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PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual July 25, 2013 First Edition Release. Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). * Accurate as of 7/25/2013. What’s Included in the Manual.

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partnership for assessment of readiness for college and careers parcc
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)

* Accurate as of 7/25/2013

what s included in the manual
What’s Included in the Manual
  • The first edition of the PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual is a comprehensive policy document that will support local educators in the selection, administration, and evaluation of accommodations for the assessment of students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities on the computer-delivered PARCC Mid-Year, Performance-Based, and End-of-Year Assessments.
  • The manual provides educators with information on the accommodations which, when used on the PARCC End-of-Year, Performance-Based-Assessment, and Mid-Year assessment, will result in a valid score for a student.
still to come
Still to Come
  • Manual is a proposed policy document, so full administrative guidance is not included in the document at this time.
  • Fall 2013, PARCC states and key stakeholders will review and vet a number of appendices to the manual which will be designed to support states and districts in the implementation of the policies.
  • Additional supports coming fall 2013:
    • PARCC Test Administration Manual
    • PARCC Style Guide
    • PARCC Assistive Technology Guidelines
    • PARCC Translation Policy
    • Online professional development module on accommodations policies
    • State-level professional development on selecting, administering, evaluating, and monitoring accommodations
  • Accommodations policies for the Speaking & Listening and Diagnostic Assessments
first edition of the manual
First Edition of the Manual
  • First edition represents best thinking of the PARCC states to date, in consultation with PARCC’s state expert working groups on accessibility, accommodations and fairness; technology; ELA/literacy; and mathematics, as well as national experts.
  • First edition has been shaped by three rounds of public comment, synthesis of current research, stakeholder meetings, and PARCC state development.
  • Future editions will be drafted based on upcoming field tests, targeted research studies, and operational testing.
  • Focus is on accessibility and accommodations for computer-delivered PARCC Mid-Year, Performance-Based, and End-of-Year Assessments in Mathematics & ELA/Literacy.
development review
Development & Review
  • Manual was developed and reviewed over the past year through an iterative process involving the following groups:
    • State experts serving on the PARCC Accommodations, Accessibility and Fairness Operational Working Group;
    • K-12 PARCC State Leads;
    • Additional state agency experts (including special education and English learner experts);
    • External experts, including English learner expert Lynn Shafer Willner, the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) and the PARCC Technical Working Groups on Equity, English Learners and Students with Disabilities;
    • National advocacy groups for students with disabilities, English learners, and equity and fairness; and
    • Staff from PARCC’s project management partner, Achieve.
parcc comprehensive accessibility policies
PARCC Comprehensive Accessibility Policies

* Available to all participating students

**For students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities

accessibility features for all students
Accessibility Features for All Students
  • Tool, support, scaffold, or preference that is built into the assessment system that can be activated by any student, at his or her own discretion.
  • Universal Design features expected to benefit a diverse array of students and are available to all students.
  • Provided onscreen, stored in a toolbar, or are accessible through a menu or control panel, as needed.
  • During the assessment, students can choose which accessibility features they need for specific items. Examples include: audio amplification, highlighting, pop-up glossary, etc.
accessibility features identified in advance
Accessibility Features Identified in Advance
  • Availableto all students (i.e., not limited to students with IEPs, 504 plans, or English learners), but will be selected and “turned on” by school-based educators prior to the assessment, based on each student’s Personal Needs Profile (PNP).
  • Based on each student’s individual needs, a PNP is created for the student to ensure that he or she receives appropriate access without the distraction of other tools and features that are not required by the student.
  • Although school-based educators will enable specific accessibility features for students, the student will decide whether or not to use the feature. These accessibility features will be readily available on the computer-delivered testing platform.
administrative considerations for all students
Administrative Considerations for All Students
  • Detailed guidelines on the administration of the PARCC assessments will be included in the PARCC Test Administration Manual.
  • Principals may determine that any student may require one or more of the following test administration considerations, regardless of the student’s status as a student with a disability or who is an English learner:
    • Small group testing
    • Frequent breaks
    • Time of day
    • Separate or alternate location
    • Specified area or seating
    • Adaptive and specialized equipment or furniture


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

response accommodations
Response Accommodations

* See notes below

unique emergency accommodations
Unique/Emergency Accommodations
  • A small number of students may require additional accommodations either because they are not listed in the PARCC manual, or they do not have an IEP or 504 plan but require an accommodation as a result of a recently-occurring accident or illness.
  • PARCC states will review requests for unique accommodations in their respective states on an individual basis and will provide approval after determining whether the accommodation would result in a valid score for the student, using guidelines comparable across PARCC states.
proposed guidance on selecting accommodations for english learners
Proposed Guidance on Selecting Accommodations for English Learners
  • When selecting accommodations for English learners, consider the student’s:
    • . Level of English language proficiency (ELP) on the state ELP test
      • Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced
    • . Literacy development in the native language
      • Native language literacy
      • Interrupted schooling/literacy background
    • . Background factors that impact effective accommodations use
      • Grade/age
      • Affective filter (i.e., level of student anxiety/comfort with English)
      • Time in U. S. schools
accommodations for english learners
Accommodations for English Learners

KEY for Table 5 below:

•Highly recommended for use by English learners at this English language proficiency level

Recommended for use by English learners at this English language proficiency level

May not be appropriate for students at this ELP level

major themes from the three public comment periods
Major Themes from the Three Public Comment Periods
  • Audience and purpose of manual
  • Which students are eligible for accommodations?
  • Who selects accommodations?
  • Conditions for provision of accommodations
  • How accommodations differ from accessibility features
  • Purpose of the “personal needs profile”
  • How accommodations interact with IEP and construct validity
  • Impact of accommodations on students and instruction
  • Degree of specificity of policies and student criteria
  • School technology readiness
  • Clarify the research basis for English learner accommodations
  • Differing feedback on level of restrictiveness of calculator, reading access, and writing access accommodations
parcc responses to public comments
PARCC Responses to Public Comments
  • Clarified the audience and purpose of the manual
  • Detailed the accessibility features intended for all students, and accommodations intended for students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities
  • Strengthened the section on accommodations selection by IEP teams, 504 plan teams, and English learner educators
  • Revised the decision-making guidelines for calculator, reading access, and writing access accommodations, and clarified construct validity for students who receive them
  • Conducted a thorough legal review
  • Provided additional guidance on the decision-making process for English learner students
  • Strengthened student-first language throughout the document
  • Explained the function of the “personal needs profile” and process for selecting accessibility features
  • Met with stakeholder and advocacy groups to discuss final draft prior to release
  • Partnered with leaders in assistive technology to plan for guidelines in the fall 2013 manual release.
  • For additional information about PARCC, please check out the website:
  • Want to be the first to know about PARCC releases? Sign up for our newsletter here:
  • Policy questions: Please contact Danielle Griswold ([email protected]) with any questions relating to the content of the first edition of the PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual.
  • Media questions: Please contact Chad Colby ([email protected]) with questions relating to communications and/or PARCC.