Braille/Refreshable Braille

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 Description of Designated Support

This designated support provides brailled test materials or screen reader support for refreshable braille displays to a student with a Visual Impairment (VI) who is unable to access printed test materials.

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 Assessments

For a student who meets the eligibility criterion, this designated support may be used on

  • STAAR (all grades and subjects for brailled test material)
  • STAAR grades 3–8 reading, grades 4 and 7 writing, grade 8 social studies, English I, English II, and U.S. History (for screen reader support for refreshable braille displays)

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 Student Eligibility Criterion

A student may use this designated support if he or she

  • routinely uses braille materials during classroom instruction and classroom testing.

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 Authority for Decision and Required Documentation

  • For a student not receiving special education or Section 504 services, the decision is made by the appropriate team of people at the campus level (e.g., RTI team, student assistance team) and documented according to district policies. The decision should be based on the eligibility criterion and aimed at addressing a student’s consistent academic struggle in a specific area even after intensive instruction and remediation.
  • For a student receiving Section 504 services, the decision is made by the Section 504 committee based on the eligibility criterion and is documented in the student’s IAP.
  • For a student receiving special education services, the decision is made by the ARD committee based on the eligibility criterion and is documented in the student’s IEP.
  • In the case of an EL with a disability, the decision is made by the applicable group above in conjunction with the student’s LPAC. The decision is to be documented by the LPAC in the student’s permanent record file and by the other applicable group, as described above.
  • After state testing, BR must be recorded in the ACCOMM. field on the student’s answer document. This indicates that an allowable designated support was made available to the student. For students that test online with the refreshable braille accommodation, the embedded support is automatically recorded in the Assessment Management System.

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 Examples/Types

This designated support includes only

  • state-provided contracted and uncontracted braille test materials in Unified English Braille (UEB) in all grades and subjects
  • online screen reader support for refreshable braille displays in applicable reading, writing, and social studies assessments

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 Special Instructions/Considerations

  1. A student who uses this designated support may complete the test in a separate setting to eliminate distractions to other students and to ensure the confidentiality of the test.
  2. Student responses cannot be scored unless they are recorded using a No. 2 pencil on an answer document according to the procedures outlined in the Basic Transcribing and/or Complex Transcribing policies.
  3. Specific information about administering braille tests is available in the General Instructions for Administering Braille State Assessments document, located TEA’s Accommodation Resources webpage. This document also contains specific information about administering braille tests to students who use online screen reader support for refreshable braille displays. Online screen reader support for refreshable braille displays will include visually hidden content presented to the screen reader and refreshable braille display only. If a student requires assistance with online screen reader support for refreshable braille displays, including how to access visually hidden content, refer to the JAWS help screen in the Available Tools during an online administration. For students who use online screen reader support for refreshable braille displays, a paper version of a braille test booklet should be ordered through the Assessment Management System. A student may refer to the braille booklet at any time, as needed.
  4. For students who are taking STAAR using a refreshable braille display, the student will not be able to use the new speech-to-text functionality. Districts should continue to use the same process for transcription that is being used in daily instruction in the classroom. For example, districts may use Dragon speech recognition software for the transcription of the student essay.
  5. Specific Braille Instructions (SBI) supplement the test administrator manuals. They are shipped with the individual braille kits and posted online two weeks prior to testing in the Assessment Management System. Test administrators must review these instructions prior to test day to ensure that the test is administered properly. Testing irregularities could result if the SBIs are not used.
  6. For students taking STAAR braille, including students using a refreshable braille display, who are also eligible to receive content and language supports, districts should contact the Texas Assessment Support Center to order STAAR with Embedded Supports materials. Districts do not need to submit a request for TEA to approve for the STAAR with Embedded Supports. Test administrators will be provided with instructions regarding the administration of Content and Language Supports for students taking a braille test or using screen reader support for refreshable braille displays.

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