Accommodations

EQAO relies on educators to administer the assessments in accordance with EQAO guidelines and to ensure the security and validity of the assessments. All directions relating to accommodations outlined in this user guide must be adhered to whether the student is taking this assessment in an electronic format or with an alternative version.

Students with special education needs are eligible for accommodations. These accommodations should be listed in their Individual Education Plan (IEP) and used for regular classroom activities, as well as for formative and summative assessments. These accommodations, including verbatim scribing, must be documented by the school administrator in the e-assessment system under Accommodations and Alternative Version tab. Refer to the section Support for Students During the Assessment for information regarding supports for all students.

For information on how to assign an accommodation to a student, see the section Viewing and Managing Additional Accommodations for Students.

Permitted Accommodations

For all accommodations, the directions outlined in this user guide must be adhered to. Instructional materials that facilitate responses to questions cannot be used during the assessment.

Role of the School Administrator for Accommodations

The school administrator is responsible for

  • making decisions about all required student accommodations;
  • ensuring that all accommodations are provided;
  • documenting the relevant information in the e-assessment system according to the instructions in this user guide; and
  • sending an information letter to parents or guardians outlining approved accommodations.

Sample administration letters are available through the Letters, Checklist and Script section of this guide. Keep a copy on file at the school of the information letter from the school administrator to the parents or guardians.

Accommodations are permitted for students who

  • have an IEP, which outlines accommodations that are necessary for and consistent with regular classroom practices and
  • receive these accommodations for all forms of assessment.

Decisions about accommodations must be made

  • based on the directions outlined in this user guide and according to the student’s IEP;
  • so that they are consistent with regular classroom practices, including assessments;
  • prior to the assessment;
  • for each student individually; and
  • in consultationwith the studentand parents or guardians and with the appropriate teaching staff.

The following accommodations are permitted:

  • Extended periodic supervised breaks
  • Sign language or an oral interpreter
  • Additional assistive technology tools, such as Google Read & Write
  • Verbatim scribing of responses (refer to the Guidelines for Scribes section)
  • Alternative version, which contains single-selection questions only and is available in the following formats:
    • Printable PDF (regular or large print)
    • Unified English Braille (contracted and uncontracted)
    • Online including audio with and without full descriptions of all graphics
    • Audio MP3s with and without full descriptions of all graphics

The formats with full audio descriptions have been created for students with low vision. Refer to the Alternative Version of the Assessment section for more information.

To select a Braille format of the assessment follow the steps in Viewing and Managing Additional Accommodations for Students.

Note: If a Braille format is required, a school administrator must indicate in the e-assessment system that the student has an accommodation. If the alternative version of the assessment is required, the school administrator must use the link provided under the Accommodations and Alternative Version tab in the e-assessment system. EQAO requires between five and seven business days to process a request for Braille. 

Note: If a regular-print or a large-print format is required, a school administrator must indicate in the e-assessment system that the student has an accommodation and then use the link provided to request this format. EQAO requires three business days to process a request for this format.

Special Considerations

Permitted accommodations can be provided for students who are unable to participate in the assessment without these accommodations, due to special circumstances.

Special circumstances include the following:

  • Temporary or Unique Circumstance: The student has a temporary or unique circumstance that hinders or impedes the student from completing the assessment online.
  • New to the School: The student does not have an IEP, due to a recent transfer into the school from another jurisdiction. There is documentation to show that accommodations are necessary.

The school administrator should indicate the special consideration by checking off the appropriate box for the student. For more information on how to enter these accommodations refer to the section on Viewing and Managing Additional Accommodations for Students.

Decisions about accommodations for students with special circumstances must be made

  • prior to the assessment;
  • for each student individually;
  • in consultation with the student and parents or guardians and with the appropriate teaching staff; and
  • by referring to the permitted accommodations in this user guide.

Guidelines for Scribes

Students are able to work with a scribe if they have this accommodation in their IEP. Scribes can record responses directly in the e-assessment platform or if the student is approved to use the printable or Braille version of the assessment, then the scribe could also record responses on the printable version.  If the scribe records the student’s responses on the printable version, the student’s responses must be transcribed into the e-assessment platform.

Scribes must be adults and must not be relatives of the students they are assisting. Scribes should work only with students who have been identified as receiving a scribing accommodation, and they should not scribe for any other students.

Scribes must follow these guidelines:

  • Record and/or input the student’s responses to all questions exactly as directed by the student.
  • Read the responses back to the student if requested.
  • After the student has finished the questions for a stage (or session, if not online), show the student their responses and ask if any corrections are necessary.  The scribe may make corrections according to the student’s directions.

Scribes must avoid the following:

  • edit or alter the student’s responses in any way, except at the student’s request.
  • alert the student to mistakes.
  • clarify or explain any part of the assessment.
  • correct the student’s responses unless directed by the student.
  • engage in incidental conversation with the student or others.

Accessibility and Accommodation Software

The following is a list of accessibility and accommodation software that is supported by the e-assessment platform:

  • the Read&Write for Google Chrome extension
  • Kurzweil: the downloadable version
  • Kurzweil: the extensions for Firefox and Chrome
  • NVDA
  • VoiceOver
  • Read Aloud
  • Job Action with Speech (JAWS)
  • ChromeVox
  • Natural Reader

If a student requires one or more of these assistive technologies, or an assistive technology that is not listed here, please contact your school board IT representative.

Note: Variations in the pronunciation or inflection of words and phrases may occur due to the variety of software, speech engines and computer systems. Revisions may be made by the school to rectify such variations, providing that no change is made to any content. 

Using Read&Write for Google Chrome

Students who have Read&Write prescribed in their IEP may use this assistive technology to complete the assessment.

Read&Write for Google Chrome is supported by the e-assessment platform. The assessment includes various question formats (drag and drop, drop-down menu, single- and multiple-selection questions). As these questions are more interactive than those in a standard document or on a webpage, students will need to use the Read&Write Hover Speech tool to access them.

The e-assessment platform has a built-in text-to-speech tool that is designed to work with the assessment platform. If a student is less proficient with the Read&Write Hover Speech tool, the built-in text-to-speech tool may be an alternative way to meet the student’s needs.

The following videos from OSSLT show how the Read&Write Hover Speech tool can be used with the e-assessment platform.

Using Other Assistive Technology

If the student requires other assistive technology, follow the steps in Viewing and Managing Additional Accommodations for Students and select the appropriate box for each section that is required.

Note: Schools are encouraged to use the chosen assistive technology during the online sample test to ensure the technology functions appropriately for the student. If a student is using any of the assistive technologies described above, the alternative version of the assessment may be required. A school administrator must indicate in the e-assessment system that the student has an accommodation and then select the appropriate format of the alternative version of the assessment (e.g., Printable PDF, Braille). A school administrator must request this version at least 3 business days prior to administering the assessment (a Braille format must be requested 5 to 7 business days in advance).

Once approved by EQAO, the alternative version will be assigned to the student in the e-assessment platform and a link to the matching printable PDF will be emailed to the school administrator. This step is important to ensure that student responses will match the questions on the online platform, and can be transcribed properly.

Using JAWS

Students who require JAWS may use this assistive technology to complete the assessment.

JAWS is supported by the e-assessment platform.

The following videos demonstrate how to use this assistive technology with the e-assessment platform.

Updated on April 20, 2023