Oral/Signed Administration

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 Description of Designated Support

The oral/signed administration designated support allows test material to be read aloud or signed to a student. All references in this document to reading support during an oral administration also apply to signing during a signed administration. An online oral/signed administration is administered via text-to-speech (TTS) or American Sign Language (ASL) videos.

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 Assessments

For a student who meets the eligibility criteria, this designated support may be used on the following paper and online tests:

  • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) and STAAR Spanish mathematics, science, and social studies

Test questions, answer choices, and embedded supports may be read aloud.
✓ Required reference materials (where applicable) and allowable designated supports may be read aloud.

  • STAAR and STAAR Spanish reading

✓ Test questions, answer choices, and embedded supports may be read aloud.
✓ Revising selections, revising test questions and answer choices, and embedded supports may be read aloud.
✓ Required reference materials (where applicable) and allowable designated supports may be read aloud.
✗ Reading selections, editing selections, and editing test questions and answer choices CANNOT be read aloud.

  • STAAR English I and English II end-of-course (EOC)

✓ Reading test questions and answer choices, revising selections, revising test questions and answer choices, and embedded supports may be read aloud.
✓ Required reference materials and allowable designated supports may be read aloud.
 Reading selections, editing selections, and editing test questions and answer choices CANNOT be read aloud.

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 Student Eligibility Criteria

A student may use this designated support if that student

  • routinely and effectively uses the designated support during classroom instruction and classroom testing, and
  • meets at least one of the following criteria:
    • The student is a current English learner (EL) and takes a STAAR test in English.
    • The student is identified with dyslexia or a related disorder per Texas Education Code, §38.003.
    • The student has documented evidence of reading difficulties.

NOTE: ELs taking STAAR Spanish may be eligible for an oral administration if they meet either of the requirements noted in the last two bullets and if a committee other than the language proficiency assessment committee (LPAC) determines eligibility.


 Authority for Decision and Required Documentation

  • For a student not receiving special education or Section 504 services, the decision about whether to permit an oral/signed administration is made by the appropriate team of people at the campus level (e.g., Response to Intervention [RtI] team, student assistance team). The decision must be documented according to district policies, should be based on the eligibility criteria, and should seek to address a student's consistent academic struggle in a specific area even after intensive instruction and remediation.
  • For an EL student who is testing in English, the decision is made by the LPAC on the basis of eligibility criteria and is documented in the student's permanent record file.
  • For a student receiving Section 504 services, the decision is made by the Section 504 committee on the basis of eligibility criteria 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 criteria and is documented in the student's individualized education program (IEP).
  • In the case of an EL with a disability, the decision is made by the applicable group in conjunction with the student's LPAC. The decision must be documented by the LPAC in the student's permanent record file and by the other applicable group, as described above.
  • After state testing, OA must be recorded in the ACCOMM. field on the student's answer document. For students who test online, either TTS or Auto-TTS must be indicated in the Test Attributes panel in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) before testing begins. This embedded support is automatically captured by enabling either of these test attributes and indicates that an allowable designated support was made available to the student.

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 Examples/Types

Several types of oral administration are available. All guidelines for providing an oral administration apply to paper tests, braille tests, and online tests.

Oral Administration of STAAR and of STAAR Spanish Paper Tests and STAAR Braille Tests
The Oral Administration designated support should be provided only to an eligible student by a trained test administrator who has been trained in the procedures specific to oral administration. Guidelines for oral administration can be found in the STAAR Oral and Signed Administrations Educator Guide, which is posted on the Accommodation Resources  webpage.

If conducting a signed administration for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, test administrators should also read the specific guidelines for signing test content that are included in the General Instructions for Administering State Assessments to Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This document is posted on Texas Education Agency's (TEA's)  Accommodation Resources webpage.


Oral administration of a paper assessment can include one of two different levels of reading support for each eligible student. The test administrator may use one of the following approaches:

  • read parts of the test questions and answer choices at student request, or
  • read all test questions and answer choices in the order they are presented.

It is the responsibility of the appropriate team of people at the campus level (e.g., ARD committee, ARD committee in conjunction with LPAC, Section 504 committee, RtI team, student assistance team) to determine eligibility and to document the level of reading support the student needs in the appropriate student paperwork. A student may request a change to the level of reading support provided during testing if this option is documented. Test administrators must be made aware of the level of reading support each student is to receive and whether the student is permitted to change the level of reading support during testing, based on documentation in the student's official record.

STAAR and STAAR Spanish Online Tests
For students taking an online assessment, text-to-speech (TTS) is offered as an online option for oral administration. The TTS tool allows an eligible student to receive one of two different levels of reading support while testing. As determined by the appropriate committee, the student may:

  • select any eligible test question and answer choice to be read aloud using the TTS tool, or
  • have all eligible parts of the test be automatically read aloud in the order they are presented.

American Sign Language (ASL) videos are offered as an online option for a signed administration. ASL videos allow a student to independently select and change the level of signing support during the test administration. It is important to note, however, that ASL videos are available only for test questions and revising passages in English, and are not offered on Spanish tests or for content and language supports (i.e., pop-ups and rollovers). In these instances, the test administrator may sign test content in the same way as they do for paper tests. More information can be found in the General Instructions for Administering State Assessments to Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, which are posted on TEA's Accommodation Resources webpage.

It is recommended that students complete the student practice tests prior to test administration. The practice tests are available on the Practice Test Site. These resources allow students to become familiar with the functionality of online tests. Detailed information on how to set up and manage online test sessions is available in the Test Delivery System (TDS) User Guide.

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 Special Instructions/Considerations

  1. A student who uses this designated support may complete the test in a setting that is separate from other students in order to eliminate distractions and ensure the confidentiality of the test.
  2. Any type of oral administration in which the test administrator must view a secure state assessment requires that the test administrator sign a specific part of an Oath of Test Security and Confidentiality. Responding to test questions, making notes about test questions, and discussing the content of the test at any time are prohibited.
  3. It is the responsibility of the district and campus to determine the most appropriate way to group students in order to provide a proper test administration.
  4. When providing an oral administration to a student taking a braille test, including STAAR online with screen-reader support for refreshable braille displays, test administrators should refer to the appropriate general instructions for administering braille assessments which are posted on TEA's Accommodation Resources webpage.
  5. Students for whom the LPAC recommends use of this support for any English reading or English end-of-course (EOC) assessments may not be reclassified at the end of the school year. In addition, LPACs may not recommend designated supports for an EL whose parents have denied bilingual or ESL services. However, ELs who are approved by a different committee to receive this support, for reasons other than English language acquisition (such as a disability or documented academic or literacy difficulties), may be considered for reclassification at the end of the school year.
  6. The revising passages and test questions in a paper test booklet for STAAR reading tests and writing sections of the English I and English II tests may be read aloud to eligible students. The revising sections of the test will be identified so that the test administrator knows which sections they may read aloud. Test administrators may NOT read aloud any part of the editing on the reading test or editing sections of the English I and English II test.
  7. For instructions on how to proceed in situations when a student experiences an unexpected or emergency situation (broken arms, broken glasses) immediately before an assessment, see Accommodations in Unexpected or Emergency Situations.


 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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