Pear Assessment's Tools for Inclusive Assessment Accommodations
"One main struggle teachers face these days is helping students get the accommodations they need in a timely way. Typically, we would have to wait for aids, Special Education Teachers, or find a way to pull small groups out with us in order to meet the 'read aloud' accommodation of many students. This also tends to draw special attention to those students in need of this accommodation."
– Brandie Schroeder, 5th Grade Teacher, Plainfield Community Schools, IN
In the classroom, providing timely accommodations for assessments is essential to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed. Teachers like Brandie often grapple with the challenge of delivering these accommodations discreetly and effectively.
Pear Assessment (formerly, Edulastic) offers a range of tools and features that streamline the accommodation process and allow teachers to effectively provide assessment accommodations to their students – without increasing teacher workload or drawing unwanted attention to specific students.
Universal accommodation features in Pear Assessment
“Pear Assessment's read-aloud feature, which can be assigned to specific students, has been an absolute game-changer! Not only are the students able to get their accommodation instantly, but they also feel a sense of confidence now they know they can have their read-aloud directly on their assessment or assignment.” – Brandie Schroeder
Pear Assessment's universal accommodation features are designed to cater to the unique needs of students, ensuring equitable access to assessments.
Pear Assessment's read-aloud functionality enables students to have passages, assessment questions, and instructions read aloud to them. This feature allows students to play the text back as many times as needed, without a limit.
The Immersive Reader in Pear Assessment offers customizable text options, such as adjusting text appearance, translating content, and having text read aloud. This flexibility helps students process information according to their preferences and needs. Benefits of Immersive Reader include:
- Increases fluency for English Language Learners or readers of other languages
- Supports confidence building for emerging readers learning to read at a higher level
- Offers text differences to support accommodation for dyslexia or visual impairments
- Provides translation of words or passages in over 60 languages
- Accessible directly by the student
Immersive Reader is also available in Pear Assessment's state testing interface, allowing teachers to simulate a state testing environment with Immersive Reader included.
Teachers can assign extended time for specific students, accommodating those who require more time to complete assessments. This personalized approach ensures students can demonstrate their understanding without feeling rushed. Extended time can be used when assigning an assessment to an individual student, allowing for different test settings in a classroom.
Pear Assessment provides high-contrast themes to enhance visibility for students who struggle with color differentiation or prefer high-contrast displays.
The magnifying glass feature allows students to zoom in on specific parts of a question or content, making it particularly useful for complex math equations, images, or diagrams.
Depending on assessment settings, students may access an online calculator, facilitating math and science assessments.
The highlighter tool allows students to annotate and color code text in a passage.
The Scratchpad tool helps students take notes and record their key findings, thoughts, or questions while working through an assessment. Students can also access tools pertinent to displaying mathematical thinking and reasoning within the Scratchpad, including the drawing tool, various shapes, a protractor, and a ruler.
Pear Assessment's line reader tool helps students focus on one line of text at a time, reducing distractions and promoting effective reading comprehension.
Answer Eliminate (Crossout):
Pear Assessment’s Answer Eliminate tool allows students to cross out the wrong answer choices as they are moving through an assessment, removing a distractor from their focus and allowing students to analyze the remaining options.
The screen zoom tool enables users to enlarge specific portions of the screen, improving accessibility for visually impaired students.
Printed or digital tests:
Teachers can provide assessments in alternative formats, such as paper and pencil, to accommodate students who require non-digital options. This includes bubble sheets, which can be easily uploaded into Pear Assessment after a student has finished filling in a paper bubble sheet. Teachers can use the Express Grader tool to quickly grade paper assessments.
For digital assessments, teachers can easily embed reference materials and multimedia with closed captions to support and engage all students. Digital tests can be embedded into videos through Pear Assessment’s VideoQuiz.
Playback speed adjustment (for text-to-speech):
Students can adjust the Text-to-Speech speed to suit their preferences, making content more accessible.
Adjustable text size (created in the test):
Pear Assessment allows students to customize text size within the platform, ensuring they can comfortably read the content.
Using question types and student groups for accommodations
“Another key feature of Pear Assessment that might be overlooked is the fact it's online. One of the things I have noticed over the years is students are more reluctant to write down their thoughts simply due to not liking writing. Using the essay question type in my assessments and practice has allowed me to see what my students are truly capable of as writers. Where they would just write out bullet points or incomplete sentences on their papers, I now notice they are constructing paragraphs and answering the questions completely.
I also like the added feature of having spell-check for students as they are typing out their responses. Not only does Pear Assessment provide this way of helping resistant writers get their ideas out, but they have just recently added an "Audio Response" question type*. No more fighting with students to get their answers or ideas out if they are reluctant writers!” – Brandie Schroeder
Pear Assessment goes beyond universal accommodations, offering flexible question types and student grouping capabilities that enable teachers to provide targeted support.
Teachers can adjust question types to move beyond standard multiple-choice or constructed-response formats by including options such as audio response questions, drag and drop, and matching questions. This flexibility empowers educators to tailor assessments to students' unique needs, ensuring they can showcase their understanding effectively.
Moreover, Pear Assessment allows teachers to use student groups to assign specific assessments and view data reports sorted by groups. This feature facilitates differentiation and scaffolding, as teachers can provide different assessments to groups of students discreetly. This approach ensures a level playing field and eliminates the potential stigma associated with accommodations.
*Audio Response is a district-level setting. Please check with your district to access this setting on Pear Assessment.
Pear Assessment's commitment to inclusive assessments
Pear Assessment is committed to fostering inclusive education, and it's evident in our platform's comprehensive accommodation features. By offering a wide array of universal accommodations, flexible question types, and student grouping capabilities, Pear Assessment empowers teachers like Brandie Schroeder to meet their students' diverse needs effectively.
With Pear Assessment, teachers can ensure every student has the opportunity to shine in assessments while feeling confident and included in the learning process.
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