How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible?
Considering accessibility when designing exams provides you with a more accurate assessment of student learning and bring your assignments into closer alignment with learning objectives. Exams created with accessibility in mind can help you improve your assessment of student learning for all students, whether or not they have a disability.
Enhance college course accessibility
Do you think making exams accessible amounts to a “dumbing down” of your course?
Think again. Designing exams with accessibility in mind can provide you with a more accurate assessment of student learning and bring your assignments into closer alignment with learning objectives. Learn more about how enhancing accessibility can improve your assessments in How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible?
- Are you confident that your exams deliver an accurate assessment of student learning?
- Do your exams provide all students an equitable opportunity to demonstrate their learning, regardless of disability?
- Do your testing time limits, exam formats, and exam instructions reflect back to your course learning goals?
If you’re not sure, How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible? is the program for you. It’s particularly helpful if you’re new to accessibility issues and providing accommodations to students who need them.
Use exams to give students a chance to demonstrate their learning. But, as presenter Beth Harrison, Ph.D., director of the Office of Learning and Education at the University of Dayton, points out, before instructors draft questions for students, they should ask themselves, “What do I want students to demonstrate?”
This concise and content-rich CD shows the creative, accessible, and more focused assessment of student learning that can result when faculty adopt this approach.
In less time than you might spend grading one paper, you’ll learn about:
- Three key issues to consider when developing exams
- The importance of teaching context in assessment of student learning
- Instructor assumptions that can create barriers to learning
- The most challenging, yet frequently irrelevant, aspects of exams for students with disabilities
- Techniques to make exams more accessible
Making accommodations does not mean making concessions in academic rigor. In fact, designing exams with accessibility in mind can help you improve your assessment of student learning for all students, whether or not they have a disability.
Focusing on what you want students to be able to demonstrate will help you expand beyond traditional structures for exams, which can create barriers to learning, and develop more creative assessments, which will offer all students an equitable opportunity to show what they’ve learned.
How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible? will introduce you to this accessible-thinking process, show it in action, and offer suggestions on making it work for your courses. After participating in it, you’ll be able to:
- Use learning goal criteria when designing exams
- Analyze assessment situations
- Propose alternative ways to make exams more accessible
- Devise more accessible exams in terms of format, language, and testing time
With more than one out of 10 college and university students dealing with a disability, understanding how to make assessment of student learning as accessible as possible is knowledge you need to have. Exams and assessments are essential elements in academic life. Make sure yours are as accessible and learning-focused as possible, and order this Magna 20-Minute Mentor today!
This program is also part of the Universal Design 4-pack.
Elizabeth Harrison, Ph.D., is the director of the Office of Learning Resources (OLR) at the University of Dayton as well as the associate director of the Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center.
She is active at the state and national levels in the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and at the national level in the faculty development professional association (POD-Network).
Harrison has led workshops on universal design at higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada, and has presented on the topic at national conferences.
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