How can math assessments be made accessible?
Classroom, state accountability, and other math assessments are typically designed for a student who can use a pencil and paper. When the test administration is inaccessible to a student with a disability, reasonable accommodations will need to be provided to afford equal access to the instrument. For example, a person could record answers for a student who cannot do so independently.
For a test-taker with a visual impairment, a reasonable accommodation may be an alternate format such as a Braille, tactile, large print, or recorded version of test questions and instructions. A teacher or an assistant may also read the material out loud to the student. An option for some students may be to use a digital version of the test. Optical character recognition (OCR) software can be used to create a digital version. But, because OCR software is typically unable to process mathematical symbols, someone must edit the file to enter accessible math equations using an editing tool such as MathML. After the MathML equations have been entered, the test can then be used with any MathML-aware assistive technology to provide speech, Braille, or enlarged text access. For this process to work efficiently In the case of an online test administration, the test publisher would need to produce math equations using MathML instead of image formats to allow the student to access the images with assistive technology.
For more information on creating accessible math, consult the following Knowledge Base articles: Are there commercial products designed to make math accessible to students with disabilities?, How can I create math and science documents that are accessible to students with visual impairments?, and How do I create online math content that is accessible to students who are blind?
Last update or review: January 22, 2013