Pearson Assessments is committed to implementing international
accessibility guidelines, specifications, and best practices in order
to make continuous improvements in the accessibility of our products
and services. Several members of the Pearson Assessments business
actively participate in standards groups that develop and maintain
internationally recognized accessibility guidelines and
Digital Accessible Information SYstem
The DAISY (Digital
Accessible Information SYstem) Consortium develops technical standards
and best practices for digital publishing and reading platforms to
ensure accessibility for people with disabilities in both specialist
and mainstream formats, including EPUB 3, the leading mainstream ebook
standard. A member of the Accessibility for Assessments team serves on
the DAISY – DIAGRAM Standards Group.
IMS Global Learning Services Consortium
IMS (Instructional Management System) Global Learning Consortium was established in 1995 as a “project of the National Learning
Infrastructure Initiative of EDUCAUSE.” IMS is “concerned with
establishing interoperability for learning systems and learning
content and the enterprise integration of these capabilities.”
Question & Test Interoperability (QTI) is tightly coupled with the
Access for All (AfA) Specification, which allows systems to record and
transfer users’ support needs and preferences when using computers, or
when taking computer-based assessments. Test candidate needs and
preferences are transferred using a Personal Needs and Preferences
profile (PNP). Paul Grudnitski, Pearson's Vice President of
Architecture and Innovation serves as a Co-Chair for the QTI 3
International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) works together with its partner organizations, the
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ,
to create technical standards and guidelines that include a diverse
range of accessibility consideration for everything from ergonomics,
information technology, assistive products, public information symbols
and the built environment. It is important to note that the World Wide
Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version
2.0 was approved as an ISO/IEC International Standard in 2012:
ISO/IEC 40500:2012 .
It was reviewed and confirmed again in 2019.
W3C Mathematical Markup Language (MathML)
MathML is a "markup language for describing mathematical notation and
capturing both its structure and content. MathML can be used to encode
both mathematical notation and mathematical content."
W3C Publishing Working Group
W3C Publishing Working Group works to “provide the necessary technologies on the Open Web Platform
to make the combination of traditional publishing and the Web complete
in terms of accessibility, usability, portability, distribution,
archiving, offline access, and reliable cross referencing.” A member
of the Accessibility Team for Assessments is a part of this working
W3C Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 2
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) "is a language based on XML for describing two-dimensional vector and
mixed vector/raster graphics."
W3C Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML)
W3C SSML Recommendation is "designed to provide a rich, XML-based markup language for
assisting with the generation of synthetic speech in Web and other
applications. The essential role of SSML is to provide authors of
synthesizable content a standard way to control aspects of speech such
as pronunciation, volume, pitch, rate, etc. across different
synthesis-capable platforms." The W3C Pronunciation Task Force
wiki page on SSML efforts and research.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) “develops standards and support materials to help people understand
and implement accessibility.” WAI is a part of the
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) ,
which is an international community of member organizations that work
with full-time W3C staff and the public to develop web standards.
Pearson continually works toward conformance with the following WAI
guidelines and has representatives working on several WAI efforts:
Accessibility Education and Outreach Working Group
Accessibility Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) develops educational resources and awareness and training materials
about accessibility. Brent Bakken, the Director of Strategy and
Education for the Accessibility Team for Assessments, serves as
Co-Chair of the EOWG.
Accessibility Guidelines Working Group and Task Forces
Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AGWG) develops and maintains a comprehensive list of
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) .
WCAG covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web
content and Web applications accessible. Three members of the
Accessibility Team for Assessments are a part of AGWG efforts.
Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Task Force is developing "a framework and repository of test rules, to
promote a unified interpretation" of WCAG, including "the
development of custom test rules." The Accessibility for
Assessments Team has one member on the ACT Task Force.
Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Task Force (COGA) is "a joint Task Force of the
Accessible Platform Architectures (APA) Working Group
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AGWG) ."
COGA works to update existing W3C materials related to cognitive
accessibility issues and it produces "techniques, understanding,
and guidance documents," about the access needs of people with
cognitive and learning disabilities.
Silver Task Force is working on the next generation of accessibility guidelines
that will eventually replace WCAG. The new accessibility
guidelines "will address the process of making content and
functionality accessible to people with disabilities, including
the roles of content authoring, user agent support, and authoring
tool support." Two members of the Accessibility Team for
Assessments serve on the Silver Task Force.
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) specification can improve the accessibility and
interoperability of web content by properly conveying "user
interface behaviors and structural information to assistive
technologies" through semantic markup. ARIA is especially helpful
"with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls
Pronunciation Task Force is working to "provide normative specifications and best practice
guidance so that text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis can provide
proper pronunciation of HTML content." A member of the
Accessibility Team for Assessments is a part of this task force.