Accessibility for Assessments

2021 Summer Accessibility Institute

Materials Accommodations Statement

Presentation Materials have been placed online for attendees to download and follow along during presentations. Please note that some materials provided may not be fully accessible at this time. We will be replacing these with fully accessible versions once they have been remediated after SAI.

Below is a list of downloadable materials from the 2021 Summer Accessibility Institute , presented by Pearson's Accessibility Team for Assessments. If you have any questions about any of these presentations, please email us.


Alt Text: Creating Images with Words

This session, presented by the National Federation of the Blind, will underscore the importance of alt text in educational materials and high-stakes testing, with key focus on best practices for creating alt text and when solutions other than alt text should be used.

Fireside Chat with Haben Girma & Dr. Florida Starks

Haben Girma is an internationally recognized human rights attorney who was the first Deafblind graduate of Harvard Law. During this fireside chat, Haben will share her lived experiences with racism, sexism, and ableism and explain the importance of enculturating anti-bias practices across Pearson. Haben will also explain the tools she uses to access digital environments and why it is so important to prioritize accessible and inclusive design in our products and services.

Why Accessible Products and Services are Important to Executive Leadership

In this session, three leaders in Pearson Assessments (representing Clinical, School and Pearson VUE assessments), discuss their plans for implementing assessment policy and why it is important. Art Valentine, Managing Director for Clinical Assessments will describe his and his team's efforts to support accessibility as both a product delivery and global technology content and service provider. Jon Twing will discuss leveraging the Pearson agreement with the National Federation of the Blind as a change driver and precursor to accessibility policy not only for Pearson Assessments but across Pearson plc. Farzana Ashraf will outline plans for our remote proctoring OnVUE platform to be WCAG compliant and why this is an important step for Pearson VUE for the future.

Corporate Disability Mentoring Program Changes Lives

The drop-out rate, unemployment rate, and underemployment of college students and graduates with disabilities is alarming. While there are numerous reasons for this, the Corporate Disability Mentoring Program has targeted one critical cause, namely: the dangerous combination of low expectations and a lack of knowledge about exploring career goals.  In this program, mentees are given crucial career advice, networking opportunities, and exposure to people in corporate environments that can help when it comes to their career progressions. Among the greatest rewards of the program, are the growth in confidence the mentors and mentees have shared as well as the simple fact that mentees are shown they have a champion in their mentors. Join this session to learn how Mentoring Changes Lives.

Introduction to Accessibility Champion Program

This session will provide a detailed overview of the Accessibility Champion Program. This role-based training program consists of a series of training courses designed to increase accessibility skill sets across Pearson. By becoming an Accessibility Champion, you will become a part of a collaborative network of experts who share knowledge and reduce the effort needed to effectively integrate accessibility into products and services. Accessibility Champions will learn how to integrate accessibility into the design and development of Pearson products and services. There are three Accessibility Champion levels: Accessibility Explorer, Accessibility Scout , and Accessibility Guide. Anyone can become an Accessibility Champion by joining the community and working to develop a base level of knowledge.

Accessibility Fundamentals: What is Accessibility & Understanding Disabilities & Barriers

In this session we are going to define what accessibility is and what it means for people with disabilities. In order to understand accessibility, we have to also understand people with disabilities, the tools they use to access digital content and how those tools need to interface with our assessment systems. We will discuss some of the challenges we face with making assessments accessible and then we will wrap things up by summarizing the services and supports you can get from the Accessibility Team for School Assessments.

Equipped to Test - Accommodation Style

Assisting candidates with access to exams is the job (and the passion) of the accommodation review team. We will discuss the most commonly requested accommodations as well as some of the more unique and challenging ones. COVID complicated our work and required some out of the box solutions that we will also share.

Accessibility Fundamentals: Assistive Technology and Adaptive Strategies

People with disabilities interact with websites and applications in unique ways. Sometimes people use specialized software and hardware to perform certain tasks, called Assistive Technology. Some assistive technology tools, such as word prediction and voice recognition are now becoming common tools that are also used by people without disabilities. We must create accessible content so it works for everyone. For this reason, it is important to understand how people with disabilities use assistive technology and adaptive strategies to access digital information.

Introducing Pearson Braille Services

This session will provide an opportunity to learn about the new internal braille line of business supporting School Assessment. We will discuss the plan for building out the operation to continue bringing new and existing contracts in-house. A high-level review of our processes will provide an understanding of the need for the extended lead times commonly requested. An opportunity for Q&A will be available to address specific needs.

Introduction to Pearson Assessments Accessibility Policy and Resources

This session will provide an overview of the Pearson Accessibility Policy for Assessments, as well as a brief introduction to the Accessibility for Assessments website. Participants will learn about the global accessibility policy framework and how the Accessibility Policy for Assessments aligns to this framework. Additional internal accessibility resources will also be shared. The overview of the policy will provide details of the intent of the policy, the continuous improvement framework, and the accessibility maturity model. It will also cover product team expectations, reporting, and how to use the policy resources to achieve accessibility milestones. In addition, the session will provide a brief introduction to the Accessibility for Assessments website. This site includes accessibility guidelines, training resources, current research, and how to request various types of support from the Accessibility Team for Assessments.

Accessibility Laws and Regulations

Executive Summary Course - This session will provide an overview of the laws that provide protections for individuals with disabilities and how these laws apply to our products and services. The session will focus on jurisdictions where we have corporate offices as well as cover emerging legal issues related to website and software accessibility. Canadian, UK, US, EU at a minimum

How to Make Dynamic Content And Interactions Accessible Using WAI-ARIA

When paired with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript and other development tools, the W3C's WAI-ARIA guidelines provide a way to make dynamic content and advanced user interface controls accessible. This Course will explain what WAI-ARIA is and when and when not to use it.

Overview of Accessibility Guidelines

Did you know that there are internationally recognized accessibility guidelines that Pearson references and sets expectations to implement during the design and development of our products and services? This session will introduce you to those guidelines, show you were they can be found, and expose you to other internal and external resources that help teams implement the guidelines to support accessible products.

Accessibility Fundamentals: Developing for Accessibility

Learn about best practices and standards required to consider when developing accessible products

Preparing Word Forms for PDF Conversion

Word documents are often the starting point for a larger project, such as creating Forms for conversion to PDF for sharing or posting online. When creating forms in Word, the design and layout of your content will have a significant impact on the accessibility of the PDF generated during conversion. It will also determine how much work will be required to make the new PDF an accessible Form.

This session is a hands-on workshop during which the presenter will work through preparing this file to be converted to a PDF. The presenter will be discussing the importance of the changes as they are being made as well as demonstrating how to make each change so that you can follow along if you wish.

Advanced Skills Note:
This session is advanced and assumes a basic understanding of Word including how to use the built in “Styles” to format text and apply semantic structure. While the presenter will be demonstrating how to apply these skills during the session, they will not be going into great detail. However, they will be providing Word Accessibility Resources for you at the end of the session.

Beyond WCAG: The Accessibility Design Review

The web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) can be powerful tools when determining the accessibility of a digital product like an app or a website. However, not all issues encountered by people with disabilities are encompassed by these guidelines. To help close that gap, the accessibility team for assessments implemented an accessibility design review process that looks for these issues that fall outside of the WCAG criteria. During this session we will look at why WCAG is not always sufficient, how the design review process is accomplished and the structure of the accessibility design review report.

Responsive Design

This course will review the proper way of developing a website with responsive design. Topics will include media queries, the HTML picture tag, and how to plan for responsive design.

  • Presenters:
    • Jeffrey Bernier - Lead Presenter
    • Eric Eggert - Co-Presenter
  • Downloadable Materials / Presentations:

Keyboard Accessibility and other Input Technology

Keyboard accessibility is one of the most important aspects of web accessibility. Many users with physical disabilities cannot use a mouse and blind users typically use a keyboard for navigation. In addition to traditional keyboards, some users may use modified keyboards or other input devices, such as switches, to control technology. There are many ways that a webpage can create difficulties for users who rely on a keyboard for navigation and it is important to consider keyboard accessibility when designing and creating content.

Creating Accessible Content for Internal Pearson Communications

This is an introductory level session, focused on disability, accessibility, and usability tips you can use right away. It will include pointers for where to find further guidance on making content, documents and meetings for all colleagues more accessible. The session will start with a very brief intro on what disability is and the prevalence of disability in society, disability in education, the economic case for digital accessibility, models of disability, and universal vs inclusive design. The session will also provide pointers on Microsoft resources to help create more accessible content, and some quick tips on more accessible meetings

Using Component Libraries to Design Accessible Products

After the Accessibility Team for Assessments evaluates a product, they produce an Accessibility Issues Report (AIR). This session will review several common components that might be listed as resources on AIRs. It will also cover other sources for accessible components that can be useful for developing accessible content and products.

Integrating Pearson's Accessibility Policy into workflows: Analyzing an Accessibility Issues Report

This session will explore what happens after the accessibility evaluation. We will dive into how the Accessibility Issues Report (AIR) is structured and how product teams can approach accessibility issue prioritization, including different strategies for prioritizing and road mapping the issues. We will also address and explain the Pearson Accessibility Policy and how this can help you understand prioritization and road map activities.

Using Testing Tools - Color Contrast Analyzers

The session will cover the impact in use of poor color contrast. What are the principals for colors used for accessible design? What tools can be used to measure contrast. Learn how to balance color contrast needs without making images hard to view for sighted learners.

Integrating Accessibility from the Beginning (maturity model KPI)

Participants will be introduced to the Product Accessibility Maturity Model and how to use the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) within the model to measure accessibility progress over time. Resources will also be shared for product teams to use as they progress through the maturity model.

Using Automated and Semi-Automated Testing Tools

Participants will learn how to use a variety of testing tools that will address multiple accessibility issues. For example, participants will learn how some people use keyboard navigation instead of a mouse, the importance of using color effectively, and how screen readers access content.

Matching Functional Needs to Assistive Technology: Deaf and Hard of Hearing

For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, their hearing loss puts limitations on the receipt of and response to information. This course will provide an overview of assistive technologies that help with access to information in products as well as guiding best practices for content development.

Creating an Accessible PDF Form

During this session we will convert a sample form created in Word to a PDF and walk through the process to create a fully accessible, fillable PDF form.

What you will Learn:

  • How to create multiple types of accessible form fields including: Single Line, Multi-Line (or Scrolling), Two Column, Form Fields within Tables, Radio Buttons and Checkboxes.
  • How to verify both the reading and tag order of the PDF file to ensure that content is presented in the correct order to users of assistive technology.
  • How to perform an accessibility check and correct any accessibility errors returned.

Advanced Skills Note:
This class assumes a basic understanding of accessibility tagging. Although we welcome students of all skill levels, if you have little to no experience with tagging PDFs, we must warn you that this session is advanced. We will not be covering basic techniques.

Accessible Data Visualization

Complex charts and graphs are among the biggest challenges in digital accessibility, and lack clear guidance in WCAG. In this session, you'll learn how to identify common accessibility problems in data visualization and how to create effective alternative descriptions.