Text to Speech for AMP and Assessments

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Text to Speech functionality and Line Reader/Screen Masking can be configured for Assessments (Enterprise) and Managed Assessments (AMP) to support accessibility for students taking Schoology Assessments.

Note: Text to Speech is available for all AMP customers. If you are not an AMP customer and would like to use Text to Speech in Assessments (Enterprise), reach out to your Client Success Manager.

This article covers the following topics:

Text to Speech

Enabling Text to Speech

The text to speech toolbar, which also includes screen masking (line reader) functionality, is disabled by default on all assessments for all students.

AMP admins can enable the toolbar on managed assessments from the Settings menu. When this setting is enabled, any student who starts or resumes an attempt of the managed assessment will have access to the functionality.

Course instructors or assessment authors can enable the toolbar on assessments from the Setup tab. When this setting is enabled, any student who starts or resumes an attempt of the assessment will have access to the functionality.

Using Text to Speech

Students can access text to speech functionality through a toolbar that displays within the assessment delivery experience. When students start an assessment, the toolbar displays in the upper right corner of the screen. It is expanded by default and can be collapsed by clicking the arrow icon.

Above, the Text to Speech toolbar expanded in a student’s assessment attempt.

Below, the Text to Speech toolbar collapsed in a student’s assessment attempt.

When the toolbar is expanded, students see the following options:

 

Use the arrow button to expand or collapse the toolbar.

Use the pointer button to start speech in a particular place. For example, if I have already read a passage but want to hear the second section again, I would click the pointer and then click on the first sentence in the section to listen to it.

Use the play button to start reading from the top of the page, or to read a specific selection. For example, if I have already read a paragraph but want to hear just the second sentence again, I would select the sentence and then click the play icon to listen to it.

Use the pause button to pause and unpause speech.

Note: Speech started in either manner - played from the top of the page or started from a specific location on the page - will continue until the entire question (or item, if a passage is paired with multiple questions) has been read.

Use the stop button to stop speech that has started at the top of the page.

Use the screen masking, or line reader, button to shade parts of the page and guide students who are reading certain portions. (This feature is described in the following section, Screen Masking.)

Use the settings button to customize the text to speech experience. (These options are described below.)

The toolbar can be moved anywhere on the screen by clicking the drag handle and dragging it to the desired location.

Student Settings

Click the settings button to open a modal where students can modify the following text to speech settings:

  • Voice Name
  • Voice Speed
  • Text Highlight
  • Speech Mode

Voice name — the type of voice used to read text aloud. There is only one option.

Voice speed — controls how quickly words are read aloud (slow, medium, or fast).

Text highlight — describes how words and sentences are highlighted as they are read aloud. Each option has a background color and a text color. As a sentence is read aloud, the sentence is highlighted in one color and the word being read is highlighted in the other color.

 

Yellow and navy

Black and yellow

Blue and navy

Tan and navy

Speech mode — refers to how students can use the pointer button to start reading text aloud from anywhere on the page. When this is set to click, students need to click the pointer button and then click the sentence or word they would like to hear. When this is set to hover, students can simply hover over any text on the page to begin speech once the pointer has been enabled.

These are the default settings for every student:

  • Voice Name: English US Female
  • Voice Speed: Medium
  • Text Highlight: Yellow and navy
  • Speech Mode:  Click

Note: Changes to these settings do not persist across student sessions. If a student prefers hearing text read slowly with the black and yellow highlight, these changes will have to be saved every time the student takes a test.

Screen Masking (Line Reader)

Enabling Screen Masking

Screen masking, or line reader, functionality is available as part of the toolbar when text to speech is enabled for an assessment or managed assessment.

Click into the Screen Tools tab to edit the Screen Mask Type setting:

Letterbox (Default) — enables a horizontal bar across the screen that follows the student’s mouse and dims the page above and below the bar, allowing students to read line by line more easily.

Ruler guide — enables a dim horizontal bar across the screen that follows the student’s mouse, allowing students to read above or below the bar more easily.

Line reader guide — enables a narrow line across the screen that follows the student’s mouse, allowing students to read above or below the line more easily.

Note: The default Screen Mask Type is the Letterbox. Changes to this setting do not persist across student sessions. If a student prefers to use the Ruler guide type of screen masking, the choice of this setting will have to be saved every time the student takes a test.

Using Screen Masking

To access the line reader, or screen masking, students can expand the toolbar and click the screen masking button.  Click the screen masking button again to disable the bar.

Feature Interactions

Math Equations

While simple equations will be read aloud correctly, (for example, 2 + 2 = 4 is read as “two plus two equals four”), more complex equations should be entered using the math editor during authoring to ensure accuracy.

For example, the text of these responses has been typed in using the normal rich text editor. They will be read correctly using the text to speech toolbar.

If, however, you want to customize how the equations were read, you can use the math editor in the toolbar:

Add_LaTex.png

From here you can customize how the equation is read by a screen reader or assistive tool. If you want to change “is equal to” to “equal”, you can do that by editing the ARIA label:

Equation_Editor_ARIA_label.png

Images

Embedded images are not recognized by screen readers unless they have alternative text. If you would like an image to be included when text is read aloud, double-click the image in the question editor to add alternative text.

Using Text Highlighting with Text to Speech

Schoology also offers the ability to highlight text during an assessment. There are a few things to note when using the text highlighting tool in conjunction with the text to speech tool:

  • The highlight pen cannot be used on the sentence actively being read aloud with "Click to Speak" (hand icon), since it will start to read aloud when a sentence is clicked.
  • The highlight pen cannot be used on the sentence actively being read aloud with "Select to Speak" (play icon).
  • "Select to Speak" (play icon) does allow students to highlight other sentences elsewhere on the page while one sentence is actively being read aloud. This takes a multi-tasking student to be able to focus on annotating a sentence that was previously read aloud, while listening to a new sentence being read aloud.

The intention is to use one tool or the other - read aloud or text highlighting - but not both at the same time. This is reflective of a paper page - most students wouldn't read a sentence while highlighting something else at the same time.


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