Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Adopts Accommodation Rules

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (http://www.smarterbalanced.org/), the group developing the assessments that will be piloted in Oregon schools this year and in place in all schools in 2014, took an important step yesterday in adopting the usability, accessibility and accommodations manual for the assessments. Twenty five states, including Oregon, have adopted the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, as a replacement for state developed academic assessments. Of particular note is that the new rules prohibit the use of read-aloud strategies as an accommodation on the English/language arts tests in grades 3 through 5. Some accommodations will be available for all students, including a highlighter, digital notepad and spell check. The new rules distinguish between "designated supports," which a teacher can approve, such as, changing the background color or screen fonts on the computer screen, and "documented accommodations" which are contained in the student’s IEP or 504 plan, such as, the use of Braille, American Sign Language or assistance with the use of a computer keyboard. These rules will be very important factor in the appropriate administration of the assessments.

You can get a copy of the new rules here:
http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SmarterBalanced_Guidelines_091113.pdf

Read more at Education Week here:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2013/09/smarter_balanced_consortium_ad.html


Pat Burk, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy in the Graduate School of Education.

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