Assessing People with Disabilities
ETS Research Seeks Fairness for All Test Takers
All test takers, including individuals with disabilities, deserve high quality tests that deliver meaningful scores. This is why ETS pays special attention to the technical quality of its tests, making sure that they are fair and valid to all test takers.
ETS's current research on testing individuals with disabilities aims to:
- develop alternative testing formats such as computer-voiced test versions — like one already available for the GRE® test — for test takers who are blind or visually impaired
- use evidence-centered design to ensure that tests are accessible to students with disabilities
- examine the comparability and predictive validity of admissions tests
- explore new and emerging technologies that have the potential to improve access to technology-based assessments for individuals with disabilities
- determine the impact of different testing accommodations, such as extended testing time and read-aloud delivery
We are currently working on four disabilities-related projects that are supported by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal is to improve assessments and curriculum materials for students with learning disabilities, visual impairments, and mild to moderate cognitive impairments. These projects include:
- research to examine the use of feedback and the opportunity to revise answer choices on accountability assessments
- development of new math-to-speech technologies for students who are blind or visually impaired
- a project to incorporate refreshable braille capabilities into a computer-based testing platform
- the Technology Assisted Reading Assessment (TARA) project (to see a prototype, please visit TARA's website)
ETS researchers recently completed work on another IES-funded project — the Designing Accessible Reading Assessments project — which field-tested a two-stage reading assessment that allows a portion of the test to be read aloud.
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Watch Cara Laitusis, Senior Research Scientist at ETS, talk about our research on testing individuals with disabilities (Flash, 3:27).