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For January 2014:

How to make exams more accessible

We are now living in a world where the physical classroom is no longer the mainstream way for students to take their exams. Due to the rapid development of distance learning, we now find that the way for students to take exams or rather the ways for them to do so have also changed but the primary requirements are nevertheless the same.

The formats for students to take exams seem to be as follows at the present time. Written in a classroom environment, online at a testing center, or even orally. So in light of this, how can one ensure that exams continue to be made accessible to students who are blind, partially sighted, and to those with low vision? These are my suggestions.

  1. Make sure that materials are made available to students on a timely basis. That is, that the materials are in a readable format as needed and that they are made available at the same time as they are to the mainstream student. Materials should be provided in formats that students request; Braille, large print, electronic. On a timely basis means that all students should receive their exam materials at the same time.
  2. Additional time should be allowed for students who are blind, partially sighted, and to those with low vision.
  3. It helps greatly to provide a separate room for students mentioned above to be able to write their exams in. In this way they do not disturb others if they are not using headphones with their computers. This would also enable them to gain a greater comfort zone.
  4. There needs to be a must requirement that the access technology required for the student is able to work without any glitches with the hardware of the day. That is, screen readers, Braille displays, and magnifying software can perform adequately in combination with the computer hardware.

Of course, there are other requirements that could be appended to my list but this should be a good start.

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