Accessibility: Legal Issues & Design Strategies for Certificate Programs & Certification Exams
Track: Test Development and Administration
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, any organization that offers or develops certification and assessment-based certificate programs must be aware of, understand, consider, and ensure their programs and policies and procedures align to accessibility standards and guidelines appropriately for candidates and certificants with disabilities. As a practical matter, what measures are needed to meet accessibility requirements may change as technology evolves and as widely-accepted industry benchmarks for accessible design, such as the WCAG 2.0 standards, gain broader acceptance. Accessibility requirements apply to program websites and mobile interfaces, with specific regulatory requirements applicable to courses and examinations. As program providers begin to react to the increasing demand from educational institutions and student advocacy groups to offer accessible programs, including educational/training content and assessments, there are many questions left unanswered and exceptions to be unpacked. While we should not overlook the importance of accessibility in education and testing, we must address the impacts to the integrity of the educational content and the exam’s purpose. Likewise, providers must consider the extent to which they are appropriately delivering content to diverse learners with an expectation of accommodation. And, they must be prepared to accurately and defensibly evaluate a candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities and the validity of examination results if the delivery or presentation of test items are changed. This session brings together the insights of a psychometrician, test development manager, instructional design consultant, and an attorney experienced in certification law and ADA accessibility to discuss the challenges associated with addressing accessibility for assessment-based certificate programs and certification/licensure exams.