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Text-to-Speech Functionality (includes video)

Text-to-Speech Functionality (includes video)

Text-to-speech functionality (implemented using SpeechStream® from Texthelp®) provides students with a toolbar containing buttons for reading items to them during an assessment. An administrator can enable text-to-speech for certain students in specified subject areas. When those students take an assessment in that subject area, the text-to-speech toolbar becomes available.

Once text-to-speech is enabled for your district, any administrator may enable user accounts for individual students who need text-to-speech (and for which subjects). An administrator can manually enable students or enable them through Clever.

Watch the Video: Text-to-Speech Tutorial

Manually Enabling a Student Account

When creating or editing a student account (as described in User Management), the Add User (or Edit User) page has a "Demographic Information" section with a "Text-to-Speech Enabled" option.

When you click the Text-to-Speech Enable checkbox [1], subjects appear. For any assessment subject the student needs text-to-speech enabled, click the subject checkbox [2].

Enabling Via Clever

If your users log in through Clever, you may use the manual instructions outlined above, or you may choose to enable students for text-to-speech through Clever using a CSV file. 

Important Note: You should either enable students manually OR enable them via a file through Clever, but not both. Any updates made via the file overwrite any settings that were set manually.

If you choose to enable students via Clever, you need to create a CSV file, upload it to Clever, and then "share" the fields with enCASE. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a CSV file to indicate students and for which subjects they should have text-to-speech. The file should contain two columns of data as follows:

Column Headers sis_id ext.encase_texttospeech_enabled_subjects
Allowed Values A valid student ID in the SIS system SCI

(Note: These are subject based on which standards your district has available for alignment in enCASE.)


  • The subject codes must be enclosed in one set of quotes.
  • The subject codes must be capitalized.
  • The subject codes must be separated by commas, with no spaces.


sis_id ext.encase_texttospeech_enabled_subjects
5263221 "MATH,SCI"
5886442 "LANG,SCI,SOC"

Step 2: Log into Clever and follow these steps:

  1. Upload the CSV file on your district dashboard > Support Tools > Custom Data.
  2. Share custom fields with enCASE, Navigate to your district dashboard > Home page, and click on the application name (enCASE) to open the app overview page.
  3. From the Settings tab, select "Advanced Settings" under the "Field Access" section.

The text-to-speech settings for each student in the file are now enabled.

For more information, refer to Clever's support article, Syncing Custom Fields to Clever

Which Students Have Text-to-Speech

When creating or viewing the schedule for an assessment (as described in Scheduling a Classroom Assessment or Scheduling CASE Benchmark Assessments), any teacher or administrator can see which students in the assigned schedule will be using text-to-speech on an assessment. To do so:

On the Schedule an Assessment page, look for the "Selected Classrooms/Students" section. 

Click on the person icon to open the "Limit to Specific Students" dialog:

The "Limit to Specific Students" dialog indicates where you can see which students have text-to-speech enabled for the assessment:

Note: The Text-to-Speech Enabled column is read-only. To make changes to a student's  text-to-speech status, an administrator may edit the student's user account.

Skipping Passages or Stems/Responses

At a district level, you may choose to have the text-to-speech reader skip over certain item components: passages or item stems and responses. This applies to both Benchmark and Classroom assessments and is available for individual subjects.

If you are a District Test Coordinator (DTC), you may specify which components should or should not be read using this process:

  1. Select Manage Schools from the top menu.
  2. In the "Mange District Settings" section at the top, use the table under "Mange Text-to-Speech" to check or un-check item components for any subject. If the component is checked, the text-to-speech reader will read it.

The Student Experience

When a student takes an assessment and their user account is enabled for text-to-speech, they see an extra toolbar at the top of the assessment:

To control the visibility of the toolbar, students can click the Text-to-Speech option on the menu to view/hide it:

Text-to-Speech Toolbar

Students can open or close the toolbar by clicking the open/close icon [1].

The toolbar includes:

  • Touch/Click to Read Aloud button [2]: Click this to enter "Touch/Click to Read Aloud" mode. Then click or touch anywhere to hear it read from the beginning of the sentence. Click this again to exit "Touch/Click to Read Aloud" mode. (Use Settings to specify whether the student must click or touch/hover for the reading to begin.)
  • Read Aloud button [3]: Click to hear the reading at the current selection. Or select a word or phrase and click this to hear just that word or phrase. (Available when "Touch/Click to Read Aloud" mode is not on.)
  • Pause button [4]: Click to stop the reading temporarily. Click again to resume the reading.
  • Stop button [5]: Click to stop the reading. 
  • Settings button [6]: Click to change voice speed, highlight color, and clicking mode. 
  • Move icon [7]: Click and drag here to move the toolbar to somewhere else on the screen.

Note: Students can also hover the cursor over a toolbar button or icon to read its title/description.

Highlight During Reading

As the item is being read to the student, the current selection and the individual words are highlighted as they are read. (Use Settings to change the highlight colors.)


To adjust settings at any time, click on the text-to-speech toolbar to bring up the Settings dialog box.

The Speech tab allows you to choose:

  • Voice Speed
  • Text Highlight colors (for the current text being read)
  • Speech Mode (The "click" option requires students to click and point on the text to hear the reading. "hover" begins the reading when the cursor is hovering over the text, without any clicking.)

Controlling Text-to-Speech

When you preview an assessment, you can use the text-to-speech reader to see how items are pronounced. 

If you, as a teacher or administrator creating local items, want to see how the text-to-speech reader pronounces the words in your items and passages, you may preview the items, passages, or assessments, and use the text-to-speech toolbar. 

For example, if you are creating your own classroom item or passage in the item or passage editor, click Text-to-Speech to bring up the toolbar and then use it to read the item:

Note: This option is only available if your district has text-to-speech enabled.

Specifying Pronunciations

If you are an item or passage editor, you may specify pronunciations if needed. 

Note: You can only control pronunciations for local items in the School Created item bank. You cannot edit or control the way Certica-owned items are pronounced. 

As an example, in the image above, the text reader may read "long-term effect" as "long minus term effect" instead of "long term effect." To specify a different pronunciation for any word or phrase, edit the HTML source and provide the desired pronunciation using the phonetic spelling of the word or phrase:

  1. Edit the item or passage.
  2. Click Source to open the HTML view of the text.

Enclose the word or phrase in a <span> tag and use a "pron" attribute to specify the desired pronunciation using the syntax pron="[desired pronunciation]". For example:

Click OK to save.

The reader now uses this pronunciation whenever it reads the edited item or passage.

Tip: Be aware of heterophones in your item or passage. These are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. If the text-to-speech reader uses a different pronunciation than the one you intend, edit the source as described above, using a word spelled with the pronunciation you intend. For example, consider the sentence, "I saw a tear on the pillow case." The word "tear" may be pronounced "teer" or "tair" (refer to a source such as for the phonetic words you can use for pronunciation). In this case, the text-to-speech reader uses the "teer" pronunciation. To use the other pronunciation, you can edit the source to:  I saw a <span pron="tair">tear</span> on the pillow case. 

Note: You must edit the HTML at every instance of the word or phrase.

Specifying Text to Skip

If you have text in an item that you do not want the reader to read to students, you may use "data-ignore" within a paragraph or another element. This prevents the reader from reading the element. For example, using the HTML shown below, the reader will not read "Directions: Choose the correct answer."

Note: At a district level, you may choose to have the text-to-speech reader skip over certain item components: passages or item stems and responses. For more information, refer above to Skipping Passages or Items/Responses. 

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