Common Core Testing Tech Issues

November 4, 2013

As 46 states adopt the Common Core standards and testing, the tools built into the universally designed tests are not enough for students with disabilities. Special needs students must be able to use the tools that work for them both in and outside of the classroom, says Christina Samuels, a staff writer for Education Week.

  • Over 5.8 million children classified as having a disability in 2011.
  • Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 69,200 were classified as having hearing impairments and 26,000 classified as blind or visually impaired in 2011.
  • In that same act, 125,000 were classified with multiple disabilities, 25,000 with traumatic brain injuries and 407,000 with autism.

The federally financed test consortia, with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment, are responsible for the creation of the general assessments that will be used by most of the students. The test consortia will be testing the tools that special needs students use in each state to certify the tools so that they can be used on the Common Core assessments. Some believe that the test consortia's efforts are going to be too little and too late to effectively certify the special needs tools for the assessments.

Special needs tools for lesson presentation:

  • Refreshable Braille displays.
  • Text magnifiers.
  • Tactile graphics.
  • Scanners with optical character recognition.

Special needs tools for student-response assistance:

  • Talking calculators.
  • Alternative keyboards.
  • Alternative mouse devices.
  • Touchscreen tablets.

Source: Christina A. Samuels, "Tech Assistance in Testing Poses Practical Issues," Education Week, October 28, 2013.

 

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