Sonoma County Office of Education

Data & Assessment

Accessibility Supports for Smarter Balanced Assessments

Smarter Balanced Assessments acknowledge that individuals may access and express information differently. This page offers information and resources to support educators in their work thinking about universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations as part of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Further details on these areas can be found at the California Department of Education Matrix One site and the Smarter Balanced Consortium Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines

A new CAASPP video resource for 2017 is provided here with examples of selected accommodations. More detailed information on accessibility are described by representatives from the California Department of Education and Educational Testing Services in this 57 minute video created on November 16, 2016.

In addition, the Centinela Valley Union High School District has created a number of YouTube videos demonstrating selected Universal Access tools. Access the videos here.

Helpful Graphics

Click on each image below to expand.

   ELA                                 Math                                   NGSS

Universal Tools

Universal Tools are available for all pupils. Pupils may turn the support(s) on/off when embedded as part of the technology platform for the computer-administered CAASPP tests.

Embedded Non-embedded
English dictionary Breaks
Calculator (grades 6-8, 11) Scratch paper
Expandable passages Thesaurus (ELA full write)
Highlighter English dictionary (ELA full write)
Keyboard navigation  
Mark for review  
Writing Tools  

Designated Supports

All pupils shall be permitted the following designated supports on the CAASPP tests, when determined for use by an educator or group of educators or specified in a pupil’s IEP or Section 504 Plan. An English learner shall be permitted the following designated supports on the CAASPP tests when determined for use by an educator or group of educators, who may seek input from a parent(s) or guardian(s).

Embedded Non-embedded
Color Contrast Bilingual dictionary (writing)
Masking Noise Buffers
Text to speech (ELA/math items & math stimuli) Read aloud (ELA/math items, math stimuli, Spanish stacked)
Spanish stacked translation and translated test directions (math) Scribe (reading, listening, math)
Turn off any universal tools Separate setting



For the CAASPP System, eligible pupils shall be permitted to take the tests with accommodations if specified in the pupil’s individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan.

Embedded Non-embedded
American Sign Language (math, ELA listening) Alternate response options
Braille Multiplication table (grades 4-8, 11)
Closed captioning (listening) Read aloud (ELA passages, primary language)
Streamlining Print on demand
Text to speech (ELA passages) Scribe (ELA writing, primary language)


Thinking about the integration of SBAC accessibility supports into daily instructional practices, Educational Testing Services and the California Department of Education provide a, "Resources & Practices Comparison Crosswalk," in Appendix H of the 2016 CAASPP Test Administration Manual. Access the Comparison Crosswalk here.


Individual Student Assessment Accessibility Profile (ISAAP) Tool
The 2016-17 ISAAP Tool (xlms) is an optional resource designed to help school teams plan and activate designated supports and accommodations with the SBAC. It will produce online student settings files that can be uploaded directly into TOMS. This CAASPP Accessibility and Accommodations Video from December 16, 2015 offers information and a demonstration of the ISAAP for district and school teams.

The seven-step process offered below is one method schools can use in conjunction with the ISAAP Tool for planning accessibility supports.

  1. Select key staff members who will be involved and define their roles.
  2. Provide information and training to staff, information to parents, and information and training to students as appropriate.
  3. Identify students who may benefit from designated supports.
  4. Select the appropriate supports and accommodations for each student.
  5. Enter designated supports and accommodations into TOMS.
  6. Perform a pre-administration check to verify they are correct.
  7. Check for delivery of the assigned designated supports and accommodations at the time of the test.