Integration with Assistive Technology

This section provides an overview of the embedded and non-embedded assistive technology resources that can be used to help students with accessibility needs complete online tests in the TDS.

Embedded assistive technology resources include the built-in test features in the TDS, such as the TTS resource. These resources can be accessed without third-party software or hardware and do not require permissive mode to be turned on in the TDS.

Non-embedded assistive technology resources are the third-party hardware and accessibility software that students use to help them complete tests in the TDS. These resources require permissive mode to be turned on in the TDS and may require additional configuration steps prior to testing.

Students who use assistive technologies with a standard web browser should be able to use those same technologies with the TDS. The best way to test compatibility with assistive technologies is to take a practice test with those technologies turned on. If they do not work, refer to the additional configuration instructions in this manual as required.

Permissive Mode

Permissive mode is a setting that allows students to use non-embedded assistive technology to complete tests in the secure browser. When permissive mode is turned on, the secure browser’s security settings will be partially lowered to allow students to use resources that would otherwise be blocked.

Permissive mode activates when the student is approved for testing. Students who have the permissive mode setting enabled should not continue with the sign-in process until the accessibility software is configured correctly.

Permissive mode is available only for computers running supported desktop Windows and Mac operating systems. When using Windows 8 and above, the task bar remains on-screen throughout the test after enabling accessibility software. However, forbidden applications are still prohibited.

When permissive mode is turned on, standard keyboard navigation in the secure browser is disabled to accommodate any potential keyboard commands associated with the assistive technology the student may be using. When permissive mode is turned off, the secure browser reoccupies the whole screen, and the student’s ability to use assistive technologies or switch between any other applications and the secure browser is suppressed. For information about standard keyboard commands in the secure browser, refer to the Keyboard Navigation for Students subtopic in the Features of Student Testing Application topic in the CAASPP Online Test Administration Manual.

Testing Using Permissive Mode

Permissive mode activates when a student is approved for testing in the TDS. A student's assistive technology should already be set up for use with the TDS when the student begins testing with permissive mode. To use accessibility software with the secure browser:

  1. Open the required accessibility software.
  2. Open the secure browser. Begin the normal sign-in process up to the TA or TE approval step.
  3. When a student is approved for testing, the secure browser allows the operating system’s menu and taskbar to appear. If the taskbar is not visible, turn off the auto hide feature.
    1. Windows: In Windows, the secure browser resizes, and the taskbar remains visible inside the test in its usual position. The student can press [Alt] + [Tab] to switch between the secure browser and accessibility applications that are allowed for use during the test session.
    2. Mac: In MacOS, the secure browser resizes, and the student can view the dock in its usual position inside the test. If the dock is set to auto hide, no resizing occurs, and the dock is only visible when the mouse moves toward the bottom of the screen. The student can press [Cmd] + [Tab] to switch between the secure browser and permitted accessibility applications.
  4. The student must immediately switch to the accessibility software that is already open on the device so that it appears over the secure browser. The student cannot select (click) within the secure browser until the accessibility software is configured
    • Windows: To switch to the accessibility software application, select the application in the task bar.
    • Mac: To switch to the accessibility software application, select the application in the dock.
  5. The student configures the accessibility software settings as needed.
  6. After configuring the accessibility software settings, the student returns to the secure browser. At this point, the student can no longer switch back to the accessibility software. If changes need to be made, the student must sign out, make the changes, and then sign in again.
  7. The student continues with the sign-in process.

Once permissive mode is turned off, the secure browser reoccupies the whole screen, and the student’s ability to use assistive technologies or switch between any other applications and the secure browser is suppressed.

ACI Technology

ACI assistive tools allow students with various impairments (such as physical and visual impairments) to interact with a computer without using a traditional mouse and keyboard setup. For instance, ACI technology such as PCEye Mini tracks students’ eye movement, while Dwell Clicker 2 allows students to use a mouse without having to press the left or right mouse buttons.

The TDS does not include any embedded ACI tools, but it supports several third-party ACI technologies. Refer to a product’s user manual or web page for detailed instructions on configuration and use.

After configuration of an ACI device, the student may test it on a practice test administered through a supported secure browser prior to using it for operational testing.

Table 1 provides a list of third-party ACI devices that can be used in the TDS. While this list includes only the devices that CAI has tested thoroughly with the secure browser, there may be additional supported ACI devices that have not yet been tested. If a student needs to use an ACI device not listed here, please test it out in a practice test first to ensure there are no issues with it.

Table 1. Third-party ACI Devices

ACI Product Supported Versions OS Requirements Additional Details
Access Switch
  • N/A
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
  • Mac 10.11–10.14
  • N/A
Dwell Clicker 2
  • 2.0.40
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
HeadMouse Nano
  • N/A
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
  • Mac 10.11–10.14
PCEye Mini with Windows Control
  • N/A
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
Swifty
  • SW2
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
  • Mac 10.11–10.14

Configuring PC Eye Mini with Windows Control on Student Devices

To configure the PC Eye Mini, it should be plugged in to a computer that uses Windows Control software and installed by following the product’s installation instructions.

For students using PC Eye Mini with Windows Control Software, the Word Prediction feature should be disabled by opening the application and navigating to SettingsKeyboard.

Configuring Dwell Clicker 2

Take the following steps to configure Dwell Clicker 2 settings:

  1. Open the application.
  2. Select the [On-screen keyboard] icon.
  3. Select the [Options] key.
  4. In the window that pops up, make sure the Use Text Prediction checkbox is not checked.

Configuring Headmouse Nano

With a SoftType Keyboard

Take the following steps to configure Headmouse Nano when using the SofType keyboard:

  1. Open the SofType application.
  2. Select View Word Bar from the menu.
  3. Make sure the Prediction radio button is not selected.

For macOS

The HeadMouse Nano on macOS can be used to mimic mouse clicking movements only in conjunction with an Access Switch device (such as an AbleNet Switch) and the regular Apple on-screen keyboard. When completing a test with a Switch, students can left click, drag and drop, double click, and right click (right-clicking would require an additional Switch).

To configure HeadMouse Nano when using the Apple on-screen keyboard, open System PreferencesKeyboardText. Then, make sure the following checkboxes are not marked:

  • Add period with double-space
  • Capitalize words automatically
  • Correct spelling automatically

Configuring Swifty: SW2

To configure Swifty Switch Access according to the student’s needs, the DIP switches listed in table 2 should be set when using Switch. After modifying DIP switch settings, unplug and replug Swifty to activate the settings.

Table 2. DIP Switch Settings for Swifty

Switch 1 Switch 2 USB Device Interface Actions
ON ON Mouse Left, Right, Middle
OFF ON Joystick Btn1, Btn2, Btn3
ON OFF Keyboard (For iPad) Enter, Space, Tab
ON OFF Keyboard 1, 2, 3

Assistive Keyboard and Mouse Input Technology

Assistive keyboard and mouse input resources provide additional support to students with physical impairments who need to use a keyboard and mouse to respond to test items. These include keyboards with larger keys, computer mice with trackballs, and other tools that facilitate access for students with limited movement abilities.

The TDS does not include any embedded assistive keyboard and mouse input resources, as these typically involve the use of special hardware. However, the TDS does support several third-party assistive keyboard and mouse input tools.

Table 3 provides a list of third-party assistive keyboard and mouse input tools that can be used to test. If a student needs to use a device not listed here, the student may test it with a practice test prior to using it for operational testing.

Table 3. Third-Party Assistive Keyboard and Mouse Input Technology

Product Version OS Requirements
Keys-U-See Keyboard
  • N/A
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
BigKeys Keyboard
  • Plus
  • XL
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
  • Mac 10.11–10.15
BigTrack2 Trackball
  • N/A
  • Windows 8.0
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016 R2
  • Mac 10.11–10.15