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Accessible Tests Resource Center – Beta Site

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Welcome to the beta version of your Accessible Tests Resource Center!

We will be updating and expanding this content soon. We welcome your feedback!

Here you will find a wide variety of information related to accessible tests for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Our initial resources include Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Tests and Assessments, Codes/Guidelines for Embossed Information, Federal and State Laws, Policies, and Standards, Core and Expanded Core Curriculum, Assessment Consortia and NAEP, Online Testing, Research and Resources, Data and Information, Test-Related News and Issues, and Tools, Supplies, and Materials.

As the site grows, the number of categories will increase and the amount and variety of information will expand. Future resources will include assistive technology, federal/state laws and guidelines, research, presentations/webcasts/videos, and more.

How You Can Help

You have a significant role in assisting this site to grow! We need you, your colleagues, test takers who are blind or visually impaired, their family members and teachers. Please contact us to share test-related comments, concerns, questions, suggestions, issues to be addressed, resources, research results, contributions such as presentations, webcasts, videos, etc. that you or others have prepared.

Together, we can make this Accessible Tests Resource Center a valuable assessment tool for use by anyone across the country able to access the site. As Helen Keller said, “Together, we can do so much.” Thank you.

History

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DoE) awarded grants to two groups of states to develop a new generation of assessments. The grant requests which totaled $330 million were part of the Race to the Top Competition that awarded funds to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

States were not required to join either PARCC or SBAC, or they could join both. Initially, PARCC was a coalition of 25 states and the District of Columbia (DC). At the outset, the PARCC coalition consisted of AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MS, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, and TN. SBAC was initially a coalition of 31 states that included AL, CO, CT, DE, CA, HI, IA, ID, KS, KY, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, and WV. The SBAC and PARCC assessments were to be planned, built, pilot tested, and finalized for actual test administration in the 2014-15 school year.

In addition to the two major consortia, four minor consortia were formed and funded to undertake development of appropriate assessments for select audiences such as students with disabilities, English Language Learners, students with severe cognitive impairments who would need to take alternate assessments, and a consortium to assess the skills and abilities of at risk students.

The above major and minor consortia won grants to fund development and provision of assessments based on the Common Core Standards (CCSs). Along with these consortia came goals to assess all students fairly and accurately, as well as to provide their assessments online. In order to access online assessments, came needs to be able to access the technology in common use. This required the use of assistive technology such as speech output, large print to the screen, tactile graphics, and refreshable braille displays as well as a wide array of acceptable accommodations.

There have been and continue to be laws in place to assist with the privacy and confidentiality of test results via FERPA, expectations, rights and responsibilities via Civil Rights, and specific as well as general guidance regarding instruction and assessment of all students via the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2006 followed by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

In order to assist test publishers, item developers, test takers who are blind or visually impaired, their teachers, parents/guardians, school administrators, test administrators, assessment teams, and other interested parties, Dr. Craig Meador, President of APH as of January 2016, advised a goal of an Accessible Tests Resource Center to be available online as a major section of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) website. The new Accessible Tests Resource Center launched on March 4, 2016.

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