Each student participating in an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) should be able to participate under optimal testing conditions. Some students may need access features or accommodations that meet their individual needs, either embedded within a technology platform or non-embedded and provided by a human.
Similar to the approach used for general assessments, many AA-AAS now have levels of accessibility features. Technology-based AA-AAS often have levels of accessibility features that include:
- Designated features (such as embedded zoom or highlighting or non-embedded features such as magnification or translation); these features must be decided on before testing so that they can be available to the student.
- Accommodations, either embedded or non-embedded, which are changes in testing materials or procedures that allow students with documented disabilities or ELs to show their knowledge and skills (for example, a human sign language interpreter for an EL with a hearing impairment who does not use American Sign Language).
These approaches to accessibility allow for more accurate measurement of the student’s knowledge and skills and are an important part of technology-based and paper-pencil testing of students with significant cognitive disabilities.
Unanticipated needs for new types of accessibility features or accommodations may emerge with the use of technology. Many states already have procedures for teachers or teams to request accessibility features and accommodations that are not on an “approved” list. States without procedures for requesting new accommodations most likely will need to develop them.