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Exam Accessibility: progress towards enabling disabled students to use assistive technology in the exam room Abi James, Assistive Technology Researcher.

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Presentation on theme: "Exam Accessibility: progress towards enabling disabled students to use assistive technology in the exam room Abi James, Assistive Technology Researcher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exam Accessibility: progress towards enabling disabled students to use assistive technology in the exam room Abi James, Assistive Technology Researcher BDA / University of Southampton

2 Accessibility Journey © Copyright C Michael Hogan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons LicenceC Michael HoganCreative Commons Licence

3 Role of standards and guidance: managing risk and expectations Accessible Assessments Technical guidance Regulatory framework

4 A.T. use in high stake UK exams: where the journey began 2007: SQA piloted digital exams 2012/3: JCQ boards allow “computer readers” in all GCSE/GCE including those testing reading 2013/4: JCQ boards allow school to order “non-interactive questions papers” for computer reader users BDA NTC ask: Are the PDFs accessible? What tools are compatible?

5 Preparing the landscape for A.T. use: Awarding bodies & PDFs Awarding bodies unaware of “accessibility” issues and requirements Traditional graphic design and proof reading processes Past papers showed number of problems –Permissions –Text as images –Test in PDF reading aloud incorrectly

6 Making AT use in exams a reality, Gaining momentum Building confidence in the technology and processes Encouraging sharing of best practice (and failures) Embracing the political and legislative framework

7 How many candidates use assistive technology? GCSE No of candidates % of 2014 English GCSE entries Reader2012/13: 48, /14: 51, % Scribe2012/13: 26, /14: 26, % Computer reader 2012/13: /14: 2, % PDFsNo of papers: 2013/14: %

8 Steps taken so far since Demonstrated to regulators, government & awarding bodies the problems with inaccessible PDFs 2.Tested sample papers to advise on required changes 3.With UKAAF & experts develop standards for Accessible PDF for assessments 4.Following consultation UKAAF standard published Jan 2015UKAAF standard published Jan 2015

9 UKAAF Accessible PDF for assessments Covering use of PDF for exams with computer readers Pragmatic, realistic approach To build confidence and understanding across the sector First steps to ensuring accessibility needs are considered within creation of exam papers 1 of 5 GCSE boards already achieving standard

10 UKAAF Accessible PDF for assessments Accessibility in line with assessment criteria Transparent in terms of the level of support for different groups of candidates to work in parallel with the modification processes. –Level 1: standard PDF papers for sighted candidates; to be compatible with text to speech –Level 2: modified content for candidates who are blind or have significant VI; to be compatible with screen readers

11 UKAAF Standards – what do they mean for A.T. developers? Is your software compatible with the standard? How do we get end-users, schools and colleges to know about the standard ? –Setting the expectations of the customer Can you assist with developing standards and guidance further?

12 What does the future hold? PDFs are here to stay for paper equivalent exams Issues with reading aloud maths & notation – regulatory & technical barriers Still many areas where A.T. use is difficult due to lack of guidance. Online assessment –Functional Skills, recent Ofqual review highlighted accessibility improvements required –Professional qualification & psychometric testing moving more online

13 Making it a reality, working together Accessible Assessment for all Encouraging sharing of best practice (and failures) Building confidence in the technology and processes Gaining momentum Embracing the legislative and regularity framework Using the appropriate technology Bringing together stakeholders How do we engage with assessment & publishing community?

14 To get involved UKAAF contact: Abi James


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