Monday, November 10, 2014

OAKS Practice Test: Get to Know the Accessibilty Features

OAKS Assessment features fall under three categories: Universal Tools, Designated Supports and Accommodations. Some are embedded within the online tesing software and others are non-embedded external supports. Here are the differences:
Universal Tools are accessible to everyone. Designated Supports are accessible to all students, but only by agreement of a team of educators working with the parent/guardian. Accommodations are only available to students when they are listed on the student's 504 or IEP. 
Embedded Designated Supports and Accommodations must be set in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) prior to starting a test session.

OAKS Resources:

You can take a practice test  and try the accessibility features.
1.) Use a secure browser download from the Oaks Portal download button or the resources area/secure browsers tab in either the student or test administrator areas.  
2.) Select the practice test from the OAKS portal as a guest user in a guest session. Next, select the grade level and the test (CA=Computer Adaptive; PT=Performance Task). Finally, choose the tools/supports and accommodations a student might need. This will help to familiarize yourself with how they work. (If you don't open a practice test within a pre-downloaded secure browser you will not have access to all the embedded tools). 

Daily Application to Academics
It is important that the student uses tools that are already integrated for daily academic accommodations. Make sure they have plenty of chances to practice using the tools so they are comfortable with them before taking an actual test. If possible, utilize apps or software that closely miror what is used in the online tests so they can make an easy jump to using the tools for testiing.

Speech to Text
Educators asks about speech to text tools in the OAKS/Smarter Balanced online test environment. At this point there is no embedded speech to text tool within the testing software. The manual states that students are allowed speech to text assistive technology software as a non-embedded accommodation. You can read guidelines for Speech to Text in the Oregon Accessibility Manual pdf (November 2014 link) on pages 24 and 130. A scribe is listed as well for speech to text in that it is a human rather than software doing the writing. The Scribing Protocol for Smarter Balanced Assessments should be followed for "speech to text" with a human scribe as defined on page 130 in the Oregon Accessibility Manual.

Setting up a Practice Test as a Test Administrator (TA)
To be able to use Dragon Naturally Speaking as a software component in the OAKS Smarter Balanced testing, the test must be set up in permissive mode (which allows outside software to "talk" to and enter data within the test.). To practice setting up and using this feature, you must download the secure browser and do a practice test. Rather than signing in as a guest, you need to log in a "fake student" that the TIDE vendor (American Institutes  of Research) (AIR) has set up for the purpose of practice. There is one set up for each grade level so that you can select access in permissive mode and try speech to text. These students will work with the practice tests that are currently deployed on the OAKS portal. With permissive mode turned on, AIR does not block any assistive technology that the student is using. Contact your district test coordinator for further information on accessing these student ID's, and setting up practice tests.

Realistic Simulation
In order to make the practice testing as realistic as possible, you should set up a proctored test session with the TA (Test Administrator) on one computer and the "fake student practice test" on another. You will need to be authorized in the system as a TA to do this. If you have a TA log in, click on "Test Administrator" and then "Training Site" on the OAKS Portal to get to the TA training site to log in and set up the TA session.
Note: Permissive mode only works on the Smarter Balance tests, so make sure you are practicing this with a Smarter Balanced Math or ELA test. It won't work on the Oregon tests (science, social sciences or ELPA.