Using the DFA

Test Directions Overview

Before administering a test session, verify that the following tasks have been completed:

  • Verify the security of the testing environment prior to beginning a test session. (Refer to the Security of the Test Environment subsection of this manual.)
    • Student seats are arranged so that students cannot view each other’s answers if a test session is administered to a group.
    • All displayed instructional materials (for example, vocabulary charts, etc.) are covered or taken down.
    • “TESTING IN PROGRESS—DO NOT DISTURB” signs are posted outside of the testing room.
  • Ensure that students do not have access to digital, electronic, or manual devices (e.g., cellphones, smart watches) during testing, unless it is an approved medical support.
  • If applicable, make sure each testing device or workstation has headphones or headsets.
  • Recommended: Launch secure browsers on all testing devices before students sit down to test.

There are DFA documents in standard versions and versions for braille and visual impairment available for the following:

  • One DFA for all four domains for each grade level in kindergarten through grade two
  • DFAs by grade span for the Listening, Reading, and Writing domains (grade span three through five, grade span six through eight, grade span nine and ten, and grade span eleven and twelve)
  • A DFA for the Speaking domain only for each of the grade spans

These DFAs will be available to LEA ELPAC coordinators, site ELPAC coordinators, and ELPAC test examiners for downloading and printing in the TOMS [Resources] tab.

To ensure that all students are tested under the same conditions, the test examiner should adhere strictly to the script for administering the test unless a student is assigned the non-embedded designated support for simplified test directions. The scripts for administering the test can be found in the DFA. When asked, the test examiner should answer questions raised by students but should never help the class or individual students with specific test items. No test items can be read to any student for any domain, unless the student is assigned a read-aloud non-embedded designated support for the Writing domain.

All directions that a test examiner needs to read to students are indicated by the bolded word “SAY” and are in boxes so that they stand out from the regular text. The directions should be read exactly as they are written, using a natural tone and manner. If the test examiner makes a mistake in reading a direction, then the test examiner should stop and say, “I made a mistake. Let me say it correctly.” Then the direction should be reread.

The test examiner should try to maintain a natural classroom atmosphere during the test administration. Before each test begins, the test examiner should encourage students to do their best.

Any time a student logs on to the testing system, the test examiner should follow the DFA script.

Scoring the Speaking Domain Locally

The Speaking domain is administered one-on-one with the student and test examiner and is the only domain that is scored locally, in the moment, by the test examiner. The test examiner has two options for capturing the student’s scores in the moment. One option is to log on to the DEI before administering the Speaking domain and enter the student’s scores directly into the DEI while administering the test. The second option is to use the score sheet (figure 1) in the DFA specific to each grade level or grade span and test form, to record the student’s scores as the test is administered. This option requires the test examiner to log on to the DEI as soon as possible after the Speaking domain administration has been completed and enter the scores for the student. If this option is used, the score sheet should be kept secure until data entry. In the event the test examiner misplaces the score sheet prior to entering the scores in the DEI and cannot determine the scores from voice capture, the student’s Speaking test might require a Reset Appeal for the test examiner to recapture the student’s responses.

Student score sheet for recording Speaking domain scores

Figure 1. Speaking domain student score sheet

During the administration of the Speaking domain, the test examiner should not be concerned about the quality of the voice capture response, but instead should focus on scoring the oral response in-the-moment. Do not rerecord the student’s response. The ELPAC Data Entry Interface User Guide can be used as reference as it provides the steps that must be followed for entering student Speaking domain scores into the DEI.

Audio Capture for the Speaking Domain

During the administration of the Speaking domain, the following guidelines apply to the audio capture tool. The test examiner should score what the student says, not what is recorded.

Rerecording: If any of the following issues occur, the test examiner may continue to the next question and does not need to rerecord:

  • The test examiner forgets to record a response.
  • The test examiner records a response on the wrong question.
  • There is a red triangle in the review box when ending the test session. If the audio capture times out after two minutes, the test examiner should allow the student to complete the response and score the complete spoken response and not only what was recorded.

Headsets: Use of headsets with a microphone for voice capture is not recommended, to enable interaction between the student and test examiner.