Issues in Standardized Testing for Students Who Are Blind

Standardized tests can pose accessibility problems for students who are blind. Find out what steps you can take to address this.

The question of accessibility in standardized testing looms large for many teachers and parents of students who are blind or visually impaired.  Pat Renfranz, who is active in groups for parents of children who are blind, addresses some of the major issues in her article What’s the Score? Issues in Standardized Testing for Blind Students.  She examines the affect of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on standardized testing and the implications for children who are blind.  Topics covered in the article include

  • Why she is interested in high-stakes end-of-year testing
  • Accommodations: Testing Ability, Not Disability
  • Special Considerations
  • Big Changes on the Horizon:  CBT or computer-based tests
  • Planned Accommodations for CBTs
  • What Parents and Educators of Blind Students Can Do

Renfranz recommends that parents and educators do the following:

  1. Be active members of the IEP team.
  2. Know who your school, district, and state testing administrators are, in both general education and special education.
  3. Ask the school, district, and state education authorities what tests are given to students in your child’s educational setting, and find out about the testing window and format of those tests.
  4. Ask state assessment officials if and when computer-based tests will be given to students in your state.
  5. Talk to your child or student about which tests she is being given or being excused from taking, and find out what her experience has been.
  6. If you suspect errors or a lack of accessibility, let administrators know as soon as possible, and in writing.
  7. Do not keep test issues to yourself.