Kansas State Department of Education


Accessibility of Technology-Enhanced Assessments (ATEA)

The ATEA project will investigate the accessibility of technology-enhanced item and task types for students with vision and/or motor disabilities. These students are among the most difficult to accommodate on computer assessment systems. Historical accommodations include alternate forms, such as Braille or large print paper-and-pencil tests, and alternate means of presentation and response, such as the use of readers, scribes, and assistive technology. Many of these students participate in alternate assessments, which are often individualized and non-standardized. Cognitive load may be higher with accommodations such as tactile graphics, oral presentation, and dictation to a scribe. Physical effort may be greater when reading Braille or operating an eye-gaze or sip-and-puff computer interface. The time required to complete an assessment may be longer and result in greater fatigue. Technology-enabled accessibility features for these students have not yet been tested. The comparability of scores and score inferences with these assessment adaptations has not been evaluated.

These topics will be investigated with the intention of benefiting the five major assessment consortia. Planned technology-enhanced item types will be identified. Teacher review panels representing ATEA states will assist in evaluating the accessibility of items and tasks and developing means to improve accessibility. Cognitive labs will permit individualized examination of technology-enabled accessibility features and accommodations. Large-scale data collection across the ATEA consortium states will result in analyses of item difficulty, differential item functioning, and score comparability.

Project outcomes include a catalog of accessible technology-enhanced item and task types with guidelines for maximum access, a comprehensive description of student characteristics, data on student performance and the comparability of scores, and procedural documentation. The project’s National Advisory Board will have experts who are also members of at least one of the major assessment consortia technical advisory committee. Edvantia will conduct external evaluation. Kansas, Utah, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Michigan, and Missouri will participate. Additional states are interested and plan to participate, but did not have time to sign the Memoranda of Understanding for the submission.

Maryland State Department of Education


Guidelines for Accessibility of Assessments Project (GAAP)

The Guidelines for Accessibility of Assessments Project (GAAP) is a collaborative effort to develop, research, and implement guidelines that will be used to make assessment items and tasks developed using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) accessible to students requiring spoken and signed representation of content. Currently there are no standard accepted best practices for representing content in a spoken (henceforth audio) or signed form. With the adoption of digital delivery of tests and tools such as APIP, there is an opportunity to develop nationwide consensus on best practices and for state assessment programs and assessment consortia to apply these practices in a consistent manner thus enabling greater access for students and increasing the validity of test score-based inferences about students’ academic proficiency.

The GAAP project will focus on audio and sign guidelines for English Language Arts and mathematics. The development of audio guidelines will be informed by the currently funded EAG and OSEP projects, current state practices, and initial work performed by PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia. Sign guidelines will be informed by current state practice in states such as Massachusetts and South Carolina, by native signers, by deaf K-12 mathematics educators, and by higher education sign experts.

GAAP involves a consortium of 18 states (Utah, Vermont, New Hampshire, Arizona, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, North Carolina, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina and Oregon) led by the Maryland State Department of Education. The GAAP Consortium will collaborate with Measured Progress accessibility experts, National Center for Educational Outcomes evaluation experts, WGBH’s National Center for Accessible Media audio accessibility experts, CCSS content experts, and nationally recognized sign leaders in an iterative process that will include 1) development of audio and sign guidelines, 2) application of guidelines to CCSS items, 3) state, expert, and advisory board member review of guidelines and application to sample items, and 4) research with students who regularly use audio or signed supports for assessment. The resulting guidelines and sample item representations will be widely disseminated and made publicly available.

Oregon Department of Education


English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21)

The English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century consortium (ELPA21), led by Oregon as the governing state in partnership with twelve other states, Stanford University, and CCSSO, has formed to develop an English Language Proficiency Assessment that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). ELPA21’s proposed assessment design is intended to ensure the valid, reliable, and fair assessment of the critical elements associated with English language acquisition and mastery of the linguistic skills linked to success in mainstream classroom environments. In addition, ELPA21’s proposed assessment will support ongoing improvements in instruction and learning that are useful for all members of the educational enterprise, including students, parents, teachers, school administrators, members of the public, and policymakers. This assessment will incorporate principles of Universal Design and will comply with Accessible Portable Item Profile (APIP) standards. ELPA21 development will be based upon the prior successes of member states (for example, the Kansas writing tool, the Michigan diagnostic screener, test items from Iowa and Louisiana, and online test delivery specifications from Oregon).

The deliverables for the diagnostic screener and summative components of ELPA21 will include open-source: performance level descriptors, item banks for practice and for operational delivery, psychometric scale, performance levels (cut scores), test design and delivery specifications, test specifications and blueprints, professional development resources, and administration and security protocols. Participating states who are currently part of the PARCC, SMARTER Balanced, NCSC, DLM and ELPA21 consortia will strive to work with these consortia to maximize compatibility and interoperability across user platforms. These resources as well as model Request for Proposal language will be available to states for use (individually or in multi-state partnerships) to contract with vendors for operational assessment in the 2016-2017 school year.