Usability, Accessibility and Accommodations

Support for Under-Represented Students


The Smarter Balanced assessment system will provide accurate measures of achievement and growth for students with disabilities and English language learners. The assessments will address visual, auditory, and physical access barriers—as well as the unique needs of English language learners—allowing virtually all students to demonstrate what they know and can do.

 

Designed for All Students

Accessibility is a core principle of the Smarter Balanced development process. The assessment system uses technology to deliver assessments that fit the needs of individual students. Assessment items and performance tasks will be associated with a variety of accessibility tools and accommodations that can be delivered to students automatically based on their profile.

All items and tasks will be reviewed for accessibility following the Smarter Balanced Item Specifications and Review Guidelines.

In September 2013, Smarter Balanced Governing States unanimously approved  Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations for the assessment system, which will shape the delivery of online testing for all students, including those with visual, auditory, linguistic, or physical needs. The guidelines were developed in collaboration with member states and nationally recognized experts on English language learners and students with disabilities. The research-based policy outlines three categories of resources to ensure that the assessments meet the needs of all students. The categories further distinguish between embedded tools included in the testing platform and non-embedded tools.

  1. A set of universal accessibility tools—such as a digital notepad and scratch paper—will be available to all students.
  2. Designated supports—like a translated pop-up glossary—will be made available to students for whom a need has been identified by school personnel familiar with each student’s needs and testing resources.
  3. Accommodations will be available to students with a documented need noted in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan. These tools include Braille and closed captioning, among others
 

 

 

 

 

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