On September 11, 2013, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter) published the Smarter Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines which describes the accessibility features that will be available to students taking the Smarter field test this spring as well as the operational Smarter assessments starting in 2014-15. In preparation for administering the Smarter field test, ODE strongly encourages districts to closely review the Smarter Guidelines.
To help districts in their review and implementation of the Smarter Guidelines, this week Smarter released a Frequently Asked Questions document about the Guidelines. In addition, ODE has prepared a crosswalk comparing those accessibility features currently available to students for the OAKS Math, Reading, and Writing assessments with the accessibility features available for the Smarter field tests in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy (which includes Reading, Writing, and Listening). Both the new FAQ and the Crosswalk, as well the Smarter Guidelines and the Oregon Accommodations Manual, are available from ODE’s Accommodations webpage at http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=487.
When reviewing the Crosswalk, districts should take special note of the following:
- The crosswalk consists of four tabs: a comprehensive tab that shows all accessibility features available for OAKS or Smarter, a math breakout tab, an ELA breakout tab, and a definitions tab. The comprehensive, math, and ELA tabs contain color-coded comparisons of OAKS and Smarter accessibility features. Green notes accessibility features available for Smarter that are not available for OAKS; yellow notes features available for both OAKS and Smarter, but that have either stricter eligibility criteria or more restrictive application for Smarter; and red notes features available for OAKS but not for Smarter. The definitions tab of the Crosswalk provides a comparison of Oregon's and Smarter's categories and definitions.
- The terminology adopted by Smarter differs from that currently used by Oregon. Whereas OAKS accessibility features are generally categorized as allowable resources, restricted resources, or accommodations, Smarter's accessibility features are categorized as universal tools, designated supports, or accommodations. In addition, Smarter's definition of an accommodation differs from Oregon's definition.
- For Mathematics, many accessibility features currently available for OAKS as allowable resources are either not available for Smarter or are available with stricter eligibility criteria or under more restrictive circumstances.
- For English Language Arts/Literacy, some accessibility features currently available for OAKS Writing as allowable resources are not available for Smarter. In addition, no translated option is available for Smarter English Language Arts/Literacy. Districts should also note that for the Reading portion of the Smarter English Language Arts/Literacy assessment, Smarter will support text-to-speech or human-provided read-aloud for some Reading content under prescribed circumstances.