Challenges and Solutions In Implementing Accessible Next Generation Assessments

Thursday, June 20, 2013: 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Chesapeake G-H (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
  • Russell Accessibility Update.ppt (3.3 MB)
  • Higgins NCSA 2013 Presentation.ppt (6.7 MB)
  • Laitusis PARCC lessons learned audio.ppt (952.0 kB)
  • Content Strands:
    1. Transitioning special populations
    2. Transitioning assessment systems
    The Race to the Top Assessment Consortia have taken unprecedented steps to maximize the participation of students with disabilities and English Language Learners in their next generation assessments. Both consortia have used Universal Design and Evidence Centered Design in the development of assessment items and tasks in order to avoid retrofitting and make valid inferences about the targeted constructs. Item tagging is also being used to tailor test content in order to accurately assess students who require different representations to access, interact with, or respond to items. During this session, we will present key research and development efforts involved in making consortia items accessible and discuss future challenges.

    To ensure that the PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessment programs maximizes the validity of their assessments in a comparable manner, the consortia have used the principles of Evidenced Centered Design (ECD) and Universal Design (UD) throughout the assessment development process. ECD views assessment design as an evidentiary argument that includes claims about what a student knows and can do, plus evidence that either supports (or refutes) that claim. In this session, we will describe how when paired with UD, which calls for building in flexibility and accessibility to the design of items and tasks, ECD is a powerful approach embraced by both consortia, to make the underlying evidentiary argument more explicit.

    Last year, as part of an accessibility and accommodations policy and procedures contract, Smarter Balanced called for a series of four case studies focused on the use of innovative technology to deliver assessments to students with disabilities and English Language Learners. Two of these case studies will be highlighted during this session. The first case study focused on examining the delivery of two different technology-based signed representations to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The second case study focused on the use of refreshable braille for students who are blind or low vision.

    PARCC and Smarter Balanced have both made progress on building capacity for the digital delivery of audio representation of assessment content. Smarter Balanced worked with Measured Progress and ETS to collect current state and vendor audio guidelines and propose content based audio guidelines based on these existing documents. PARCC is using the portion of these guidelines as a basis for creation of alt text for visual elements.  Through implementation this work has included adding to these guidelines and sorting images into categories based on if the information is essential and if the alt text requires tactiles. Both consortia recognize that while the work done to create audio guidelines over the past year is significant, much more work in needed to create research based guidelines that can be used to create reliable audio representations for students with a variety of audio access needs. During this session, we will discuss plans to address this need through a recently funded Maryland led Enhanced Assessment Grant titled Guidelines for Accessible Assessments Project.