Project Activities

The ATEA project comprised a series of seven activities designed to investigate how to present technology-enhanced (TE) items to students with vision and motor disabilities. Qualitative guidance from experts was supplemented with feedback from teachers and students prior to testing alternative item formats with students.

Initial Expert Review, Spring 2013
Experts consisted of teachers of students with vision and motor disabilities, some of whom were blind or experienced low vision themselves, an occupational therapist, and a parent of a child with these challenges. Experts examined prototypes of a variety of TE assessment tasks obtained from public websites or prepared by CETE. Reviewers identified barriers to accessibility and provided the first recommendations on how to overcome those barriers and improve accessibility.

Teacher Panels, Fall 2013
Panels held in five ATEA consortium states included teachers of students with vision and motor disabilities, occupational therapists, special education administrators, and state department of education staff. Many panelists were braille readers who appraised the initial adaptation of TE items into braille. Teachers reviewed original and altered TE assessment items and tasks in multiple formats, providing guidance on the project’s initial progress toward reducing obstacles to accessibility.

Cognitive Labs, Fall 2013
Individual cognitive labs were conducted in three states with students in grades 3 through high school. Participants included students with vision and motor disabilities who participated in alternate, modified, and general assessments. Students critiqued assessment tasks online with and without oral presentation and screen magnification, in paper-and-pencil and large print formats, and in braille.

Student Survey, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
A survey of student characteristics solicited information from teachers of students with vision or motor impairments who had participated in large-scale field tests or small-scale item tryouts. Teachers reported on 66 students from 11 states in grades 3–12. Detailed information about students included disability categories, instructional accommodations, and use of assistive technology for sensory and motor disabilities.

Large-Scale Field Tests, Spring 2014
Tryouts of matched pairs of TE items in original and altered formats designed to enhance accessibility were embedded in large-scale field tests given to a general population of students in grades 3 to high school. These field tests provided an opportunity to compare identical item content in different formats for students who did not experience vision or motor disabilities and did not use accommodations. Results provided evidence that altering the layout or format of a TE item to reduce presentation and response barriers maintained item difficulty and construct measurement.

Small-Scale Item Tryouts, Fall 2014
Additional item tryouts sampled small groups of students with vision and motor disabilities in grades 3 to high school in 10 states. TE items were adapted for presentation on paper and pencil and braille test forms to match the altered formats validated by the large-scale field tests. While these item tryouts provided qualitative evidence that accessibility had been achieved, sample sizes were too small for quantitative comparison with matched samples of students who did not experience vision and motor disabilities.

Final Expert Review, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Expert reviewers critiqued the final products of the ATEA project and offered further guidance and advice on the next steps in this ongoing mission.