Supplemental Aids

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For a student who meets the eligibility criterion, this designated support may be used on:

  • STAAR, including STAAR Spanish

  • TELPAS (blank graphic organizers only)

 Description of Designated Support

This designated support allows a student to use paper-based resources that assist in recalling information.

 Student Eligibility Criteria

A student may use this designated support if the student

  • routinely, independently, and effectively uses it during classroom instruction and classroom testing.

 Authority for Decision and Required Documentation

  • The STAAR Non-Embedded Supports or TELPAS Non-Embedded Supports field should be updated under the Non-Embedded Supports panel in TIDE after testing to indicate that this support was made available to the student.

  • For a student not receiving special education or Section 504 services, the decision is made by the appropriate team at the campus level (e.g., Rtl 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 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 EB student with a disability, the decision is made by the applicable group in conjunction with the student's LPAC and documented in the student's permanent record file and IAP or IEP.

 Examples and Types

Only the paper-based supplemental aids listed are allowed on the state assessment. The descriptions of each type are meant to guide districts in determining their appropriateness for the student and compliance with testing policy.

Note: TEA does not review, revise, or approve locally created supplemental aids.



A mnemonic device is a learning technique that assists with memory. Only mnemonic devices that are acronyms or phrases based on an acronym may be used. The subject-specific words that the mnemonic represents are NOT allowed. For example, the acronym "PEMDAS" or the phrase "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" may be used in mathematics to help a student recall the correct order of operations. However, the subject-specific words "Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction," as well as the mathematical symbols associated with the words, are not allowed. In English language arts, the acronym FANBOYS may be used to help a student recall the names of different coordinating conjunctions, but the names of the conjunctions themselves are not allowed. In social studies, the acronym "HOMES" may be used to help a student recall the names of the Great Lakes, but the names of the lakes are not allowed. In science, the acronym "ROY G. BIV" may be used to help a student recall the colors of the rainbow, but the actual colors or color words are not allowed.

Blank Graphic

Blank graphic organizers may be used. Blank graphic organizers may NOT contain titles, words, labels, colors used as labels, pictures, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables. Images of blank graphic organizers that are visible to all students must be covered or removed from the testing environment prior to testing.



  • A number chart (e.g., 100 chart) may be used. Indicating special numbers (e.g., highlighting or circling prime numbers within the body of the chart) is NOT allowed.

  • A grade-appropriate place value chart may be used. The chart may contain commas and decimals in the appropriate places; however, it may NOT contain place value labels (i.e., words) or numbers as specific examples.


  • Pictorial models of fraction bars or fraction circles may be used. The models should NOT contain labels (e.g., labels that show individual fractions or equivalencies).

  • Grade- or course-appropriate pictorial models of one-, two-, and three-dimensional geometric figures may be used. However, the models may only be provided in two- or three- dimensional forms, not both. The figures may NOT contain titles, words, labels, colors used as labels, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables. Providing a pictorial model of a geometric figure in one form (e.g., net) and a manipulative of the same figure in another form (e.g., three- dimensional solid) is NOT allowed.

Reading Language Arts

Extended Constructed Responses ONLY

Grammar and Mechanics

  • A list of grade-appropriate grammar and mechanics rules may be used. The list may NOT contain any specific examples.

  • The test administrator must collect the list from the student once the student moves on to any other section of the test.



  • Graphics of scientific concepts may be used. The graphics may NOT contain titles, words, labels, colors used as labels, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables.

  • Formula triangles representing relationships between variables may be used. Only formulas that appear on the appropriate state-supplied reference materials may be represented. The triangles may include only variables; for example, a triangle showing the relationship between mass, density, and volume can contain only the variables m, D, and V. Symbols for mathematical operations (e.g., ×, ÷) are NOT allowed.

Social Studies


  • Blank maps may be used. Blank maps may NOT contain titles, words, labels, colors used as labels, pictures, acronyms, mnemonics, numbers, symbols, or variables. In addition, unlabeled maps that represent historic events may be used (e.g., an unlabeled map that represents the stages of U.S. territorial expansion). A student can use both physical and political world or U.S. maps.

  • Timelines may be used if they contain only dates. Labeling the events connected with those dates in any way is NOT allowed.

 Special Instructions and Considerations

  • A student who uses this designated support may need to complete the test in a separate setting to eliminate distractions to other students and to ensure the confidentiality of the test.

  • Use of this designated support during classroom instruction and classroom testing should not replace the teaching of subject-specific skills as outlined in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS). The student must be able to understand the information that the supplemental aid provides and simply need assistance recalling the concepts.

  • Supplemental aids should be individualized for each student. Students have different strengths and needs, so it is not appropriate to provide all students with the exact same set of supplemental aids.

  • The test administrator may not remind the student to use the supplemental aid or explain to the student the information included on the supplemental aid.

  • A student's use of this designated support does not necessarily impact the instructional environment. Remember that the only instructional materials in a testing area that should be concealed or removed are those materials separate from the supplemental aids designated here that could assist a student with answering questions on the subject-area assessment being administered.

  • Supplemental aids can be provided in the language that is most appropriate for the student.

  • The supplemental aid must be error-free, concise, and well organized so that a student can easily access the information. The supplemental aid must not contain numerous pages, which may be more cumbersome than helpful when used during the state assessment.

  • If a student writes on the supplemental aid during the test administration, the supplemental aid must be destroyed after testing.

  • For situations when a student experiences an unexpected or emergency situation (e.g., broken arm, broken glasses) immediately before the assessment, refer to the Accommodations in Unexpected or Emergency Situations policy.

If you have any questions, contact the Student Assessment Help Desk at (512) 463-9536.