About the Accessibility Team for Assessments

Our Belief

All people have worth and dignity and deserve equitable access.

Our Vision

Achieve equitable access to our products and services for everyone, including people with sensory, physical, and cognitive impairments.

Our Mission

Support the development of accessible products and services by removing access barriers and creating accessible solutions that work well for everyone.

Core Functionality

The Accessibility Team for Assessments has been established to help teams design products that all people can use to improve their lives through learning, including people with disabilities. To accomplish this, we provide support in three key areas:

Accessibility Strategy and Education (ASE)

The ASE team provides training about what accessibility is, how to address it strategically in daily operations, how it improves products and affects development, and how to integrate it into the development life cycle. The ASE team collaborates with product teams, advocacy groups, accessibility suppliers, and other organizations to develop strategies to remove access barriers that may exist in Pearson products.

  1. Strategy - focuses on strategic tasks and activities that drive accessible design and development of Pearson products and services, including networking, sharing, and external collaboration.
  2. Education & Awareness - focuses on gathering, developing, and sharing accessibility learning materials and resources, as well as driving awareness of disabilities, barriers, and equal access for employees and customers.
  3. Training - focuses on the development and delivery of quality, targeted professional development to eliminate knowledge and skills gaps in the areas of accessibility and usability best practices.
  4. Accessible Materials Support - focuses on providing assessment-wide support for delivering a variety of accessible materials as well as fulfilling contractual requirements for quality braille production.

Accessibility Research and Efficacy (ARE)

The ARE team provides current and relevant research to drive Pearson’s accessibility efforts to meet our efficacy goals and eliminate risk related to accessibility. The efforts are distributed among three broad areas:

  1. Research and Dissemination of Best Practices - We conduct general research on accessibility, research specific to development and product needs for assessment and iterative usability studies with people with disabilities to inform best practice in accessible user experience.
  2. Outreach & Networking - We partner with advocacy groups and other organizations to gain a deep understanding of how various disabilities may impact learning and assessment outcomes. This work includes engaging in technical standards development through global organizations (W3C, IMS Global, ISO) to establish Pearson as a technical leader in developing best practices around emerging accessible technologies and coding best practices.
  3. Compliance & Monitoring of Laws and Regulations Related to People with Disabilities - This work includes collaborating with Assessment’s Legal Counsel to keep leadership apprised of the potential impact of U.S. and international laws, policies and accessibility standards on Pearson Assessments.

Accessibility & Accommodations (A&A)

The A&A team proactively engages with Contract Management Teams, product owners, development teams, other shared services teams, and clients to be an advocate for building accessible assessment products and services. The A&A team develops plans to address the accessibility of the assessments Pearson develops and the systems and tools that are used to deliver content to our customers. A&A provides guidance on how to best support students with disabilities by sharing information on how accessibility features and accommodations can support a fair and equitable assessment experience. These efforts are divided into three primary areas of focus:

  1. Support Accessibility Considerations for Winning New Business and Delivering on Existing Contracts by supporting business acquisition efforts and meeting the needs of current clients.
  2. Support Accessible Design of Assessment Content by helping content development teams understand accessibility standards and best practices for creating accessible assessments.
  3. Support Accessibility Needs of Product Owners and Software Developers - by supporting technology engineering teams as they build software products and services used by Pearson and our customers.

Members of all three service areas actively engage in technical standards and guidance development through organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and IMS Global. We believe that it is important to the end users of Pearson products that our team engages in developing best practices and guidance about how to make accessible products and solutions.

Ways of Working

We have a collaborative working model where experts from multiple fields come together to support Pearson teams in developing accessible assessment solutions. Diversity is our strength. Approximately 40% of our team members have disabilities and our team has expertise in a broad range of specialized areas, including but not limited to:

  • Accessibility Guidelines
  • Accessible Design Techniques (HTML, JavaScript, ARIA)
  • Accessible Documents
  • Accessibility Regulations
  • Accommodations
  • Assistive Technology
  • Best Practices in Authoring Alternative Text for Assessment
  • Braille
  • In-depth knowledge of all disability categories
  • Instructional Design
  • Psychoeducational Assessment
  • Publishing Accessible Digital Content
  • QA Testing with Assistive Technologies
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Sign Language
  • Special Education

Emphasizing a collaborative approach allows us to place proper focus on the needs of people with disabilities. The diverse nature of our team gives us the ability to truly understand the end user of our products and provide accurate and specific accessibility guidance to Pearson development teams.

Continuously Learning

Several members of our team have advanced degrees and specialized certifications. Each member of our team is supported and encouraged to continuously pursue new certifications and training to improve their knowledge and skills.