General and vocational education for children with special needs is one of the primary and integral necessities for their success. It ensures their participation in society and guarantees practical self-realization in diverse professional and social activities. It is noteworthy that examinations are an essential part of any educational process, but it is apparent that the approach to taking them must be adaptable to meet everyone’s needs. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness is a form of proficiency testing that offers access opportunities for special-needs children while emphasizing quality, equity, and fairness.
Eligibility Criteria for Oral Administration
Testing approaches must ensure equal rights, accessibility, and the possibility to choose an appropriate educational route for any child regardless of their physical or mental crafts. For this purpose, STAAR provides eligibility criteria that affect the ability of children to receive the assistance they require to take the test. In particular, kids with reading and writing difficulties can benefit from the instructor’s service, who reads the questions and answers aloud (Texas Education Agency, 2020). The eligibility criteria indicate that students can rely on support if they use accommodations during the classroom, making it available to Drew, who employs auditory books. Furthermore, if children are diagnosed with dyslexia or a related disorder or have documented reading hardships, they fall under the criteria.
All recommendations for ensuring oral administration apply to paper, braille, and online tests. Administrators must be trained in procedures specific to oral management and provide reading support for each eligible student (Texas Education Agency, 2020). The instructor can read a part of the test questions and answer choices at the student’s request or all of them. Furthermore, children can use the TTS tool, which permits them to select and change the level of reading support during the test.
Accommodation for Students with Writing and Reading Disabilities
Transcribing is one of the recommended methods for Drew, who has writing and reading hardships. This assigned support permits the test administrator to document dictated or signed answers to written assignments into the answer sheet (Texas Education Agency, 2020). Thus, this method promotes a more comfortable environment for learners to complete the assignments thoroughly. Moreover, extra time to take the test on the same day can be recommended. It will make the student feel less anxious and more relaxed and confident. It enables to complete the tasks based on their quality rather than on the amount of time. In this way, transcription and extra time will be reasonable alternatives, supporting Drew to be calm and pass the exam.
Technical Assistance for Struggling Readers and Writers
SAAR tests a variety of competencies, and mathematics is among them. It is a particularly challenging subject for which technological supports are essential. For Drew, supplemental calculation aids may be recommended as an alternative method for a student who cannot use paper and pencil ones effectively. Drew has physical disabilities that prevent him from independently writing the numbers needed for computations, and he cannot use other available tools to handle with this issue. Therefore, technological assistance is critical to the efficiency and quality of test assignments. This specific support may include a basic hand-held calculator or calculator application, including large keys or speech output. Furthermore, a student using exceptional support can perform the test in a separate room to not distract other students and provide privacy (Texas Education Agency, 2020). However, using a computational aid as outstanding support in STAAR must not replace the teaching of basic computational skills as outlined in TEKS.
STAAR Regulations in Practice
The unique feature of STAAR is that it is appropriate for all students, as it provides many opportunities to support them pass. In my practice, I have also had children who have used the aids for reading, including oral administration and enlarged materials for those who have hardships due to vision problems. From my observations, I can conclude about the effectiveness and reliability of such auxiliary methods. Furthermore, there are numerous innovative approaches for struggling readers. One of the most memorable involved the instructor assisting the student in reading the assignments, which the student himself regulated. Thus, the child felt in control of the situation, was independent in the process of performance of tasks, and at the same time could freely use help when required it. Such an innovative approach permits the child to feel equal among all. It develops independence but at the same time guarantees the chance to use assistance.
Thus, STAAR is testing that meets the needs of any child and leads to more effective results. With a wide range of accommodation options, both conventional and technological, each student can complete the tasks while feeling confident and comfortable. The innovative STAAR models also promote active student participation and the ability to regulate the test-taking process. It is essential to consider the eligibility criteria to comprehend which tools are appropriate for each case, and success will be guaranteed.
Texas Education Agency. (2020). STAAR accommodation policy. Author.