Feb 16, 2019
CCSSO Accessibility Manual:
Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) Summative & Alternate Accessibility Manual
How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accessibility Supports for Instruction and Assessment of All Students
The Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) Summative Accessibility Manual was adapted from the CCSSO Accessibility Manual: How To Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accessibility Supports for Instruction and Assessment of all Students.
It is the policy of the Nebraska Department of Education not to discriminate on the basis of gender, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin or genetic information in its education programs, administration, policies, employment or other agency programs.
Table of Contents
Section I: Background5Intended Audience and Recommended Use5Recognizing Accessibility Needs for All Students7Section II: Three-tiered Approach to Accessibility8Universal Features8Making Decisions About Universal Features8Linguistic Supports for English Learners8Making Decisions about Linguistic Supports for English Learners9Accommodations9Making Decisions about Accommodations9Section III: Five-step Decision-making Process10Step 1: Expect Students to Achieve Grade-level Standards10Including All Students in State Assessments11Inclusion of Student with IEPs and 504s11Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities11Inclusion of English Learners11Recently-arrived English Learners12Former English Learners12Step 2: Learn About Accessibility Supports for Instruction and Assessment13Universal Design Implications14Modifications in Instruction and Assessment14Instructional Accessibility Supports14ELs with Disabilities16Step 3: Identify Accessibility Supports for Instruction and Assessment17Documenting Accessibility Supports for All Students17Documenting Accessibility Supports Under IDEA18Documenting Accessibility Supports on a Students 504 Plan18Decision-making Process19Involving Students in Selecting, Using, and Evaluating Accessibility Supports19Prior Use of Accessibility Supports20Step 4: Administer Accessibility Supports during Instruction and Assessment20Accessibility during Instruction20Accessibility during Assessment21Ethical Testing Practices21Test Security22Step 5: Evaluate Use of Accessibility Supports in Instruction and Assessment22Questions to Guide Evaluation at the Student Level22Tool 1: Universal Features24Tool 2: Linguistic Supports for English Learners27Tool 3: Accommodations35Tool 4: Planning Tool40Tool 5: Dos and Donts When Selecting Accessibility Supports43Tool 6: Read Aloud Guidelines44Tool 7: Scribe Guidelines46Tool 8: Translation Guidelines/Native Language Supports48Tool 9: Educational Sign Language Interpreter Guidelines52Tool 10: Optional Confidentiality Agreement for Educators Exposed to Test Content during Administration of NSCAS Tests52
Section I: Background
The Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System Summative & Alternate Accessibility Manual is a tool for districts to use for the selection, administration, and evaluation of accessibility supports for instruction and assessment of all students, including students with disabilities, English learners (ELs), ELs with disabilities, and students without an identified disability or EL status.
Accessibility supports discussed herein include:
both embedded (digitally-provided) and non-embedded (non-digitally or locally provided) universal features that are available to all students as they access instructional or assessment content,
linguistic supports that are available for those students designated as English Learners, and
accommodations that are generally available for students for whom there is documentation on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 accommodation plan.
This manual replaces all NeSA Approved Accommodations documents for ELs and students with disabilities.
Intended Audience and Recommended Use
The NSCAS Summative & Alternate Accessibility Manual applies to all students who use accessibility supports and accommodations for instruction and assessment. The manual is also intended for assessment staff and administrators serving all students who currently have the potential to benefit from accessibility supports on the Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS) Summative and Alternative tests. It is intended for general education, ELL and special education teachers, school administrators, test administrators, school coordinators, and related services personnel to use in determining and administering accessibility supports for those students who need them.
This manual emphasizes an individualized approach to the implementation of accessibility practices for those students who have diverse needs in the classroom. It recognizes the critical connection between accessibility supports in instruction and accessibility supports during assessment.
The approach is a three-tier accessibility framework that includes universal features, linguistic supports for English learners, and accommodations on content assessments.
Some accessibility supports allowable on NSCAS assessments may be prohibited on other assessments. This manual is not intended to be used with the ELPA21 or ACT. See the ELPA21 Accessibility and Accommodations Manual for support specific to the ELPA21 test. See the ACT Test Administration Accommodations Manual: State and District Testing for support specific to the ACT test.
NDE encourages districts to offer similar supports/accommodations to students tested with the Interim MAP Growth assessment. Some supports/accommodations may not be available for MAP Growth or may function differently. See the MAP Growth Accessibility FAQ for support specific to the MAP Growth test.
The manual outlines a five-step decision-making process for administering accessibility supports. Figure 1 highlights the five steps discussed in the manual.
Figure 1. Five-step Decision-making Process for Administering Accessibility Supports
Recognizing Accessibility Needs for All Students
In the context of new technology-based instruction and assessments, various accessibility supports are available for students to meet their individualized needs and preferences. These new individualized approaches to accessibility place greater responsibility on educator teams and individuals who make decisions about which students need and should receive specific supports among a variety of accessibility choices. Educators should also ensure that students have ample opportunity to practice using accessibility supports. If the supports students are used to having in the classroom are not allowed on the assessment, students should have instructional opportunities in class without these supports.
For the purposes of this manual, the following definitions are used:
Students with disabilities are students who are eligible to receive services identified through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
English learners (ELs) are students whose native language is not English and who do not yet possess sufficient English language proficiency to fully access curriculum that is in English.
English learners with disabilities (ELs with disabilities) are students whose native language is not English, who do not yet possess sufficient English language proficiency to fully access content that is in English, and who have disabilities and are served by IDEA or Section 504.
General education students are students who do not have an identified disability or EL status. Although we understand that students with disabilities, ELs, and ELs with disabilities are also general education students, we use this term as a simple way to refer to students who do not have a disability, are not identified as an EL, or who are not identified as an EL with a disability.
Section II: Three-tiered Approach to Accessibility
This section highlights the three-tiered approach to accessibility currently employed by Nebraska: universal features, linguistic supports for English learners, and accommodations. Educators should be mindful that other terms sometimes are used to describe these tiers. Tools 1- 3 include universal features, linguistic supports for English learners, and accommodations currently used in NSCAS Summative Tests. Tool 4 is an optional planning resource that may be utilized by accessibility decision makers to track needed supports for individual students.
NDE encourages districts to formalize methods of tracking accessibility decisions and communicating those decisions to test administrators/proctors.
Universal features are accessibility supports that are either: embedded and provided digitally through instructional or assessment technology (e.g., answer choice eliminator), or non-embedded and provided non-digitally at the local level (e.g., scratch paper). Universal features are available to all students as they access instructional or assessment content. Tool 1 includes embedded and non-embedded universal features currently used on the NSCAS Summative Tests.
Making Decisions About Universal Features
Educators may need to pay special attention to non-embedded universal features to ensure that they are available to meet individual student needs. Students should be provided adequate opportunity to practice the features prior to the taking the assessment.
Linguistic Supports for English Learners