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Assessment Accessibility

Access by Design

Smarter Balanced assessment items are designed to be accessible to a broad spectrum of students, including English learners, students with learning disabilities, students with vision needs who require braille and/or tactile supports, students who require audio representation, and students who communicate in American Sign Language.

Developers of the new assessments are using Smarter Balanced General Accessibility Guidelines to support implementation of assessment inclusion strategies from an innovative approach called Access by Design.

The goal of Access by Design, based on the principals of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), is to allow students to interact with the content of the assessment as they apply their knowledge and skills so that their responses accurately reflect their abilities. For example, the computer adaptive system provides support to a wide range of students by matching prompts to their ability levels and through computer-enabled technologies such as font style, size changes, and sound volume adjustments. Students with disabilities who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans will have testing variations, accommodations, and modifications available as specified in their plans.

Time to Extend

Additional information on UDL is available on the CAST Web site.