E-assessment: Accessibility in practice: A case study of the Life in the UK Test

Authors

  • Matthew White learndirect

Abstract

Accessibility is a key issue facing e-assessment. In this paper, a broad definition of accessibility is deployed, including not only candidates with disabilities and specific needs being able to take the test, but also those with limited or no ICT skills. It is crucial to the validity of the test that a candidate's disability, specific needs or ICT skills do not influence the result of the test either positively or negatively. The paper looks at more than just the technological aspects by also focusing on the physical test environment: after all, there is no point in getting the technological aspects right if your candidates cannot access the technology in the test centre.
This paper presents the experience gained by learndirect in delivering the Life in the UK Test on behalf of the UK Border Agency , where an additional accessibility challenge is that most candidates will be tested in a language which is not their mother tongue. It shows that by including accessibility in the design principles of the test, rather than as an afterthought, that e-assessment, defined throughout as e-testing, can deliver an inclusive service open to all. It also shows that it is necessary to go beyond the minimum requirements demanded by legislation with respect to disability and discrimination (at least in the UK) if you are to deliver a fully inclusive and accessible service.

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