Braille/Refreshable Braille

TEA approval is not required logo

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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:

  • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) (all grades/subjects and courses for brailled test material)
  • STAAR grades 3–8 reading, grade 8 social studies, English I, English II, and U.S. History (for screen reader support for refreshable braille displays)
  • Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) reading (all grades for brailled test material)

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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., Response to Intervention [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 individual accommodation plan (IAP).
  • For a student receiving special education services, the decision is made by the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee based on the eligibility criterion and is documented in the student's individualized education program (IEP).
  • In the case of an English learner (EL) with a disability, the decision is made by the applicable group in conjunction with the student's language proficiency assessment committee (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.
  • 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 who test online with the refreshable braille accommodation, the Refreshable Braille Type should be indicated in the Test Attributes panel in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) prior to testing so that refreshable braille is available on the test.

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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 STAAR grades/subjects and courses
  • online screen reader support for refreshable braille displays in applicable STAAR grades 3–8 reading, English I, English II, and social studies assessments
  • state-approved contracted and uncontracted braille test materials in UEB for TELPAS grades 2–12 reading

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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 appropriate general instructions for administering braille assessments document, located TEA's Accommodation Resources webpage. This document also contains specific information about administering STAAR 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 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 TIDE. 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 speech-to-text (STT) 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 (SBIs) supplement the test administrator manuals. They are shipped with the individual braille kits prior to testing. 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 complete the Accommodations Request Form in TIDE to order STAAR with Embedded Supports materials. Districts do not need to submit a request for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to approve 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.


Supporting Resources

For assistance with test administration functions for all Texas assessments, contact Texas Testing Support at 833-601-8821 or TexasTestingSupport@cambiumassessment.com.

If you have any questions, contact the Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536, and ask to speak with your Accommodations Task Force representative.

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