In addition to supporting internal teams and customers, the Accessibility Team for Assessments actively engages with external disability and advocacy organizations to help us better understand the unique needs of people with disabilities. There is no better source for disability-specific information than people with disabilities themselves. Through external organizations, we are able to connect to people with disabilities and get their direct feedback and advice on how to improve our products and services.
The Accessibility Team for Assessments regularly attends and sponsors disability and accessibility conferences. We also provide an annual scholarship for a student with disabilities who plans to pursue a career in Education. Some of our team members volunteer for external disability and advocacy organizations and even serve in leadership roles within these organizations.
Recently, Pearson Able, our internal Employee Resource Group for employees with disabilities, was instrumental in having Pearson join Disability:IN , a member organization that empowers “businesses to achieve disability inclusion and equality.” Through this organization, the Accessibility Team for Assessments connects to other businesses that have accessibility programs. These connections enable us to exchange resources and ideas that further the cause of accessibility and equity in the workplace and in our products and services.
Another important area of community engagement is in the development of technical standards for accessibility through global organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), IMS Global, and the Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY) Consortium. Several members of Pearson’s Accessibility Team for Assessments serve as volunteers on W3C working groups and task forces. Brent Bakken serves as a Co-Chair of the Accessibility Education and Outreach Working Group through the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative and Paul Grudnitski, Pearson’s Chief Architect for the TestNav platform is a Co-Chair for the QTI 3 Specification through IMS Global.