Universal Tools

All students may access features of the assessments that are either provided as digitally delivered components of the test administration system (embedded) or separate from it (non-embedded) based on student preference and selection. For example, Global Notes is an embedded universal tool; scratch paper is a non-embedded universal tool.

Universal tools are available for the listed, approved assessments and do not change the construct of what is being assessed. Students who receive these accessibility resources will receive a valid score.

Embedded

Embedded universal tools are selected by students during testing. They also may be selected by test examiners who are entering student responses to CAA test questions on behalf of students unable to provide responses on their own in the test delivery system.

Breaks (Online Assessments)

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Students select the [Pause] button, indicated in figure 1, within the test to take a break from testing.

For the Smarter Balanced for ELA and mathematics and the CAST, the number of questions per session can be flexibly defined based on the student’s need.

Screen capture of the Breaks—Pause button that includes the Back, Next, Save, and Pause buttons, with the Pause button circled

Figure 1. Breaks—[Pause] button

  • Breaks of more than 20 minutes will prevent the student from returning to questions already attempted by the student.
  • There is no limit on the number of breaks that a student might be given.
  • The use of this universal tool may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

For the CAAs for ELA, Mathematics, and Science, the test examiner can make the decision to pause and resume the test administration if the student is no longer engaged, is not actively participating, or is showing signs of behavioral or functional concerns related to the test. The test can be paused and resumed as many times as necessary to allow the student to show what the student knows. If the choice is made to pause the test, the student can reenter and complete testing on the same day or at a later time.

For the Initial and Summative ELPAC:

  • Listening and Reading domains (but not the Speaking and Writing domains), breaks of more than 20 minutes will prevent the student from returning to questions already attempted by the student.
  • The test examiner can make the decision to pause and resume the test administration if the student is no longer engaged, is not actively participating, is showing signs of behavioral or functional concerns related to the test, or needs additional time to test. The test can be paused and resumed as many times as necessary to allow the student to show what the student knows. If the choice is made to pause the test, the student can reenter and complete testing on the same day or at a later time.

Calculator, Mathematics

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for Mathematics (grades six through eight and grade eleven)

Description:

An embedded on-screen digital calculator can be accessed for calculator-allowed questions when students select the [Calculator] button. This button, indicated in figure 2, appears when such questions are accessed.

Screen capture of the on-screen basic calculator that also shows the Calculator, Line Reader, Zoom Out, and Zoom In buttons with the Calculator button and border selection area called out

Figure 2. Basic mathematics calculator and [Calculator] button

  • This resource is available only with the specific questions for which the test’s specifications indicated that it would be appropriate.
  • When the embedded calculator, as presented for all students, is not appropriate for a student (for example, for a student who is blind), the student may use the calculator offered with assistive technology devices, such as a talking calculator or a braille calculator.
  • This universal tool is for use on calculator-allowed questions only in grades six through eight and grade eleven
  • Students who require a non-embedded calculator should be assigned to use the mathematics calculator non-embedded accommodation.
  • Students can resize the calculator by hovering over the circle with the arrows in the lower-right corner—also indicated in figure 2—until the cursor turns into a diagonal, two-headed arrow; and then using the selection means (for example, pressing and holding a mouse button) to drag the calculator’s corner to increase or decrease the size of the calculator.

Calculator, Science

Approved Assessment(s):

  • CAST

Description:

An embedded on-screen digital calculator can be accessed for calculator-allowed questions when students select the calculator button. This button, like the one indicated in figure 3, appears when such questions are accessed.

Screen capture of the on-screen scientific calculator that also shows the Calculator, Line Reader, Zoom Out, and Zoom In buttons with the Calculator button and border selection area called out

Figure 3. Scientific calculator and [Calculator] button

  • When the embedded calculator, as presented for all students, is not appropriate for a student (for example, for a student who is blind), the student may use the calculator offered with assistive technology devices, such as a talking calculator or a braille calculator.
  • This universal tool is for use by students in grade five with a basic (four-function) calculator; and grades eight, ten, eleven, and twelve with a scientific calculator.
  • Students who require a non-embedded calculator should be assigned to use the science calculator non-embedded designated support.
  • Students can resize the calculator by hovering over the circle with the arrows in the lower-right corner—also indicated in figure 2—until the cursor turns into a diagonal, two-headed arrow; and then using the selection means (for example, pressing and holding a mouse button) to drag the calculator’s corner to increase or decrease the size of the calculator.

Digital Notepad

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

This resource is used for making notes about a question. A student accesses the digital notepad by right-clicking on the test question or using the context menu (which is indicated in figure 4) and then selecting Notepad from the shortcut menu.

Screen capture of the digital notepad, with a callout around the open context menu with the Notepad option selected

Figure 4. Digital notepad

  • The digital notepad is question-specific and is available through the end of the test segment.
  • For the CAASPP, notes are not saved when the student moves on to the next segment or after a break of more than 20 minutes.
  • For the ELPAC, notes are saved after a break of more than 20 minutes on the page to which the student is returning if there are multiple items on the page.

English Dictionary (Writing)

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA

Description:

An English dictionary is available for the full write portion of an ELA PT. (A full write is the second part of a PT.)

  • A student accesses the English dictionary by selecting the [Dictionary] icon during specific test segments. This button is indicated in figure 5.

    Screen capture of the English Dictionary (Writing), with a callout around the Dictionary button. The Notes, Zoom Out, and Zoom In buttons are also visible.

    Figure 5. English dictionary

  • Students must first type a word into the field next to the Merriam-Webster® logo and then select the [Dictionary] button, also indicated, to garner a result.
  • The use of this universal tool may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

English Glossary

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA
  • Smarter Balanced for Mathematics
  • CAST

Description:

Grade- and context-appropriate definitions of specific construct-irrelevant terms are shown in English on the screen via a pop-up window. An example is shown in figure 6.

  • The student can access the embedded glossary by selecting any of the preselected terms.
  • This universal tool is for use in all ELA domains except Reading.
  • The use of this universal tool may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

    Screen capture of the English Glossary, with 'currants' defined in a separate pop-up window

    Figure 6. English glossary

Expandable Items

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Each stimulus in the left pane and question(s) in the right pane can be expanded so that it takes up a larger portion of the screen when the student selects one of the two horizontal arrows between the passage and the question(s). The arrows are indicated in figure 7.

Screen capture of the expandable items tool, with the Expandable Items button called out and the Context Menu button is also visible

Figure 7. Expandable items

  • The right arrow expands the passage or stimulus; the left arrow contracts the expanded passage or stimulus and expands the question(s). However, if the test administrator or test examiner has turned off the Expandable Passages universal tool, the student would see the left arrow—to expand the pane with the test item—only.
  • The default setting for this universal tool is On and must be turned off by the test administrator or test examiner on the Approvals and Student Test Settings screen for the student (select the [See Details] eye [Details icon; shows a line drawing of an eye] icon for a student before approving the test and then set the Expandable Items toggle to On).
  • This toggle is indicated in figure 8.

    Screen capture of Concentration Assistance Tools test settings for a sample student within the Test Administrator Interface, with the Expandable Items resource toggle is indicated

    Figure 8. Test settings in the Test Administrator Interface

  • Students should be advised that this universal tool is available.
  • For the CAAs for ELA and mathematics, the Summative ELPAC, and the Initial ELPAC, the default setting is for all items to be expandable.

Expandable Passages

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Each passage or stimulus can be expanded so that it takes up a larger portion of the screen when the student selects the [Expand] arrows icon, which is indicated in figure 9.

Screen capture with the expandable passages tool and the Context Menu button also visible

Figure 9. Expandable passages

  • Select the [Expand] arrows icon to expand the passage. The icon will appear as shown only if the Expandable Items universal tool has been turned off. If both Expandable Passages and Expandable Items are on, the test will display with two arrow buttons as shown in figure 7.
  • This universal tool expands the passage only.

Global Notes (Writing)

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA (PTs)

Description:

The global notes universal tool is a notepad that is available for ELA PTs in which students complete a full write (the second part of a PT). The student selects the [Notes] icon, indicated in figure 10, for the notepad to appear.

Screen capture of the global notes tool, including the Notes button; within the Notepad box, there is a space for taking notes and Cancel and Save and Close buttons

Figure 10. Global notes

During the ELA PTs, the notes are retained from segment to segment so that the student may go back to the notes even though the student is not able to go back to specific questions in the previous segment.

Highlighter

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Highlighter is a digital resource for marking desired text, questions, answers, or parts of these with one of four colors. Highlighted text remains available throughout each test segment. To use this tool, a student selects text and then selects Highlight Selection from the context menu (indicated in figure 11). Finally, the student selects a color. (Note that colors in the CSA are labeled in Spanish.)

Screen capture of the highlighter, with a circle around the open context menu with the Lavender option selected

Figure 11. Highlighter

Keyboard Navigation

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Navigation throughout text can be accomplished by using a keyboard, rather than a mouse or other device.

Line Reader

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

A student moves an on-screen horizontal line that surrounds each line of text with shading after selecting the [Line Reader] line button (indicated in figure 12). To move the line reader, the student selects (clicks) anywhere on the next line to be shaded or uses the arrow keys on the keyboard.

Screen capture of the line reader that shows a line of text selected by the line reader, with a circle around the Line Reader icon

Figure 12. Line Reader

  • This universal tool applies to both questions and passages.
  • Selecting an answer option with the line reader universal tool also will cause an option such as a radio button or checkbox to be selected.
  • If the student selects the “Option B” radio button in a vertical list of answer options, selecting (clicking) Option B’s text will both shade the line of text in the line reader and select that answer option as the student’s response to the test question (figure 13). Students must select a line of text away from a radio button answer option—in a passage or the test question, for example—to unselect the selected line as the focus of the line reader universal tool. However, that answer option is still selected as the student’s response unless or until the student selects a different option.

    Screen capture of training test response radio buttons with an option highlighted and selected using the line reader resource

    Figure 13. Line Reader with a radio button

  • If the student selects the first checkbox in a vertical list of answer options, selecting (clicking) the first checkbox’s text will both shade the line of text in the line reader and select that answer option as one of the student’s responses to the test question (figure 14). Students must select a line of text away from a checkbox answer option—in a passage or the test question, for example—to unselect the selected line as the focus of the line reader universal tool. However, that answer option is still selected as one of the student’s responses unless or until the student selects the checkbox to unselect it.

    Screen capture of training test response check boxes with an option highlighted and checked using the line reader resource

    Figure 14. Line Reader with a checkbox

Mark for Review

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Mark for review allows a student to flag completed test questions—that is, those to which the student already has responded—for future review during the assessment by right-clicking the question and then selecting Mark for Review from the shortcut menu or by selecting Mark for Review from the context menu (indicated in figure 15).

  • Markings are not saved when the student moves on to the next segment or after a break of more than 20 minutes.
  • Marked questions can be unmarked using the same context menu.

    Screen capture of the Mark for Review option. Other context menu options include Tutorial and Notepad.

    Figure 15. Mark for review

Figure 16 shows two questions that have been marked for review at the end of a segment. A student may select a question to return to it.

Screen capture of the end of segment dialog box displaying flagged items for review with text instructing the student to go back and review any answers.

Figure 16. Questions marked for review

Mathematics Tools

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for Mathematics
  • CAA for Mathematics
  • CAST

Description:

These digital resources (i.e., embedded ruler, embedded protractor) are used for measurements related to mathematics or science questions. They are available only with the specific questions for which the test item specifications indicate that one or more of these resources would be appropriate.

Science Charts

Approved Assessment(s):

  • CAST

Description:

Students taking the grades eight and high school CAST assessments may refer to a periodic table of elements as a universal tool in grades eight, ten, eleven, and twelve. Students taking the grade eight and high school CAST assessments may refer to a reference sheet of formulas. The science chart in figure 17 is the reference sheet that appears after the [Formulas] button has been selected.

Formulas reference sheet with the Formulas button on the testing interface called out

Figure 17. Science charts (formulas reference sheet)

Science Tools

Approved Assessment(s):

  • CAST

Description:

Students taking a CAST assessment may use a special embedded resource, if applicable, such as interactive laboratory equipment, videos, a stopwatch tool, or any combination of these to respond to a specific question.

Spanish Glossary

Approved Assessment(s):

  • CSA

Description:

Grade- and context-appropriate definitions of specific construct-irrelevant terms are shown in Spanish on the screen via a pop-up window. An example is shown in figure 18.

  • The student can access the embedded glossary by selecting any of the preselected terms.
  • The use of this universal tool may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

    Screen capture of the English Glossary, with 'currants' defined in a separate pop-up window.

    Figure 18. Spanish glossary

Spell Check

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA

Description:

Spell check is a writing tool for checking the spelling of words in student-generated responses. The [Spell Check] button on the Writing toolbar is indicated in figure 19.

Screen capture of the Writing toolbar that shows the available tools and the Spell Check button called out

Figure 19. Spell check

  • Spell check only gives an indication that a word is misspelled; it does not provide the correct spelling.
  • For ELA, spell check is bundled with other embedded writing tools for all PT full writes (planning, drafting, revising, and editing). (A full write is the second part of a PT.)
  • This resource is available only with the specific questions for which the test item specifications indicated that it would be appropriate.

Strikethrough

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Strikethrough allows students to cross out answer options. If an answer option is an image, a strikethrough line will not appear, but the image will be grayed out. Select strikethrough by right-clicking the option and then selecting Strikethrough from the shortcut menu in the context menu (figure 20). Options can be unstricken by selecting Undo Strikethrough.

Screen capture of the Strikethrough tool. Other context menu options include Tutorial, Mark for Review, and Notepad.

Figure 20. Strikethrough

Thesaurus

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA (PT)

Description:

A thesaurus contains synonyms of terms that can be accessed while a student interacts with text included in the assessment.

  • This universal tool is for use on ELA full write PTs. (A full write is the second part of a PT.)
  • A student accesses the thesaurus by selecting the [Dictionary] icon during specific test segments. This button is indicated in figure 21.

    Screen capture of the English Dictionary (Writing) with a callout around the Dictionary button and showing fields for the entries found as well as Dictionary and Thesaurus buttons

    Figure 21. English dictionary

  • Students must first type a word into the field next to the Merriam-Webster® logo and then select the [Thesaurus] button, also indicated, to garner a result.
  • The use of this universal tool may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

Writing Tools

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA
  • Smarter Balanced for Mathematics
  • CAA for ELA
  • CAST
  • Summative ELPAC
  • Initial ELPAC

Description:

Selected writing tools are available for all student-generated responses. (Also refer to spell check.) Writing tools are as follows:

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Remove Format
  • Numbered
  • Bullet
  • Outdent
  • Indent
  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Undo
  • Redo
  • Spell check (CAASPP only)
  • Language (English)
  • Insert special character

Writing tools on the Writing toolbar are shown in figure 22.

Writing toolbar, with buttons for Bold, Italics, Underline, Superscript, Numbered List, Bulleted List, Left Indentation, Right Indentation, Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, Redo, Spell Check, and Symbols; and language drop-down list

Figure 22. Writing tools

Zoom

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All (online assessments)

Description:

Zoom is a resource for making text or other graphics in a window or frame appear larger on the screen. The buttons controlling zoom are indicated in figure 23.

Screen capture of the buttons for controlling zoom, with a callout around the [Zoom Out] and [Zoom In] buttons. The [Notes] button is also visible.

Figure 23. Zoom

  • The default font size for all tests is 14 point.
  • The student can make text and graphics larger by selecting the [Zoom In] button. The student can select the [Zoom Out] button to return to the default or smaller print size. Zoom levels are shown in table 1.

Table 1. Zoom Levels

Level # Size
Level 0 No zoom, 14-point text
Level 1 1.50× zoom
Level 2 1.75× zoom
Level 3 2.00× zoom
Level 4 2.50× zoom
  • When using the zoom feature, the student changes the size of text and graphics on the current screen only, including the size of the navigation buttons. To increase the default print size so that it persists during the entire test (from 1.5× to 3× default size), the print (font) size must be set for the student as a test setting in the Test Operations Management System or set by the test administrator or test examiner prior to the start of the test. This is the only feature that test administrators and test examiners can set.
  • The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.
  • To set the zoom to a size larger than 3× default, refer to the Streamline embedded designated support.

Non-Embedded

Non-embedded universal tools are provided by the test administrator or test examiner to students at the time of testing.

Breaks (Computer-based and Paper-based Tests)

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All

Description:

Breaks, including those during testing over more than one day, between the domain sections are permitted. The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

English Dictionary (Writing)

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA

Description:

An English dictionary can be provided for the full write portion of an ELA PT. (A full write is the second part of a PT.).

The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

Highlighter

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Summative ELPAC (Writing domain for kindergarten through grade two)
  • Initial ELPAC (Writing domain for kindergarten through grade two)

Description:

Highlighter is a resource for marking desired text, questions, answers, or parts of these with a colored pen. Students are permitted to use a highlighter in the Test Book.

Mark for Review (Grade Two)

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Summative ELPAC (Writing domain for grade two)
  • Initial ELPAC (Writing domain for grade two)

Description:

Students may mark in their Test Books, including noting items for review.

Oral Clarification of Test Directions in English

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Summative ELPAC (online assessments)
  • Summative ELPAC (Writing domain for kindergarten through grade two)
  • Initial ELPAC (online assessments)
  • Initial ELPAC (Writing domain for kindergarten through grade two)

Description:

The test examiner clarifies test directions to students in English.

Scratch Paper

Approved Assessment(s):

  • All

Description:

Students may use blank scratch paper to make notes, write computations, record responses, or create graphic organizers.

  • Only plain paper or lined paper is appropriate for ELA.
  • Graph paper is required beginning in sixth grade and can be used on all mathematics assessments.
  • A whiteboard with marker may be used as scratch paper.
  • As long as the construct being measured is not impacted, assistive technology devices, including low-tech assistive technology (Math Window), are permitted to make notes. The assistive technology device needs to be consistent with the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan.
  • Access to the internet must be disabled on assistive technology devices.

CAT and the CAST:

  • All scratch paper must be collected and securely destroyed at the end of each ELA and mathematics CAT session and the CAST to maintain test security.
  • All notes on whiteboards or assistive technology devices must be erased at the end of each CAT session.

PTs:

  • For mathematics and ELA PT, if a student needs to take the PT in more than one session, scratch paper, graphic organizers, whiteboards, assistive technology devices, or any combination of these may be collected at the end of each session, securely stored, and made available to the student at the next PT testing session.
  • Once the student completes the PT, the scratch paper or graphic organizer must be collected and securely destroyed, whiteboards should be erased, and notes on assistive technology devices should be erased to maintain test security.

Test Navigation Assistant

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Summative ELPAC (online assessments)
  • Initial ELPAC (online assessments)

Description:

New arrivals and students who are unfamiliar with the test delivery device or are technology novices and do not have the necessary computer skills to participate in the computer-based ELPAC may have a trained test examiner help with mouse point-and-click and scroll bar assistance, onscreen tool or button navigation (i.e., back, next, submit, start and stop recording, play speaking, and recording), and keyboarding assistance necessary for starting the test session.

  • The test examiner is allowed to assist only with the technology as indicated by the student.
  • Test navigation assistant can be used during one-on-one or group administrations.
  • The use of keyboarding assistance in the test is not permitted.

Test navigation assistant must follow approved guidelines in the Use Scenarios document.

Thesaurus

Approved Assessment(s):

  • Smarter Balanced for ELA (PT)

Description:

A thesaurus contains synonyms of terms that can be accessed while a student interacts with text included in the assessment. The use of this universal tool may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

This resource is for use on ELA full write PTs. (A full write is the second part of a PT.)