Complex Transcribing

TEA approval is required logo


 Description of Designated Support

This designated support allows a test administrator to record a student's dictated or signed responses to the writing prompts onto an answer document or into the online testing platform when a student with a disability is unable to accomplish this task independently.

NOTE: The test administrator who is responsible for providing this designated support is an individual who has been thoroughly trained. The test administrator knows what is allowable and what is prohibited.



For a student who meets the eligibility criteria, this designated support, which requires Texas Education Agency (TEA) approval, may be used on the following:

  • State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR®) English I and English II (written composition ONLY)


 Student Eligibility Criteria

Submit an Accommodation Request Form to TEA if the student

  • routinely and effectively uses this designated support during classroom instruction and classroom testing;
  • is unable to effectively use Basic Transcribing to address this need; and
  • meets at least one of the following:
    • The student has an impairment in vision (e.g., uncorrected vision, nystagmus, qualifies for special education services with a Visual Impairment [VI]) that necessitates the use of braille or large-print test materials.
    • The student has a physically disabling condition (e.g., muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, arthritis) that prevents him or her from independently and effectively recording responses on the lined pages of the answer document or in the space provided in the Test Delivery System (TDS).


 Authority for Decision and Required Documentation

  • For a student not receiving special education or Section 504 services, the decision to provide a student with supplemental accommodations 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 criteria 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 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 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, DS 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 testing online, the Other Designated Supports field should be updated under the Non-Embedded Supports panel in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) before testing begins.



The test administrator may carry out Complex Transcribing only when the student dictates or signs his or her responses to the writing prompts for the test administrator to transcribe. This includes transcribing the student's prewriting, if applicable.


 Special Instructions/Considerations

  1. Accommodation Request Forms must be received by TEA according to the posted deadlines. Late requests will NOT be processed unless circumstances involving the student change after the deadline (e.g., newly enrolled student, medical emergency, updated ARD committee decision). In these circumstances, the district testing coordinator should contact TEA's Student Assessment Division at 512-463-9536 for further instructions.
  2. 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.
  3. Complex Transcribing is a designated support intended for an extremely small group of students with disabilities who have a TEA-approved Accommodation Request Form. TEA will provide specific guidelines about how to transcribe the student's responses to the writing prompts, including how to indicate the student's spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, with any approved Accommodation Request Form. A test administrator who transcribes for a student must be trained in these guidelines so that he or she understands the boundaries of the assistance being provided.
  4. Complex transcribing must be done by a trained test administrator who has signed 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.
  5. If a student needs assistance physically manipulating test materials or equipment, refer to the Manipulating Test Materials policy.
  6. For information regarding the role of a test administrator who transcribes for a student who uses braille or large-print test materials, refer to the appropriate general instructions for administering braille assessments document and the General Instructions for Administering Large-Print State Assessments document located on TEA's Accommodation Resources webpage.
  7. For information regarding the role of a test administrator who transcribes for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, refer to the General Instructions for Administering State Assessments to Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing document, located on TEA's Accommodation Resources webpage.
  8. For Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) grades 2–12 writing, an Accommodation Request Form does not need to be submitted for a student who meets the eligibility criteria for Complex Transcribing. Since the writing samples included in a TELPAS writing collection come from authentic classroom activities, the same accommodations, or designated supports, routinely used during classroom instruction are acceptable for the writing samples used in a TELPAS writing collection. Note that the samples chosen to be included in a TELPAS writing collection must still adhere to the guidelines listed in the TELPAS Rater Manual. The Complex Transcribing Guidelines for TELPAS found on the Accommodation Resources webpage should be followed when using this designated support. There is no need to record the accommodation code in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE).
  9. For situations when a student experiences an unexpected or emergency situation (i.e., broken arm, broken glasses) immediately before the assessment, see the instructions for Accommodations in Unexpected and Emergency Situations on the Accommodation Resources webpage for guidance.

 Supporting Resources:

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

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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