Test Accommodations: Creating Access in Assessment

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TEST ACCOMMODATIONS:
CREATING ACCESS IN ASSESSMENT
Carol Funckes
Past President, AHEAD
Disability Resources, University of Arizona
What must we
do?
What
should
we do?
Legislation
Disability
Design
What
can we
do?
REHABILITATION ACT, § 504 (1973)
No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the
United States shall, solely by reason of disability, be
denied the benefits of, be excluded from
participation in, or be subjected to discrimination
under any program or activity receiving federal
financial assistance
ADA (1990)
• Civil Rights Protection - anti-discrimination
• “Disability” defined
• Doesn’t require disability documentation from an external
expert, but establishes the right to request
documentation
• Supports “reasonable accommodations”, auxiliary aids
and services
4
ADA AMENDMENTS ACT (2008)
• Broadened and strengthened coverage of the ADA,
shifting the focus from determination of disability to the
substantial issues of reasonable accommodation and
discrimination.
• Restored the broad protection from discrimination
that Congress intended
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TEST ACCOMMODATIONS?
• Any person that offers examinations or courses related
to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing
for secondary or post-secondary education,
professional, or trade purposes shall offer such
examinations or courses in a place and manner
accessible to persons with disabilities or offer
alternative accessible arrangements for such
individuals.
42 U.S.C. § 12189
ADA/DOJ - TEST ACCOMMODATIONS
Testing entities:
• must administer any examination “so as to best ensure
that . . . results accurately reflect the individual’s
aptitude . . . rather than reflecting the individual’s
[disability],”
• are to give “considerable weight to documentation of
past modifications . . . received in similar testing
situations, as well as such modifications . . . or a plan
describing services provided …”
28 C.F.R. § 36.309
28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(2).
DISABILITY RESOURCE OFFICE
• Two-Fold:
• identify barriers that individual students face and
planning strategies, including reasonable
accommodations to facilitate access
• consult with the campus community to design
inclusive and welcoming environments
AHEADSUPPORTING ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS:
GUIDANCE ON DOCUMENTATION PRACTICES
• Clarity in reemphasizing case-by-case, individual
review
• Focus on scholarly understanding of disability
• Reminder that the law never required third party
documentation
• Acknowledgment that there are various sources of
information that help in describing disability and
exploring accommodations
• Non-burdensome, common-sense standard
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
• Modifications or adjustments that allow equal
opportunity for participation while maintaining
essential components
• Must:
• Be effective (best ensure)
• Be appropriately related to the disability
• Consider preference of the disabled student
• Maintain integrity
DETERMINING ACCOMMODATIONS
• Does a barrier result from the interaction between the
condition/disability and environment?
• Are there accommodations that will remove the barrier?
• Does the individual have equal access without
accommodation?
• Does the proposed accommodation alter the fundamental
elements?
• Will the accommodation result in undue hardship?
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“As social movements mature, they begin to look
beyond the ‘letter of the law’, which emphasizes ethics
and values, and promulgate systemic changes in
attitudes, behaviors and institutional structures.
Leslie Kanes Weisman
DISABILITY - LEGAL
• A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits
a major life activity
• A record of such an impairment
• Being regarded as having such an impairment
Physical Condition + Substantial Limitation
DISABILITY – IN PRACTICE
• A sociopolitical construct
• A key aspect of the human experience, with social,
political and economic implications for society as a
whole
• Perpetuated by exclusive design and environmental,
attitudinal and economic barriers, whether intentional
or inadvertent
TRADITIONAL FRAME OF DISABILITY
• “The disability” is deficient, abnormal, negative
• “The problem” resides within the individual
• The remedy is cure or normalization of the individual
• The intervention agent is the professional
15
Pitiable - in need
of help
16
Comical,
Childlike,
Incompetent
17
Inspirational
Supercrips
18
Sinister, Evil,
Criminal
19
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PROGRESSIVE FRAME OF DISABILITY
• Disability is a difference
• The condition is neutral
• “The problem” results from interaction between the
individual and environment
• The environment is the focus of remedy
• The intervention agent can be anyone who can affect
the design of the environment
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“Buffalo Hunter"
Ernie Pepion
22
DANCE AND MOVEMENT
23
DISABILITY IS AN ART
"Disability is not a
`brave struggle' or
`courage in the face
of adversity.'
Disability is an art.
It's an ingenious
way to live.“
Neil Marcus
25
Reframing Disability Through Design
DESIGN
UNIVERSAL DESIGN
The design of products and environments to be
usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible,
without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
The goal is to increase access for people with
divergent needs and preferences without treating
them differently.
ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING UD
• Variation in human characteristics is natural
• Design is ubiquitous and profoundly affects how we
interact with the world around us
• Products, activities and environments can be accessible
AND elegant, functional, effective
• Integrating inclusive elements during design is less
cumbersome, energy-intensive and expensive than
adding them
• Separate is not equal
EXCLUSIVE
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ACCOMMODATED
30
INCLUSIVE
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EVERYTHING IS DESIGNED!
• Products
• Buildings
• Technology
• Policies
• Services
• TESTS
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DISABILITY RESOURCES RECONSIDERED
Disabled student with functional limitations which
substantially limit a major life activity such as learning in
the educational environment
OR
Student, in the disabled educational environment with
functional limitations which substantially limit a major life
activity such as learning
Permission, Molly Sirois, University of Oregon
QUESTIONS
• Where do we locate the ‘problem’?
• How much more complicated is it to achieve
access for disabled students than non-disabled
students?
• What messages about disability do we send?
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Accommodations
Universal Design
• Individually focused
• Environmentally focused
• Reactive
• Proactive
• Differential treatment
• Equal experience
• Separate
• Inclusive
• Consumable
• Sustainable
• “Immediate”
• “Long-range”
36
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CLASSROOM TESTS
• not tested for validity
• time frame
• knowledge of test design features
• flexibility.
WHY ACCOMMODATE?
• Legally required
• Right thing to do
• To measure what the student’s learned
• To measure what you’ve taught
• Diversity
UNFAIR ADVANTAGE
• Fair vs. Equal
• The law is clear:
• If it is not a fundamental alteration or undue hardship it
is reasonable.
• If it is reasonable, it is not providing an unfair
advantage.
• Students without disabilities are not disadvantaged by
students with disabilities having accommodations.
• Students without disabilities do not face disability based
barriers.
TIME
• What is the test designed to measure?
• Are there psychometric or pedagogical reasons for the
length of the exam?
• Is the time limit set based on common experience
about when students finish?
• Are most students expected to finish the exam?
• Are concerns about providing extra time logistic?
DESIGNING ACCESSIBLE ASSESSMENTS
• Identify learning objectives
• What’s negotiable and what’s not
• Options:
• Take home, Projects
• Online tests
• Shorter using test banks or randomized items
• More frequent assessments
Design is a funny word. Some people think design means
how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it
works.
Steve Jobs
Design is a Moral Issue.
Jef Raskin,
Apple Computer Designer

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