Technology Guidelines for the Texas Assessment Program

Districts are required to have procedures in place to prevent the use of personal electronic devices during test administrations. When districts are using allowed or approved technology, including technology-based accommodations (i.e., designated supports and accessibility features), the following guidelines for test security and validity must be followed when reviewing the technology prior to its use during an assessment. Appropriate review requires knowledge of both the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the specific grade level and subject and the capabilities and functions of the device or software that will be used during the assessment. Some technology may be useful during daily academic settings; however, that technology cannot be used during a state assessment if it has functionality that creates an assessment concern that cannot be addressed. District or campus personnel must conduct additional reviews of technology, including technology-based accommodations, after an upgrade or update to determine if it continues to meet Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidelines for use during a state assessment.

Technology Use Guidelines 

Test administrators must actively monitor the use of the technology, including technology-based accommodations, during an assessment. All technology used during state assessments must adhere to the following guidelines. 

For a device or software to be considered appropriate for state assessment use, it must:

  • be set in a mode that locks the user into a specific software program; and
  • block the user from accessing functionality or features that may violate test security, such as
    • the ability to send secure test content (e.g., messages, captured images, videos);
    • the ability to send or receive any person-to-person communication about secure test content (e.g., chat, video); and
    • the ability to save secure test content.

When using applications on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, districts must ensure that the application does not provide functionality that compromises the curriculum assessed.

Using the Secure Browser Application with Accessibility Software

For students using accessibility features, the secure browser application provides the option for assessments to be taken in less restrictive environments. This feature is known as Permissive Mode. This mode, found in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) as a student test setting, temporarily allows students who need accessibility tools to navigate between the secure browser application and approved applications that are necessary for taking a state assessment. The accommodation and use of Permissive Mode must be approved by TEA as an "Other" designated support through the submission of an Accommodation Request Form and should be assigned to students in TIDE before they begin testing. For more information and instructions, refer to the Test Delivery System (TDS) User Guide, the Assistive Technology User Guide, and the Quick Guide for Setting Up Your Online Testing Technology.

A training presentation is available on the Accommodation Resources webpage to assist districts in making appropriate decisions about technology-based accommodations for students taking state assessments. If you have questions about whether specific technology-based accommodations meet these guidelines, contact the most appropriate person in your district (e.g., technology staff, curriculum staff).

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