading/ELA/Writing/Math:

Student Reads Assessment Aloud to Him- or Herself (accessibility feature, PNP [Personal Needs Profile]): Student reads aloud the assessment to themselves. Students may use an external device such as a whisper phone. The student must be tested in a separate setting.

Florida

A student may read aloud directions, passages, prompts, items, and answer choices to himself/herself. This would require use of a device such as a WhisperPhone® or would require that the student be tested in a separate setting so that other students are not disturbed.

Hawaii

Separate setting designated support:

Students who are easily distracted (or may distract others) in the presence of other students, for example, may need an alternate location to be able to take the assessment. The separate setting may be in a different room that allows them to work individually or among a smaller group. The student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a WhisperPhone®), or use Amplification.

Idaho

Separate setting designated support:

Students who are easily distracted (or may distract others) in the presence of other students, for example, may need an alternate location to be able to take the assessment. The separate setting may be in a different room that allows them to work individually or among a smaller group. The student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a WhisperPhone®), or use Amplification.

Illinois

Before Testing: Identification for SR/PNP [Student Registration and Personal Needs Profile]: The student's SR/PNP must have this feature identified.

During Testing: The student reads aloud the assessment to him- or herself. Students may use an external device such as a whisper phone, read to themselves in a normal voice, or use other strategies from classroom instruction. The student must be tested in a separate setting.

Indiana

Louisiana

Accessibility Feature:

Before Testing: Testing locations and logistics must be secured in advance of testing. During Testing: The student reads aloud the assessment to him or herself. Students may use an external device such as a whisper phone, read to themselves in a normal voice, or use other strategies from classroom instruction. The student must be tested in a separate setting.

Maryland

Accessibility Features for All Students Identified in Advance:

During Instruction and Testing: The student reads aloud the materials to him or herself. Students may use an external device such as a whisper phone, read to themselves in a normal voice, or use other strategies from classroom instruction. The student must be tested in a separate setting.

Massachusetts

Student reads test aloud to self: Student must be tested in a separate setting, unless a low-volume device (e.g., a WhisperPhone®) is used.

Minnesota

General Supports Available for All Students:

Voice feedback devices and whisper phones allow students to vocalize as they read and work problems.

  • Students may not read the test aloud directly to the Test Administrator/Test Monitor and the Test Administrator/Test Monitor cannot provide verbal or nonverbal prompts.
  • This support must be provided in an individual setting.

Missouri

All students may read aloud the test to themselves, either in a one-on-one setting or by using a device (such as a whisper phone) that does not disturb other students or allow other students to hear what is being said. In order to ensure that use of this tool does not disturb other students, the use of this tool may need to be paired with the use of separate setting (S501).

Montana

As part of “separate setting” designated support, the student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a whisper phone), or use amplification.

Nebraska

The student quietly reads the test content aloud to self. This feature must be administered in a setting that is not distracting to other students.

Nevada

As part of “separate setting” designated support, the student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a whisper phone), or use Amplification.

New Hampshire

As part of “separate setting” designated support, the student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a whisper phone), or use amplification.

New Jersey

The student reads aloud the assessment to themselves. Students may use an external device such as a whisper phone, read to themselves in a normal voice, or use other strategies from classroom instruction. The student must be tested in a separate setting.

New Mexico

Accessibility feature:

Student reads directions, text, selected responses, or constructed response items aloud to self. Used in individual setting with PBT/CBT [paper-based test/computer-based test].

North Carolina

To ensure the validity of the test, students who are provided the student reads test aloud to self accommodation must also be provided the testing in a separate room (one-on-one) accommodation. No other students are to be present in the room during the test administration. The Student Reads Test Aloud to Self accommodation also applies to students who routinely use a device that allows them to hear themselves read, such as a PVC elbow pipe or other device that directs the sound toward the students’ ears. These students may use such a device, but they must follow the same guidelines as other students receiving this accommodation (i.e., Testing in a Separate Room, one-on-one). If the Student Reads Test Aloud accommodation is provided, the test administrator or proctor (if utilized) may not (1) correct the student who is reading aloud or (2) read all or any part of the test to the student unless the student also has the Test Read Aloud (in English) accommodation. If the test administrator (or a proctor) corrects or reads all or any part of a test that measures reading comprehension to the student, the test results are invalid. The following North Carolina tests measure reading comprehension: 1. BOG3 Reading Test 2. North Carolina EOG Assessments of Reading (Grades 3–8) 3. North Carolina EOC Assessment of English II

Ohio

Student reads aloud to self. This feature includes the use of whisper phones. Student must be tested in a one-on-one setting so that the student does not disturb other students or in a setting in which students are separated enough so as not to disturb others.

Oklahoma

This requires individual testing (even if student is reading aloud quietly).

Oregon

Science:

Student is allowed to use a recording device to record/play back questions, passages, thought processes, and responses. A student may record his or her responses into a recording device prior to responding to the assessment. The student should be familiar with the process of self-recording; however, if the student is not able to manage the equipment, test administrators are allowed to provide support. Following the assessment session, all tapes and materials must be securely destroyed.

Student is allowed to vocalize his or her thought process out loud to him/herself or to a neutral test administrator. Think aloud is a strategy a student might use to orally process thoughts and organize information before making a response.

A separate setting or whisper phone may be required to ensure that this designated support is implemented without distracting other students. When a student vocalizes to a listener, the listener is to remain neutral and may provide no feedback or indication of correctness or incorrectness on the student’s part. A student who sub-vocalizes (reads aloud to him/herself) or reads aloud in the classroom to work through assessment information may be allowed to use this support in an assessment as a designated support. Appropriate provisions must be made so that the student’s self-talk or sub-vocalization is not disruptive to other students.

Reading/ELA/Writing/Math:

Read aloud to self, use of a whisper phone, and a snack during testing are allowed “Other” accommodations.

Pennsylvania

Requires separate setting. Reads test aloud to self (may also use a whisper phone) and writes answers in answer booklet. Whisper phone or simply reading to self does not require approval from PDE. Use of DAF/FAF device or any other electronic device requires PDE prior approval.

Rhode Island

Accessibility Feature:

Read aloud to self: Student must be tested in a separate setting unless a low-volume device, such as a whisper phone, is used.

South Dakota

As part of “separate setting” designated support, the student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a whisper phone), or use amplification.

Tennessee

Before Testing: Test Administrator ensures student’s testing environment is conclusive to read aloud to self. During Testing: The student reads aloud the assessment to self in a manner which will not be overheard by other students.

Vermont

Reading/ELA/Writing/Math: As part of “separate setting” designated support, the student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a whisper phone), or use amplification.

Washington

Read aloud student: Students who are beginning readers may need to hear themselves read in order to comprehend text. Students who tend to rush through assessments and not read text fully, may need to read the test aloud.

Wyoming

As part of “separate setting” designated support, the student may read aloud to self, use a device requiring voicing (e.g., a whisper phone), or use amplification.

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. (2021). Student reads aloud to self: States’ accessibility policies, 2020 (NCEO Accommodations Toolkit #9b). National Center on Educational Outcomes.

NCEO is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) 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. NCEO does not endorse any of the commercial products used in the studies. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but does 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