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The PAR manual helps you determine the most suitable reading accommodations for specific students by assessing their individual needs. Anyone on the IEP team can administer PAR to systematize how reading accommodations are recommended on a student level or across the school district.
PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading) provides you with all you need to systematize your procedures for making data-based reading accommodation recommendations for students! Developed by Dr. Denise DeCoste, author of the widely embraced Developing A Writing Productivity Profile, and Linda Bastiani Wilson.
PAR gives you the concrete documentation you need for IEP meetings, while also helping to guide you in making appropriate decisions about suitable reading accommodations that are based on student-specific evidence.
- 1st and 2nd grade reading passages and comprehension questions — PAR now includes new narrative and expository reading passages and scoring forms for your 1st and 2nd grade-level readers.
- Better accessibility for use with any text reader — To help you better assess your students no matter the technology on hand, all of the reading passages have been converted to a plain text format.
- Revised scoring forms — Several of the scoring form questions have been revised for clarification, thanks to the feedback from your fellow PAR users!
PARCC Testing Consortium Update (November 2013)
PARCC released testing accommodation guidance in a new appendix. New guidelines require a “diagnostic evaluation” or “educational assessment” showing the need for accommodations. Without this data, testing scores are invalidated. PAR is the perfect diagnostic tool to show the need for accommodations. If you’re in a PARCC state, PAR could save the day!
About the Authors
PAR was developed in collaboration with Dr. Denise DeCoste, author of the widely embraced Assistive Technology Assessment: Developing a Writing Productivity Profile and Linda Bastiani Wilson. Their desire was to create a repeatable and systematic assessment process that would not only provide concrete documentation you can use for IEP meetings, but also outline evidence-based practices you can use to make decisions about selecting a suitable reading accommodation for a student being considered.
Have your copy of PAR already? Follow our implementation process and get started!
A System for Assessing Reading Accommodations!
Protocol—guides you in collecting data to compare independent reading, reading with a human reader and reading with a text reader
Reading Samples—provides narrative and expository reading passages and vocabulary questions for each grade level, grades 1st through 10th
Quizzes—contains comprehension quizzes for each reading passage—factual, topic-related, inferential and vocabulary
Accessible Text—reading passages are now available in plain text so that you can easily use them with any text reader
Follow the PAR Implementation Process
There’s a lot of information in your new copy of PAR — but how exactly do you get your team started? This implementation plan is here to help guide you to get more familiar with PAR and then share it with your team to help build capacity.
See PAR in Action
Not sure how PAR “should” look in person? Watch Linda Bastiani Wilson, co-author of PAR, as she administers PAR to a student.
Share PAR with Your Team
Throwing a PAR party (a PAR-ty) is a great way to introduce PAR to your team and get them started using PAR with their students.
Use the PAR-ty Planning Material Kit to help you get started.
Join the PAR Community on ATcollective
The PAR Group on ATcollective is your place to go to share ideas, ask questions, and keep the PAR conversation going.
Finding the Right Read-Aloud Accommodations for Instruction and the New State Assessments
with Denise DeCoste
New state assessments promise more access to accommodations than ever before. You have students who can benefit from accommodations, but how can you quickly identify and document student needs?
This webinar couldn’t be more timely—Dr. Denise DeCoste guides you through her FREE “Protocol for Accommodations in Reading” (PAR). It helps IEP team members compare independent reading levels to human read aloud and text reader accommodation conditions. This process helps make informed decisions about read aloud supports—traditionally one of the two most common accommodations.
Join the 6,500 other educators (and counting!) who have downloaded PAR and watch Denise’s latest webinar to learn more!
Introducing PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading)
with Denise DeCoste
In this webinar, Denise introduces PAR and shares how it has worked in her district. To help you get the PAR Framework off the ground and working in your district immediately, Denise covers:
- Research about reading accommodations
- The motivation behind creating PAR
- How to carefully consider a reading accommodation
- A process to compare performance across accommodations
- Forms for collecting data, making recommendations and sharing outcomes
A. No. PAR is not an assessment of reading ability, but a diagnostic tool to help determine which reading accommodations might be appropriate for a student who struggles with reading. PAR helps you make more informed reading accommodation decisions by using graded passages that allow you to compare reading comprehension performance across 3 reading conditions (student read aloud, adult read aloud and text reader). Examiners should use standardized reading test scores as a starting place for administering PAR. Data gleaned from PAR should be used in conjunction with other information about a student to help make the best determination about reading accommodations for instruction and testing.
A.PAR is not an assessment of reading ability, but a diagnostic tool to help determine which reading accommodations might be appropriate for a student who struggles with reading. Data gleaned from PAR should be used in conjunction with other information about a student to help make the best determination about reading accommodations for instruction and testing.
A. Even if you have standardized reading data that confirms the student’s independent reading level, it is still recommended that you use the PAR passage at the student’s independent reading level. In this way, you are comparing 3 conditions using the same procedures. It is also an opportunity to (1) get a sense of the student’s reading fluency, (2) gauge reading speed to establish adult reader and text reader speeds, and (3) an opportunity to note reading miscues.
A. Many, but not all, states allow the use of adult readers and/or text readers on state and district tests. Currently, there are national committees looking at testing accommodations that will result in national recommendations. The U.S. Department of Education wants to be able to compare special education data across states, but it is difficult to do this fairly across states when testing accommodations differ.
However, the main reason to examine reading accommodations is that testing should not drive instruction. PAR was designed to look at accommodations that will improve learning. If a student learns more in the classroom, they may be able to demonstrate more on the test, even when reading accommodations are not allowed.
A. To compare a student’s performance across the 3 reading conditions (student read aloud, adult read aloud and text reader), it is best to use the same procedures, thereby limiting the variables. For this reason, comprehension questions are read aloud by an adult.
However, to see how a student performs when using a text reader to respond to comprehension questions, this could be introduced as an “optional condition.” You could introduce this variable after you have data on the 3 reading conditions. This would allow you to compare a student’s comprehension with and without the use of the text reader to check understanding.
A. To obtain baseline information, you need to use only one passage per condition (student read aloud, adult read aloud and text reader). You do need to decide in advance if you want to use narrative or expository passages. If you want to compare performance across narrative and expository text, then you may want to present both types of passages.
A. This is an excellent suggestion and we will add this to future revisions of the PAR manual. PAR examiners should adjust their read aloud speed to be approximately 20% faster than the student’s oral reading rate (established during the student’s oral read aloud condition). Research has shown that students can listen effectively at a slightly faster rate than they can read aloud.
A. While the HIAT Team in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland was developing the PAR process, members of the team spent the first year using PAR with students. During the second year, they taught teachers how to use the PAR process. Schools needing support for students with reading disabilities were given a notebook of the passages and instructions for administering PAR, as well as a loaner laptop with the digital passages for use with the text reader. Now that PAR is available to you online, you can direct interested staff to download the manual and passages to a classroom computer.
Professional development on PAR is delivered by HIAT staff. Webinars on reading accommodations are conducted regularly. During these webinars, the PAR process is described, along with how staff can access this tool to make more informed reading accommodation decisions. HIAT promotes a capacity-building model of service delivery. Staff are encouraged to conduct PAR on their own, but are also encouraged to call and discuss any questions or confer on results. When necessary, a HIAT staff person will model the PAR process or observe a teacher administering PAR.
A. The first step is to use the PAR process to document the student’s performance using reading accommodations. If you determine that a student who is currently depending upon adult reader accommodations, should be more exposed to reading using a text reader, then set this up as a trial period. To better ensure a productive trial period:
- Be sure the teacher and the student can utilize the basic features of the text reader.
- Be sure to establish student preferences for text reader speed and font size.
- Use digital text that is not overly cognitively demanding for the student so that the student can focus his or her personal resources on getting comfortable using the text reader.
- Use the text reader at a minimum of three times per week for 4 to six weeks as part of the trial period.
- Re-administer PAR to compare reading performance using the adult read aloud and the text reader conditions. Use passages at the level at which the student is performing in the upper (green) quartile.
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How Do You Plan On Using PAR?
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By Hillary Brumer, Texas
I wanted to share a PAR success story. I have begun to use the PAR as a part of my AT evals for students that require evaluation in reading strategies and supports. I have administered PAR on a couple of occasions, and have been able to show the team that a student’s comprehension improves (or does not) depending on the tool they use! I love that the PAR gives “teeth”, or some degree of validity to what I’ve been saying to teams when discussing reading accommodations.
Especially with older students, having the ability to understand what they’re reading is integral. Also, being as independent as possible is important. The PAR allows me to show teams what is the best fit for a student to ensure they are comprehending the content, as well as allowing for the student’s voice to be heard regarding preferences.