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K-12 Critical Components of the Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials & Accessible Technologies

The Critical Components for the Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials and Accessible Technologies for K-12 Education include actionable language specific to a K-12 audience. For more information on how to use the quality indicators and critical components and how they were developed, see the Preface to the Quality Indicators.

You can also download the Quality Indicators and Critical Components for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials and Accessible Technologies for K-12 Education.

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Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Accessible Technology

Technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Incorporates the principles of universal design.

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K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 1

Quality Indicator 1: The agency has a coordinated system for the provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who require them.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present across a coordinated system for the provisions of accessible materials and technologies.

  • A means for ensuring the provision of print materials in high quality accessible specialized formats (braille, large print, audio and digital text) and accessible technology to deliver them
  • A means for ensuring the provision of accessible digital materials
    • All digital materials procured from free (e.g., Open Educational Resources) and commercial sources meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA and Section 508 accessibility standards
    • All digital materials selected and acquired by educators for curriculum content (e.g., web pages, video, apps, software) are accessible
    • All digital materials created by educators for curriculum content (e.g., web pages, video, electronic worksheets) are accessible
  • A means for ensuring the provision of accessible technologies that are either directly usable without assistive technology or made usable with assistive technology
    • All technologies procured from free and commercial sources meet WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 accessibility standards
    • All technologies selected and acquired by educators for management and delivery of curriculum (e.g., learning management systems and technologies that deliver content, learning activities, and assessments) are accessible
  • A means for ensuring the provision of accessible materials and technologies to learners who need them with appropriate copyright protection
    • Learners who are served under IDEA and meet copyright criteria (requirements for using files sourced through the NIMAC)
    • Learners who are served under IDEA but do not meet copyright criteria
    • Other learners who meet copyright criteria
    • Other learners who do not meet copyright criteria
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to developing and sustaining a coordinated system of sources for accessible materials and technologies

Technology

Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Print Instructional Materials

Printed materials written and published for use in elementary and secondary school instruction, required by a SEA or LEA for use by students in classroom.

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Audio

Digital form or representation of a sound which may be used for non-visual access to text and images.

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Digital Text

Published material retrieved and read via a computer.

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Accessibility

Access for all people, including people with disabilities, to web environments.

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Accessibility Standards

Current or revised electronic and information technology accessibility standards developed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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LMS (Learning Management System)

Software application or system that provides educational programs and their components.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law governing rights of children with disabilities to receive free and appropriate public education in least restrictive environment.

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National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC)

Central national repository established at American Printing House for the Blind to store, validate, maintain and disseminate NIMAS filesets.

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K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 2

Quality Indicator 2: The agency supports the acquisition and provision of appropriate accessible materials and technologies in a timely manner.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present when addressing timely manner.

  • A state definition of timely manner as required by IDEA
  • A means for ensuring timely delivery
    • Tracking timely delivery (e.g., delivery log, exception tracking by educators, students, and families)
    • Coordinating with Accessible Media Producers (AMPs)
    • Including timelines in purchasing agreements with publishers and technology vendors
    • Procuring accessible materials and technologies that are available
    • Requiring that educators select, acquire, and use accessible materials and technologies
    • Requiring that educators use accessibility practices when creating materials (e.g., documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and other self-made materials)
    • Identifying delays to timely manner (e.g., late selection of materials; failure to include NIMAS and material and technology accessibility language in RFPs and purchasing contracts; delayed publisher preparation and delivery of files to the NIMAC; failure to procure accessible materials that are available; late identification of students; delayed follow-up on IEP decisions; unavailability or lack of use of AT or other content delivery devices; lack of training on how to select, create, and use accessible materials and technologies)
    • Correcting identified delays
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to the timely delivery of accessible materials and technologies

Accessible Media Producers (AMPs)

Produced specialized formats of instructional materials for use by blind or other persons with print disabilities.

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National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

A technical standard used to produce XML-based source files for print-based educational materials.

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Individual Education Program (IEP)

Written plan individually developed for students identified as having a disability under IDEA.

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K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 3

Quality Indicator 3: The agency develops and implements written guidelines related to effective and efficient acquisition, provision, and use of accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be included in the development and dissemination of written guidelines.

  • Guidance that specifies federal, state and local policies (e.g., statutory and regulatory requirements including but not limited to timely provision, technology accessibility standards, provision of AEM in the IEP, copyright protection and management of print and digital materials, definitions)
  • Procedural guidelines for the decision-making processes for providing accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who need them
    • Determination of need
    • Selection of formats and/or features for educational participation and achievement
    • Acquisition of formats and features
    • Determination of supports for use
    • Inclusion of accessible materials and technologies in transition plan/Summary of Performance (SOP)
    • Notation of where to go for help
  • Procedural guidelines for overall procurement processes for providing accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who need them
    • Priority selection of accessible materials and technologies in procurement procedures, including digital accessibility language in RFPs and purchasing contracts
    • Procedures for selecting or creating accessible digital materials (e.g., accessible documents, closed captioning, audio description services)
  • Delineation of duties and responsibilities at all levels of the SEA or LEA
    • General education
    • Curriculum development
    • Materials and technologies procurement
    • Administration
    • Instructional and information technology
    • Special education
    • IEP team (educators and families)
    • Assistive technology
    • Instructional and related services
  • Guidelines represented in multiple formats (e.g., print, digital, audio, electronic or embossed braille) and widely disseminated through multiple means (e.g., website, policy manuals, handouts)
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to the development and dissemination of guidelines

Video Description

Inclusion of verbal or auditory descriptions of on-screen visuals intended to describe important details not contained from main audio output.

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Local Education Agency (LEA)

Agency legally authorized to provide administrative control or direction of publically funded schools.

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K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 4

Quality Indicator 4: The agency provides or arranges for comprehensive learning opportunities and technical assistance that address all aspects of the need, selection, acquisition and use of accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be included in learning opportunities and technical assistance.

  • Targeted topics that provide all involved individuals with the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to fulfill their responsibilities (e.g., legal issues, policies and procedures, decision making, copyright regulations and management of accessible materials, structure and utility of formats, technology systems and updates, acquisition sources, implementation practices)
  • Intended audiences include, but are not limited to
    • Administrators
    • Educators
    • Librarians and media specialists
    • Students and families
    • SEA and LEA personnel
    • Technology directors and instructional technology staff
    • Transition support staff
  • Designed in ways that
    • Leverage local, state, and national resources
    • Consider the roles and responsibilities of the intended audience
    • Use multiple means and formats for delivery (e.g., coaching, presentations, webinars, videos, websites, virtual communities, social media, electronic newsletters)
    • Meet WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 accessibility standards (e.g., accessible website and digital materials, closed captioning and audio description of video, transcripts of audio, live captioning for webinars, multiple formats of print materials)
    • Acknowledge readiness levels of participants (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced)
    • Vary in intensity and duration as appropriate to the topic and audience
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to capacity building on all aspects of accessible materials and technologies

K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 5

Quality Indicator 5: The agency develops and implements a systematic data collection process to monitor and evaluate the equitable, timely provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present in a systematic process to evaluate all aspects of the system.

  • Strategies for collecting data on the extent to which learners effectively receive appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies in a timely manner
    • Timely identification of students
    • Students served
    • Disability categories
    • Student demographics
    • Formats provided
    • Sources of accessible materials and technologies used
    • Timely delivery
    • Quality of materials (e.g., accuracy of coding and content, ease of use)
    • Student and family feedback (e.g., meetings, interviews, conversations, surveys)
  • Strategies for collecting data on the legal compliance of materials and technologies
    • Compliance with copyright in the management and use of digital materials
    • Materials procured that meet WCAG 2.0 AA/Section 508 standards
    • Technologies procured that meet WCAG 2.0 AA/Section 508 standards
  • Strategies for collecting data on learning opportunities and technical assistance provided to stakeholders
    • Providers
    • Delivery formats (e.g., coaching, webinar, video, virtual community)
    • Evidence of impact (e.g., proportion of educators selecting and creating accessible digital materials, records of timely delivery, student satisfaction with accessibility of materials and technologies)
  • A plan for collecting and maintaining data on student use of accessible materials and technologies
    • Collection methods
    • Selection of a data management system that supports
    • Legal requirements related to student confidentiality
    • Monitoring of use by individual students
    • Cross-referencing data on student use with data on disability categories served
    • Cross-referencing data on student use with data on (school, LEA, SEA) student population demographics
    • Data collection timelines
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to developing and implementing a systematic data collection process

K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 6

Quality Indicator 6: The agency uses the data collected to guide changes that support continuous improvement in all aspects of the systemic provision and use of accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present when analyzing and using data.

  • A specific plan for analyzing and using the data, including, but not limited to
    • Purpose for which the data will be used
    • Audiences with whom the data will be shared
    • Strategies for both quantitative and qualitative analysis
    • Strategies that protect individual student identities
    • Timeline for periodic review of data
    • Timeline for implementation of data driven decisions
  • Participation in analysis of data by various stakeholders (e.g., administrators, technology directors, educators)
  • Strategies for cross-referencing data on timely delivery of high quality accessible materials and technologies with data on student independence, participation and progress
  • Strategies for cross-referencing data to determine equity in the provision of accessible materials and technologies
    • Cross-referencing student use data with data on disability categories served
    • Cross-referencing student use data with (school, LEA, SEA) student population demographic data
  • Multiple means for dissemination of results to targeted audiences
  • Use of data to improve future practice, program planning and resource allocation
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to using data to inform changes in the provision of accessible materials and technologies

K-12 Critical Components for Quality Indicator 7

Quality Indicator 7: The agency allocates resources sufficient to ensure the delivery and sustainability of quality services to learners with disabilities who need accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be included in allocating resources.

  • Multiple resource types are provided, including, but not limited to
    • Fiscal (e.g., funds are allocated for equitable provision of accessible materials and technologies)
    • Human (e.g., staff at multiple levels with knowledge to assist with selection, acquisition, and integration of accessible materials and technologies in instruction)
    • Infrastructure (e.g., coordinated data systems, coordinated provision systems, instructional technology, assistive technology, training)
  • Resources are used to address the needs of all stakeholders, including, but not limited to
    • All learners being served
    • Educators
    • Instructional and information technology staff
    • Families
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to leveraging resources for the benefit of all stakeholders