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​Guidelines for Administering the PSSA for Students with the Mixed-Mode Response Accommodation

In accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Accommodation Guidelines, students who will benefit from online testing but have limited or no capacity for extended keyboarding are allowed to use the mixed-mode response accommodation. Students who use this accommodation because they are unable to type their own open-ended response(s) into the online version of the test but are able to handwrite a response must respond to all multiple choice questions online and must respond to open-ended questions on the paper booklet using their own handwriting. This is allowable for both non-IEP and IEP students.
 
The guidelines below should be followed by the Test Administrator to administer an online and paper exam within the same session.
 

Preparation

  • Students using the Mixed-Mode accommodation should be in a separate small-group setting from the general testing population.
  • Students participating in a mixed-mode administration must complete each section of the assessment in the order of the sequenced items.
    • To clarify, students must complete the online multiple-choice items and the paper open-ended items for a single section in the order they are presented before proceeding to the next section.
  • If a mixed-mode administration is given to a group of students, Test Administrators must be aware that students will complete the online multiple-choice items at different rates and must have a plan for managing the group’s transition to the open-ended items in the paper booklets.
  • Test Administrators assigned to a mixed-mode administration should have a copy of the Directions for Administration Manuals for both the online assessment and the paper assessment.
  • The School Assessment Coordinator or designee must mark the accommodation “Mixed Mode: Multiple-choice items completed online; open-ended items completed in the answer booklet” on both the student’s answer booklet and the student’s eDIRECT record.
    • The accommodation must be selected in eDIRECT prior to printing the student’s online test ticket.
    • When this accommodation is selected,
      • Any open-ended responses recorded online will not be scored.
      • Any multiple-choice responses recorded in the paper booklet will not be scored.
  • It is imperative that School Assessment Coordinators and Test Administrators confirm that the Form Number printed on the student’s online test ticket matches the Form Number on the student’s paper answer booklet.
  • The paper answer booklet must be returned with the student’s precode label or a District/School Label for the open-ended response to be scored.
    • When using District/School Labels, the student’s first name, last name, PAsecureID, and date of birth must be bubbled exactly as they appear on the test session roster. If the student information on the answer booklet does not match the student’s eDIRECT record, DRC will not be able to merge the two tests and the student will not get the correct score.

Administering the Assessment

  • The Test Administrator should begin the session by addressing the procedures related to the use of paper booklets for responding to open-ended items.
    • The Test Administrator should read aloud the scripted directions from Part III of the Directions for Administration Manual, including all of the “Getting Started with the Assessment” instructions and the text related to open-ended items in the “Administer Section 1” portion of Part III of the paper administration manual.
      • Test Administrators should skip any instructions related to the procedures for answering multiple-choice items in the paper booklets.
    • After confirming that the students understand the specific directions for responding to open-ended items, the Test Administrator should turn the students’ attention to the online test.
  • Next, the Test Administrator should read aloud the scripted directions from Part IV of the Directions for Online Administration Manual, including all of the “Start the Assessment – Code of Conduct for Test Takers” instructions.
    • After all students have completed the Code of Conduct, the Test Administrator should continue with the scripted directions related to multiple-choice items in the “Administer [subject] – Section 1” portion of Part IV of the online administration manual.
      • The Test Administrator should skip any instructions related to the procedures for answering open-ended items in the online test.
  • After confirming that the students understand the specific directions for responding to multiple-choice items, the Test Administrator should let the students start Section 1 of the online test.
  • When a student has completed the multiple-choice responses, he/she should immediately receive instruction to begin the open-ended items for Section 1.
    • For Grades 4-8, the student may need to reference test items and passages to complete the open-ended items; therefore, the student should not exit the online test until the entire exam is completed. After the student is completed with both the multiple-choice and open-ended responses, the student should exit the online test and close his/her answer booklet.
    • For Grade 3, the student should exit the online test by selecting the End Test button and begin the open-ended items in the answer booklet.
  • When all students have completed the exam, the Test Administrator should follow the instructions in the Directions for Administration Manual for ending a test session and collecting the secure materials.
  • For all subsequent sections of an assessment, the same steps as described above must be followed for the administration. The only variance will be that the “Getting Started with the Assessment” instructions from the administration manuals should only be addressed before the first section.

If there are any questions regarding these guidelines or the mixed-mode accommodation, contact PDE at 717-787-4234 or DRC’s customer service at 800-451-7849.