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9/19/2013 8:57:00 AM
Smarter Balanced Adopts Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines

The Governing States of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) voted to approve the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines in advance of a large-scale Field Test of the assessment system in early 2014. The unanimous decision by the Consortium's Governing States represents an important milestone toward implementing assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards in the 2014-15 school year.

Developed in collaboration with member states and nationally recognized experts, the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines will shape the delivery of online testing for all students, including those with visual, auditory, linguistic, or physical needs. 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.

Universal tools designated supports documented accommodations

The development of the guidelines included feedback from states, advisory panels on English language learners and students with disabilities, and national organizations. The Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines are available on the Smarter Balanced website: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SmarterBalanced_Guidelines_091113.pdf PDF.

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