ELPAC Student Accessibility Resources

Students with specific learning needs may require accessibility resources to fully engage and demonstrate mastery of content during instruction and on assessments. To better serve them, the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) provides a wide range of resources to ensure that the administration of the test meets the needs of all students, including those with disabilities.

Teachers are encouraged to review these resources early in the school year and provide opportunities for students to experience them throughout the year in classroom instruction and assessment. Some resources are embedded into the technology platform for computer-administered tests. Others are considered non-embedded, since they are provided by the local educational agency (LEA).

Student Accessibility and Test Settings Resources

Translated Test Directions

Descriptions of ELPAC Student Accessibility Resources

The following tables identify the three different categories of student accessibility resources and describe the resources that are available on the ELPAC in each category:

Universal Tools

Universal tools are available to all students based on student preference.

Universal ToolDelivery ModeEmbeddedNon-embeddedDescription
Breaks Paper and computer Yes Yes Breaks, including testing over more than one day, between the domain sections are permitted. The use of this universal tool may require students needing more overall time to complete the assessment.
Digital notepad Computer Yes No This tool is used for making notes about an item. The digital notepad is item-specific and available through the end of the test segment.
Expandable items Computer Yes No Each item can be expanded so that it takes up a larger portion of the screen.
Expandable passages Computer Yes No Each passage or stimulus can be expanded so that it takes up a larger portion of the screen.
Highlighter Paper and computer Yes Yes Paper: Use of a highlighter in the test book for grades two through twelve is permitted.
Computer: The highlighter is also a digital tool for marking desired text, item questions, item answers, or parts of these with a color.
Keyboard navigation Computer Yes No Navigation through text can be accomplished by using a keyboard (using the function keys instead of a mouse).
Line reader (grades 3–12) Paper and computer Yes Yes Paper: The student can use a paper line reader.
Computer: The student uses an onscreen tool to assist in reading by raising and lowering the tool for each line of text on the screen.
Mark for review (grades 2–12) Paper and computer Yes Yes Paper: Students may mark in their test books, including noting items for review (highlighters) for grades two through twelve, and (non-highlighters) for grades three through twelve.
Computer: Allows students to flag items for future review during the assessment.
Oral clarification of test directions by the test examiner in English Paper and computer No Yes The test examiner provides clarification of test directions to students in English.
Scratch paper Paper and computer No Yes Scratch paper to make notes or record responses is allowable. Only plain or lined paper is appropriate. Assistive technology devices are permitted to make notes.
Strikethrough (Grades 3-12) Paper and computer Yes Yes Paper: Students may use pencils in their test books to strike through images or options.
Computer: Allows users 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.
Test navigation assistant Computer No Yes New arrivals, 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. The test navigation assistant can be used during one-on-one or group administrations. The use of keyboarding assistance in the test is not permitted.
The test navigation assistant must follow approved guidelines.
Writing tools (grades 3–12) Computer Yes No Selected writing tools (i.e., bold, italic, bullets, undo, and redo) are available for all student-generated responses.
Zoom (in or out) Computer Yes No 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. When using the zoom feature, the student only changes the size of text and graphics on the current screen.

Designated Supports

Designated supports are available to all students when determined for use by an educator or team of educators (with parent/guardian and student input, as appropriate) or specified in the student’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan.

Designated SupportDelivery ModeEmbeddedNon-embeddedRecommendations for Use
Amplification Paper and computer No Yes Students may use amplification assistive technology (e.g., headphones, FM System, noise buffers, white noise machines) to increase the volume provided in the assessment platform. Use of this resource likely requires a separate setting. If the device has additional features that may compromise the validity of the test (e.g., internet access), the additional functionality must be deactivated to maintain test security.
American Sign Language (ASL) or Manually Coded English Paper and computer No Yes Students who are deaf or hard of hearing and who typically use Manually Coded English can have the test directions signed to them.
Color contrast Computer Yes Yes Students with attention difficulties may need this resource for viewing test content. It also may be needed by some students with visual impairment or other print disabilities (including learning disabilities). Choice of colors should be informed by evidence that color selections meet the student’s needs.
Color overlay Paper and computer No Yes Students with attention difficulties may need this resource to view test content. This resource may also be needed by some students with visual impairment or other print disabilities (including learning disabilities). Choice of color should be informed by evidence of those colors that meet the student’s needs.
Designated interface assistant (DIA) Computer No Yes This designated support is available to students who are technology novices and have limited keyboarding skills that prevent them from responding. The DIA is available to help the student interact with, or type, their hand-written responses on the test platform. The DIA support should only be used during one-on-one administration.
Magnification Paper and computer No Yes Students with visual impairment or other print disabilities may use this designated support to adjust the size of specific areas of the screen or test book (e.g., text, formulas, tables, graphics, and navigation buttons) with an assistive technology device. Magnification allows increasing the size to a level that meets the student’s visual needs. The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.
Masking Paper and computer Yes Yes Students with attention difficulties may need to mask content not of immediate need or that may be distracting during the assessment. This resource also may be needed by students with print disabilities (including learning disabilities) or visual impairment.
Medical supports (e.g. glucose monitor) Paper and computer No Yes Educators should follow local policies regarding medical supports and ensure students’ health is the highest priority. Electronic medical support settings must restrict access to other applications or the test examiner must closely monitor the use of the medical support to maintain test security. Use of electronic medical supports may require a separate setting to avoid distractions to other test takers and to ensure test security.
Mouse pointer (size and color) Computer Yes No Students with visually impairment who need additional enlargement or a mouse pointer in a different color to more readily find their mouse pointer on the screen will benefit from the mouse pointer resource. Students who have visual perception challenges will also find this beneficial. The size and color are set during registration and cannot be changed during the administration of the assessment. Students should have ample opportunity to practice during daily instruction with the size and color to determine student preference. The mouse pointer can be used with the zoom universal tool. If students are using a magnification program (refer to designated support, magnification), the enlarged mouse pointer is built into magnification programs and the mouse pointer may not be needed.
Noise buffers Paper and computer No Yes The student (not groups of students) wears equipment to reduce environmental noises. Students may have these testing variations if regularly used in the classroom. Students who use noise buffers will need headphones unless they are tested individually in a separate setting.
Pause or replay audio—Listening domain Paper and computer Yes Yes Students who may need the audio to slow down or stop momentarily may have the audio presentation in the Listening domain paused or replayed during the administration of the test questions.
Pause or replay audio—Speaking domain Paper and computer Yes Yes Students who may need the audio to slow down or stop momentarily may have the audio presentation in the Speaking domain paused or replayed during the administration of the test questions in the Summarize an Academic Presentation task.
Print on demand Computer No Yes Some students with disabilities, newcomers, or students with limited or no experience viewing text on a computer screen may need paper copies of either passages and stimuli or items. A very small percentage of students should need this designated support. The use of this designated support may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment.
Read aloud for items (Writing domain) Paper and Computer No Yes Students who are struggling readers may need assistance accessing the assessment by having all or portions of the assessment read aloud, or the test examiner may allow the student to read aloud. This resource also may be needed by students with reading-related disabilities. The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.
Separate setting (e.g., most beneficial time, special lighting or acoustics, adaptive furniture) Paper and computer No Yes Students who are easily distracted (or may distract others) in the presence of other students, for example, may need an alternate location to be able to take the assessment.
Simplified test directions Paper and computer No Yes Students who need oral clarification of the test directions in English may benefit from this resource. Students who need this resource may benefit from testing in a separate setting to avoid distracting other test takers.
Streamline Computer Yes No Streamline may benefit a small number of students who have specific learning or reading disabilities or a visual impairment that have been identified through an IEP. In streamline, the text is presented in a more sequential format. Students should have familiarity interacting with items in a streamline format.
Translated test directions Paper and computer No Yes Students who have limited English language skills (whether or not designated as English learners [ELs] or ELs with disabilities) can use the translated test directions. In addition, a biliterate adult trained in the test administration manual can read the test directions to the student. The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.
Turn off any universal tool(s) Computer Yes No Students who are easily distracted (whether or not designated as having attention difficulties or disabilities) may be overwhelmed by some of the universal tools. Knowing which specific tools may be distracting is important for determining which tools to turn off.

Accommodations

Accommodations must be permitted to all eligible students if specified in the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan.

AccommodationDelivery ModeEmbeddedNon-embeddedRecommendations for Use
Alternate response options Computer No Yes Students who have some physical disabilities (including both fine motor and gross motor skills) may need to use the alternate response options accommodation. Some alternate response options are external devices that must be plugged in and compatible with the assessment delivery platform.
Alternate response options (i.e., adapted keyboards, large keyboards, Sticky Keys, Mouse Keys, Filter Keys, adapted mouse, touch screen, head wand, and switches. Paper No Yes Use of an assistive device that does not interfere with the independent work of the student. Student responses must be transcribed into the Answer Book by the test examiner or scribe.
ASL or Manually Coded English Paper and computer Yes Yes Some students who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) and who typically use ASL or Manually Coded English may need this accommodation when accessing text-based content in the assessment. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment. For many students who are DHH, viewing signs is the only way to access information presented orally. It is important to note, however, that some students who are hard of hearing will be able to listen to information presented orally if provided with appropriate amplification and a setting in which extraneous sounds do not interfere with clear presentation of the audio presentation in a listening test.
In the current ELPAC regulations, ASL or Manually Coded English is approved for use as an accommodation on the Listening, Speaking, and Writing domains for both the presentation of, and students’ responses to, the test questions. Special administrative considerations may be needed for the Initial and Summative ELPAC administrations for students in kindergarten through grade two and new arrivals at any grade level. Note that if a student using an embedded ASL accommodation responds using ASL, an ASL interpreter would need to be appropriately scribed and recorded into the test delivery system.
Audio transcript (includes braille transcript) Paper and computer Yes Yes Some students who are DHH may have difficulty hearing the listening portion of the passage and also do not have enough functional vision to read the closed captioning provided for the passage. These students who are visually impaired or blind and DHH, and who use braille may have access to braille transcripts. These students must be registered in the Test Operations Management System, for both braille and closed captioning. In addition, this includes the use of written scripts by a test examiner for students when streamed audio is not available. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.
Braille (embossed and refreshable) Computer Yes Yes Students with visual impairment may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment. If a student’s language or presentation are set to braille, there are no additional settings that need to be provided in order for embossing to be available.
Braille Paper No Yes Students with visual impairment and whose IEP or Section 504 plan require the use of paper versions require them under the following conditions:
  • If students cannot access the assistive technology for refreshable braille presentation
  • If embossers needed to print test content on demand are needed for the administration of the computer-based ELPAC
Breaks Paper and computer No Yes Students with disabilities may need to take breaks during the ELPAC domain level test administrations. Extended breaks in the middle of a domain level test administration are allowed as an accommodation for students with disabilities who have a documented need. The ELPAC test examiner may need to introduce special administrative considerations to support students needing this resource.
Closed captioning Computer Yes No Students who are DHH and who typically access information presented via audio by reading words that appear in synchrony with the audio presentation may need this resource to access audio content. For many students who are DHH, viewing words (sometimes in combination with reading lips and ASL or Manually Coded English) is how they access information presented orally. It is important to note, however, that some students who are hard of hearing will be able to listen to information presented orally if provided with appropriate amplification and a setting in which extraneous sound do not interfere with clear presentation of the audio presentation in the Listening domain.
Large-print special form (as requested) Paper No Yes Students with visual needs who cannot use the zoom or magnification resource on the computer-based ELPAC can request printed large-print test books, Answer Books, and examiner manuals. LEAs will need to request preapproval to qualify for these printed materials.
Scribe Paper and Computer No Yes Students who have documented significant motor or processing difficulties, or who have had a recent injury (such as a broken hand or arm) that make it difficult to produce responses may dictate their responses to a human who records, verbatim, what they dictate according to scribing guidelines. The use of this resource may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.
A trained scribe may transcribe the students’ responses into the Answer Book or testing interface. The scribe must follow the recommended scribe protocol approved by the CDE.
Speech-to-text Paper and Computer No Yes Students who have motor or processing disabilities (such as dyslexia) or who have had a recent injury (such as a broken hand or arm) that make it difficult to produce text or commands using keys may need alternative ways to work with computers. Students will need to be familiar with the software and have had many opportunities to use it prior to testing. Speech-to-text software requires that the student go back through all generated text to correct errors in transcription, including use of writing conventions; thus, prior experience with the accommodation is essential. If students use their own assistive technology devices, all assessment content should be deleted from these devices after the test for security purposes.
For many of these students using voice recognition software is the only way to demonstrate their composition skills. Still, use of speech-to-text does require that students know writing conventions and that they have the review and editing skills required of students who enter text via the computer keyboard. It is important that students who use speech-to-text also be able to develop planning notes via speech-to-text and view what they produce while composing via speech-to-text.
Text-to-speech (Listening, Speaking, Writing) Computer Yes No This accommodation is appropriate for a very small number of students. Students who use text-to-speech will need headphones unless tested individually in a separate setting. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional time to complete the assessment.
Word processor (Writing domain)
(grades 3–12)
Paper No Yes Students who use word processing software for their responses on the Writing domain for grades three through twelve must have spelling and grammar check turned off.

In addition, unlisted resources are non-embedded supports which may be provided if specified in eligible students individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan and if they do not change the construct of what is being measured. Use will be granted only upon approval by the California Department of Education (CDE). Requests for unlisted resource may be submitted via the Test Settings tab in TOMS.

To preview these accessibility resources in the test delivery system, visit the CAASPP Embedded Universal Tools, Designated Supports, and Accommodations Video Tutorials web page. Note: The following are classification differences between ELPAC and CAASPP accessibility resources to be aware of when viewing the videos:

  • Breaks are considered a universal tool or an accommodation on ELPAC but only a universal tool on CAASPP
  • Print-on-demand is a designated support on ELPAC but an accommodation on CAASPP
  • Scribe and text-to-speech are considered accommodations on ELPAC but can be designated supports or accommodations on CAASPP