Guideline 4: Provide options for physical action that maximize students' opportunity to optimally interact and respond (e.g. navigate, act, compose, and construct meaning).

An assessment in a print format provides limited means of navigation or physical interaction (e.g., by turning pages with fingers, handwriting in spaces provided). Many interactive pieces of educational software similarly provide only limited means of navigation or interaction (e.g., by dexterously manipulating a joystick or keyboard). Navigation and interaction in those limited ways will raise barriers for some students—those who are physically disabled, blind, dysgraphic, or who have various kinds of executive function disorders. It is important to provide materials with which all students can interact. Properly designed assessment materials provide a seamless interface with common assistive technologies—such as voice activated switches, expanded keyboards, and so forth—that enable individuals with motor disabilities to navigate a text and express what they know.

Two images of AT. First image, student using mouse at computer.

Student uses a mouse click and a writing grid as a means of input to write a sentence using symbol based text.

Second image, screen the student sees and use of the mouse to select images for sentences.

Screen view as student uses a mouse click and a writing grid as a means of input to write a sentence using symbol based text.

4.1 Options in the mode for physical response

Students differ widely in their motor capacity and dexterity. To reduce barriers to learning that would be introduced by the differential motor demands of a particular task, provide alternative means for response, selection, and composition.

Image of a student pointing to images and text using a slant board for optimal positioning.

A slant board holds a page of text at an angled for optimal viewing as student points to each word while reading.

Three pair of specialized scissors, with  modified handles

Scissors with different handle structures allow students to cut materials using a variety of motor actions (typical grip, squeeze or push actions).

Learning through video:

Resources for the "National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials" (AIM) - see this website for teachers: http://aim.cast .org/

4.2 Options in the means of navigation and interaction

Students differ widely in their optimal means for navigating through information and activities. To provide equal opportunity for interaction during assessment situations, ensure that there are multiple means for navigating so that navigation and control are accessible to all students.

Resources for "WebAIM: Motor Disabilities, Assistive Technologies" - see this informational website for teachers: http://webaim.org/articles/motor/assistive

Resources for the "National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials" (AIM) - see this website for teachers: http://aim.cast.org/

4.3 Options for accessing tools and assistive technologies

Significant numbers of students consistently use assistive technologies for navigation, interaction, and composition. It is critical that assessments not impose inadvertent barriers to the use of these assistive technologies, which would interfere with determining what students have learned. An important design consideration for online assessments is to ensure that there are keyboard commands for any mouse action so that students may use common assistive technologies that depend on those commands. It is also important, however, to ensure that making an assessment physically accessible does not inadvertently remove its challenge to learning. The goal is not to make answers physically accessible, but to make the learners' ability to express or demonstrate their knowledge accessible.