Appropriate Learning Media Assessments
Resolution 2016-02
Whereas, to meet the diverse literacy and learning needs of the heterogeneous population of students with vision loss, teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) must be prepared to provide instruction in and use of braille, instruction in print with or without optical and/or electronic devices, and instruction in dual media; and
Whereas, students who are blind or visually impaired (including those students who may have additional disabilities) should be appropriately evaluated to assess their individual learning media needs; and
Whereas, TVIs must have access to an array of assessment tools and techniques so that TVIs can tailor evaluations of students’ learning media needs to students’ unique characteristics, skill levels and other individual factors (including needs for appropriate lighting, contrast, and other low vision-related needs, etc.); and
Whereas, requiring the use of a single specific assessment would put students at risk inasmuch as TVIs’ ability to tailor assessments for any particular student would be needlessly restricted; and
Whereas, assessments conducted by TVIs should be research-based, data-driven, and validated; and
Whereas, there are currently no assessments available to TVIs that meet these exacting scientific standards for evidence; and
Whereas, frameworks for learning media assessments commonly used by TVIs today are nevertheless based upon best practices in the field; and
Whereas, the National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) is fundamentally flawed because its administration requires that all students be evaluated in a standardized manner that denies these students access to the classroom and testing accommodations to which they are entitled by law (including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act);
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 6th day of July, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that this organization:

  • Urge the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to protect the integrity of assessments conducted by TVIs by rejecting calls which expressly or impliedly require the use of the National Reading Media Assessment (NRMA) or any other single specific assessment tool or technique to determine the learning or literacy needs of all students who are blind or visually impaired;
  • Encourage state chapters and affiliates of this organization to advocate for appropriate assessments that honor students’ unique needs for reasonable accommodations and which recognize the diversity of learning and literacy characteristics inherent in the heterogeneous population of students with vision loss; and
  • Call upon the U.S. Congress to promptly enact the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act which, among other critical policy objectives, would significantly increase federal investment in quantitative and qualitative research allowing our field to identify evidence-based practices in assessment and instruction for students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind, and who may have additional disabilities.

Ray Campbell, Secretary