Measured Progress to Help SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Make Assessments More Accessible

Dover, New Hampshire --- January 25, 2012--- The SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) has chosen Measured Progress and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to help develop policies and a manual related to testing accommodations and accessibility for students who qualify for specific kinds of assistance when taking assessments.

SBAC is one of two multi-state consortia to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education to develop assessments based on the Common Core State Standards. (The second consortium is the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.) SBAC’s overriding charge is to develop a comprehensive set of assessments, each of which serves specific purposes ranging from meeting federal accountability requirements to enhancing teachers’ ability to use a variety of testing instruments in the classroom.

Accessibility and accommodation tools assure that students with disabilities and special needs receive the appropriate opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do. Such accessibility tools include magnification of text, text read-aloud, and the presentation of signed text.Students who benefit from accommodations include English language learners, students with disabilities, and students who fall into both categories.

Methods for meeting students’ accessibility needs have evolved rapidly over the past five years. The two companies’ shared ability to tailor accessibility and accommodations tools in a digital environment provides important opportunities to establish policies and guidelines to ensure future SBAC assessments offer the greatest level of accessibility for the broadest range of students, while also considering the needs and circumstances of individuals.

As the companies work with SBAC to develop guidelines related to accessibility and accommodations, it will be important to take into consideration individual SBAC states’ own accessibility policies, as well as emerging practices made possible by technology. The goal is for member states to be able to reach informed consensus on SBAC’s accessibility and accommodation practices and policies.

Both Measured Progress and ETS are not-for-profit companies, aligned in their dedication to making learning accessible to all children. Measured Progress brings to the collaborative a strong background in alternate assessment and assessment for English language learners. Measured Progress’s NimbleTools software ensures that students’ interaction with computer-delivered accommodations is controlled and unobtrusive. ETS conducts extensive research on various aspects of assessment. The company attracts and retains leading measurement experts and has a reputation for producing high-quality assessments and readily stepping up to meet changing assessment challenges.

“ETS and Measured Progress share a high level of commitment to teaching and learning,” said Measured Progress Senior Vice President Richard Dobbs. “We are honored to serve the SMARTER Balanced consortium on work that embodies our belief that all students can learn and should be counted.”

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