Audio Support and Star Math/Star Math Spanish Assessments

Is audio available for all items in Star Math/Star Math Spanish?

All items in the Star Math and Star Math Spanish item banks have some aspect of audio support available. The following are examples of the types of audio support provided:

  • Audio support is available for items in which the question (or stem) involves reading or for items with difficult words. If a stem is a simple question, for example, "2 + 1 = ", the audio will state, "Choose the best answer."
  • Labels and information in tables and graphics will not be read aloud. Text above or below a graphic or math expression that is part of the stem will have audio.
  • Answer choices will be read if they contain a text that would pose significant difficulty for struggling readers.
  • For items that require labeling an object, the stem may not be read aloud. That's because in some cases, use of the correct name gives students hearing the audio an advantage. For example, if a stem asks, "A (image of a dime) is the same as ________?", the audio support would simply be, "Choose the best answer."

The audio will state "Choose the best answer" for items currently undergoing item calibration, regardless of the type of question. Refer to the Star Math Technical Manual for more information about item calibration.

Does using the Audio Support feature of Star Math/Star Math Spanish affect the data?

The general recommendation for Star Math and Star Math Spanish is to allow the audio support feature for students who need it, based on professional judgment. The intent in providing an accommodation is one of "differential boost": raising the performance of students with reading difficulties while not impacting the performance of students who do not have reading difficulties.

The primary purpose of providing a read-aloud accommodation on a math test is to level the playing field for students with reading difficulties. Research has found that students with reading difficulties received differential item boost when they were permitted to take math tests using read-aloud accommodations, and that the provision of the accommodation gave a better index of their math skills.

There is no evidence that the use of a read-aloud accommodation has an adverse effect on the technical adequacy of math assessments, including Star Math and Star Math Spanish. A scaled score, which is criterion-referenced, is a valid indicator of what students can do in math, even when a read-aloud accommodation is used. The audio support feature for Star Math and Star Math Spanish can be used for progress monitoring because scaled score is the primary metric for that purpose.

Because audio was not used during the norming of Star Math or Star Math Spanish, the impact of a read-aloud accommodation on norm-referenced scores is less clear. Technically, a test taken with a read-aloud accommodation constitutes a non-standard administration, and, strictly speaking, the norms may not apply. However, we expect any distortion in the norm-referenced scores from a read-aloud accommodation to be negligible. We advise that decisions regarding this should be left to educator discretion.