Computerized State Common Core Assessments
 
American Council of the Blind
Resolution 2013-04
 
Summary

 
This organization declares its vehement opposition to the implementation of state-administered computerized common core assessments which do not permit students with disabilities to use their preferred assistive technology to take such tests.
 
WHEREAS, two federally funded projects, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are developing computerized testing tools which will be used by participating states to assess student ability in English language arts and mathematics in accordance with the Common Core State Standards; and
 
WHEREAS, nearly all states in the union are voluntarily participating in the two consortia; and
 
WHEREAS, states that participate in these consortia are committing to implement both the specific testing methodologies they develop and the testing accommodations policies for test takers with disabilities which they adopt; and
 
WHEREAS, advocates for students with disabilities are having mixed results negotiating with these consortia concerning their proposed testing methodologies and accommodations policies; and
 
WHEREAS, these consortia are apparently stubbornly intending to require students with disabilities to make use of so-called built-in accessibility features to take the computerized common core assessment tests rather than also allowing students to use their preferred assistive technology; and
 
WHEREAS, this reluctance is seemingly based on the unfounded belief that test security cannot be ensured when students are allowed to use their preferred assistive technology; and
 
WHEREAS, these consortia have also proposed accommodations policies that would, for example, limit student use of read-aloud functionality as an alternative to visual or tactile decoding; and
 
WHEREAS, both the intention to exclude use of assistive technology and the overly restrictive accommodations policies previously proposed would have a detrimental effect on student test performance; and
 
WHEREAS, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that the accommodations preference of the individual with disabilities is to be given priority; and
 
WHEREAS, in implementing computerized common core assessment tests, states that deny students the ability to use their preferred assistive technology or that otherwise set up accommodations policies that restrict provision of preferred appropriate accommodations will be in violation of federal law; and
 
WHEREAS, rather than ensuring test integrity and the validity of test results, denying appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities will, in fact, undermine the legitimacy of these assessments and invalidate test results inasmuch as students who are forced to abandon techniques they regularly employ will not be assessed on what they know but how well they perform using unfamiliar and questionable accommodations; and
 
WHEREAS, the new assessment tools under development are expected to begin to be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year;
 
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 10th day of July, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, that this organization declare its vehement opposition to the implementation of state-administered computerized common core assessments which do not permit students with disabilities to use their preferred assistive technology to take such tests; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization engage in all appropriate advocacy to ensure that test methodologies and accommodations policies meet the unique needs of students who are blind or visually impaired; and
 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization join with like-minded organizations representing students with disabilities to continue and step up communications and negotiations with SBAC and PARCC to achieve their commitment to appropriate testing methodologies and accommodations policies for all students with disabilities.
 
Adopted.
 
Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary