Mathematics Scribe

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 Description of Designated Support

This designated support allows a test administrator to record a student’s dictated mathematics scratch work and computations when a disabling condition prevents the student from accomplishing this task independently.



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

  • STAAR grades 3–8 mathematics, Algebra I, and Algebra II
  • STAAR grades 5 and 8 science and Biology
  • STAAR Spanish grades 3–5 mathematics
  • STAAR Spanish grade 5 science


 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 any accessibility features (e.g., various sizes or types of scratch paper/another workspace) or locally-approved designated supports (e.g., calculation aid) 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 scratch work and computations.


 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., 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 IAP.
  • For a student receiving special education services, the decision is made by the ARD committee based on the eligibility criteria and is documented in the student’s IEP.
  • In the case of an EL with a disability, the decision is made by the applicable group above in conjunction with the student’s 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 above.
  • After state testing, DS must be recorded in the ACCOMM. field on the student’s answer document or D in the Assessment Management System for online administrations. This indicates that an allowable designated support was made available to the student.



The test administrator may write the student’s dictated scratch work and computations onto scratch paper, a chalkboard, white board, or the space in the student’s test booklet. When a student uses a calculation aid as an allowable designated support or a required part of the test administration procedures, the test administrator may record intermediate steps.


 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. This designated support is intended for an extremely small group of students with disabilities who have a TEA-approved Accommodation Request Form. TEA will provide, with any approved Accommodation Request Form, specific guidelines about how to carry out this designated support. The role of the mathematics scribe is to record the student’s dictated scratch work and computations exactly as the student indicates. A test administrator who serves as a mathematics scribe must be trained in these guidelines so that he or she understands the boundaries of the assistance being provided.
  4. A mathematics scribe must be a trained test administrator who has signed a security oath. 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.

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