Help your team make the right decisions on reading accommodations and help students perform their best in inclusion classrooms and during high-stakes testing. uPAR is the smarter, faster, data-driven way to assess students for reading accommodations.
In fact, it’s the only automated tool available that improves accommodation decisions!
So many districts are doing incredible things with uPAR!
Janesville is driving
Equity and Excellence
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about Central Community
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success in Lander, Wyoming
Lawrence Township, IN
makes data-driven decisions.
Download this infographic (PDF).
Grown from PAR
Growing out of the popular FREE Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR) manual (7,000 downloads and counting!), uPAR is the online version that automates the process of assessing student reading levels with and without accommodations. It has several advantages over the print version:
- Automated protocol requires no staff training
- Group implementation, not limited to one-on-one screenings
- Automated scoring of reading passages
- Centralized data collection
- Reading passages at 1st to 10th grade levels
- Online delivery (iPad, Chromebook, computer, etc.)
Now you have a choice. Download the free PDF version of PAR one-on-one or automate the process with uPAR! With uPAR, IEP teams can quickly see which students benefit and which are disadvantaged by accommodations.
Smarter, Faster Decision-Making
Relying on subjective judgement, teachers are no better than chance at determining whether a student needs a read aloud accommodation (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2001; Helwig & Tindal, 2003). What happens when students get the wrong accommodations?
- They don’t perform as well as they should
- They don’t use their accommodations because they have the wrong ones
- Teachers and parents don’t agree about which accommodation the student needs
uPAR turns this subjective decision-making into a data-driven diagnostic process that anyone on the IEP team can implement.
New Assessments, New Accommodations
State assessments are going online, and many accommodations will come built-in. uPAR help you stay ahead of these changes.
Documentation: Inaccurate subjective decision-making is replaced with decisions based on data so parents, teachers, and administrators can feel confident with the recommendations.
Efficiency: Individual evaluations are replaced by more efficient group evaluations so educators can keep up with the demand for accommodations.
Inclusion: Teachers know when to accommodate rather than modify. uPAR takes the guesswork out of it!
“I evaluated a portion of our middle school with PAR Online and discovered students that are able to read three or four levels above their independent reading level with text-to-speech support. With this data, it becomes clear who needs accommodations and who needs more intensive intervention and instruction. PAR Online has become one of our key decision-making tools.”
Valerie Donnan, Director of Special Education, Wauconda, IL
1) Set up a group of students in minutes
2) Evaluate up to 30 students in one class period
3) Scoring is automatic. Reports clearly show independent reading level and reading level with accommodations.
This data is based on actual uPAR school data of students identified as having reading disabilities. This group data shows the effect an accommodation had on each student whether 1) no benefit, 2) above independent reading level, 3) got to grade level, or 4) exceed grade level.
Add student names.
Add grade level and independent reading level for each student.
Give students the instructions to start the assessment. Administer individually or up to 30 students can take it together in a lab or on their own devices.
Ready to get started with uPAR?
Download this quick guide to help your team set up assessments in uPAR.
Students read passages under three conditions: independently and with accommodations. The accommodations include human recorded speech and text reader (with word-by-word highlighting and controls to pause and change the rate of speech).
Independent Reading Condition
Students self-select a passage to read.
They read a passage at their independent reading level.
Students take a comprehension quiz at the end of the reading passage.
Human Reader Accommodation
After completing the comprehension quiz for the independent reading condition, students self-select another reading passage to be read by a human narrator.
Students listen to the narrator read the passage simulating a human reader. After the passage, they take a quiz on the content.
Text Reader Accommodation
Students then select another passage to be read by a text reader.
The text reader highlights word-by-word as the computer-generated voice read the text. Students can choose the rate of speech and can pause and continue the passage as needed.
Just as in the other two conditions, students take a comprehension quiz after reading the passage.
Depending on how students do in each accommodation condition, they are given additional passages at more difficult levels(if they did well with grade-level reading passages with the accommodations) or easier levels (if they didn’t do well with grade-level reading passages). The process continues for each of the accommodated conditions until a level is reached where the student is challenged but successful.
Both individual and group data is available to educators and administrators.
Summary data shows the number of students who can benefit from an accommodation and the number who don’t benefit from an accommodation. The chart breaks down the percentage who may need both accommodations and interventions or modifications and more intensive interventions. It also shows the average grade level increases achieved with human reader or text reader. Student names are color coded as a visual reference.
Selecting a student name will display individual data. It shows how the student performed in each of the conditions. In the case above with Ryan Stanton, he scored 43% on comprehension quiz after reading the 5th grade reading passage independently. He scored 75% in both the adult reader and text reader conditions at his grade level (8th grade).
Download or print the reports. It will automatically generate and download including one page for each student—perfect for portfolios.
New Assessments, New Accommodations
Assessment practices are shifting dramatically in nearly every state. These shifts will impact you.
Modified assessments were eliminated, so all but 1% of students (about 10% of students with IEPs) will take the general assessment. To accommodate students with disabilities, there will be an array of accessibility options. Many technology accommodations will be built into the assessment.
For a nice overview of these shifts, watch an on-demand webinar presented by Ruth Ziolkowski. You’ll gain an understanding of what the new assessments mean for special education and testing accommodation policies.
This article published by NCEO and NCSI emphasizes the importance of having process for making accommodation needs for assessment outcomes–it aligns perfectly with uPAR!
With the assessment becoming more accommodation-friendly, making the right accommodation decisions has never been more important. uPAR helps your team make the right decisions quickly and effectively.
PARCC Testing Consortium Update
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. uPAR is the perfect diagnostic tool to show the need for accommodations. If you’re in a PARCC state, you and uPAR could save the day!
Watch our short video “Determining Each Student’s Reading Accommodation Needs”
Why we need a process to identify students: a case study
Meet Nichelle. She was excited for the first day of kindergarten—she couldn’t wait to go, but she quickly found out that they didn’t learn the same way as the other students. She struggled through every grade and received modified materials until she was assessed for accommodations freshman year. Now she’s getting A’s and B’s in general curriculum classes with her new tools. Watch her tell her story in this video.
You have students like Nichelle in your district. How do you find them? PAR Online gives you a quick way to find students who need reading accommodations—the most common accommodation needed for the new state assessments. The new state assessments are more accommodations-friendly than ever, so having a process to find students who need accommodations has never been more important!
Before teachers begin to modify, screen for accommodations—they often provide the least restrictive environment and keep students in their general education classes. Making data-driven decisions just got easier, so you can get your whole IEP team using PAR. They may even love it!
Denise DeCoste, Ed.D.
Linda Bastiani Wilson, MA, Ed.
uPAR is based on the work of Dr. Denise DeCoste and Linda Bastiani Wilson, authors of the widely embraced PAR (Protocol for Accommodations in Reading). 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.
Register for our next live webinar with co-author Dr. Denise DeCoste!
Get some background on PAR with this recorded webinar
Dr. DeCoste introduces PAR and shares how it works. This webinar 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
Frequently Asked Questions
A. When the data comes out, there’s typically a lot of surprise in the room—typically quite a few students who have been receiving accommodations are shown to perform better without. Quite a few students are found who can get to or even above grade level with accommodations, and many of these students were unnecessarily getting modified materials in the classroom. uPAR turns subjective decision-making based on opinion into objective decision-making based on data.
A. The uPAR process takes up to one class period (under 40 minutes). Districts are typically implementing uPAR in a lab with up to 25 students. We recommend another class period to go over the data with each student and train on accommodations for the students who need them.
A: Most states are requiring a diagnostic process to prove that a student needs reading accommodations. This is exactly the type of data uPAR gives. You can export specific student data or print it out as proof a student needs a reading accommodation. PAR is even written into the guidance recommendations in at least one state.
Get access to all of this for your district, school, or individual students!
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