Special Administration of an Online Assessment


State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®with Embedded Supports (English and Spanish), Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) listening and speaking assessments, and TELPAS reading assessments are administered as online tests. When rare, unavoidable circumstances exist where students cannot access an online assessment, such as those described below, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) may authorize a special administration. Special administrations of STAAR with Embedded Supports (English and Spanish) and TELPAS reading will be in paper form, while a special administration of TELPAS listening and speaking will be holistically rated for each domain. 

Requests for special administrations based on the lack of familiarity with online testing by students or districts will NOT be approved. 

Accommodations Cannot be Applied

A student may need a testing accommodation that is not possible to provide in an online setting. Prior to requesting a special administration of the assessment, consideration should be given to accessibility features, locally-approved designated supports, and designated supports requiring TEA approval. For information regarding these testing accommodations, refer to the Accessibility section in these District and Campus Coordinator Resources.

Technology Access is Precluded

Districts must make every effort to administer STAAR with Embedded Supports (English and Spanish), TELPAS listening and speaking, and TELPAS reading assessments online. In rare situations where computers or technology are absolutely not available, as may occur on occasion with homebound students, JJAEPs, jails, or detention centers, districts may seek permission for a special administration. A rationale must be provided with the submission of a request for a special administration that clearly indicates why computers or technology are absolutely not available despite attempts made to administer the test online (e.g., no Internet connection at home and portable wireless connection not available; prohibited from downloading the secure browser application onto computer).

Unable to Participate in One Domain of TELPAS

For students who are admission, review, and dismissal (ARD)-exempt in one domain of the TELPAS listening and speaking assessment, districts may request a special administration. Upon approval, the domain in which the student will participate will be assessed holistically. Holistic rating training will be required for the student’s rater.

Deciding to Submit a Request

A Special Administration Request Decision Making Flowchart is available to help guide districts in determining whether a special administration of an online assessment is appropriate for a particular situation.

Instructions for Requesting Permission for a Special Administration

District testing coordinators must review completed special administration request forms for STAAR with Embedded Supports (English and Spanish), TELPAS listening and speaking, and TELPAS reading assessments and verify that the information provided meets the criteria for a special administration. The Special Administration of an Online Assessment form can be accessed in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) under the Administration and Security Forms module. 

Districts should submit a special administration request separately for each testing program. Only one testing program can be selected per form submission. If a student also needs a designated support requiring TEA approval (i.e., Complex Transcribing, Math Scribe, Extra Day, Other), include the accommodation and rationale with the request for a special administration. Do NOT submit a separate online Accommodation Request Form.

For students taking STAAR braille, including students using a refreshable braille display, who are also eligible to receive content and language supports, districts should submit a Special Administration of an Online Assessment form to receive a STAAR with Embedded Supports test booklet and place an order for braille materials in TIDE.

Once TEA has approved the request for a special administration of STAAR with Embedded Supports (English and Spanish) or TELPAS reading, a materials order will be issued to the testing contractor on behalf of the district. For the special administration of TELPAS listening and speaking, students will need to be holistically rated in both domains.

Conducting a Special Administration

After a special administration request is approved for STAAR with Embedded Supports, secure test materials and secure test instructions will be sent and will arrive in their own shipment separate from districts' initial shipment of test materials. The STAAR with Embedded Supports Paper Test Administration Information will be available online. During a paper administration, the language supports designed to assist students in accessing the test are provided by the test administrator using the appropriate STAAR with Embedded Supports Secure Test Instructions included with embedded supports material shipment. The secure test instructions provide specific information on how the embedded accommodations are to be provided. When administering STAAR with Embedded Supports to a STAAR braille tester, the test administrator must use the appropriate Specific Braille Instructions included with Braille Kits shipped to districts in conjunction with secure instructions for the test being administered.

For TELPAS reading, after a special administration request is approved, secure test materials and a test administrator manual for a paper administration will be sent together in a shipment.

For TELPAS listening and speaking, after a special administration request is approved, a passcode to access the required holistic rating training will be provided. The rater must complete all training requirements before rating students for the assessment.

Submitting Student Responses

For STAAR with Embedded Supports (English and Spanish), student responses from paper administrations are recorded on answer documents. Unless a student meets the eligibility criteria for a transcription, the student is expected to record his or her answers on the answer document within the time allowed for the test.

For TELPAS reading, student responses from a paper administration are recorded in the test booklet and must be entered into the Date Entry Interface (DEI) for scoring. Student responses in test booklets will not be scored. Districts are responsible for transcribing student responses into DEI prior to the close of the test administration window. Instructions for transcribing student responses into DEI are included with the paper materials provided.  

For TELPAS listening and speaking, the ratings and related information that are recorded on the TELPAS Student Rating Roster must be entered into DEI. Districts are responsible for entering ratings into DEI prior to the close of the test administration window.  

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