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Implementing LEA Actions Based on the Critical Components of Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) contains important specifications related to the timely provision of printed textbooks and related printed core materials in specialized formats (braille, large print, audio, and digital text). The quality indicators and critical components were developed by the AIM Center to assist state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) with planning, implementing, and evaluating dynamic, coordinated systems for the timely provision of AIM.

The critical components of quality indicators for the provision of accessible instructional materials provides a framework to highlight suggested actions for LEAs. The recommended activities are not exhaustive but serve as a basic organizer for consideration.

Quality Indicator 1: The education agency supports the provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible instructional materials to all students with disabilities who require them.

Intent: IDEA requires the provision of instructional materials in accessible formats to students with disabilities who need them. No SEA or LEA can deny instructional materials in accessible formats to students with disabilities who need them for any reason (e.g., type of disability, copyright eligibility, type of format needed, administrative concerns, fiscal concerns).

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following in the development of a coordinated system for the provision of AIM:

  • Has a means of providing each of the four formats been identified?
  • Do purchasing contracts with publishers include language requiring publishers to deposit NIMAS compliant files in the NIMAC or is there a means to purchase accessible instructional materials directly from the publisher that are produced in or may be rendered in specialized formats?
  • Can all students needing the formats be served by some part of the system?
  • Is the means of acquiring each of the formats widely communicated?
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

Quality Indicator 2: The education agency supports the provision of appropriate accessible instructional materials in a timely manner.

Intent: IDEA requires states to define "timely manner." In general, "timely manner" means that schools provide accessible instructional materials to students with disabilities who need them at the same time that non-disabled peers receive their instructional materials. Appropriate consideration should be given to factors that could delay that access. Agencies should have clearly defined policies and procedures to identify and address sources of delay.

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following in addressing timely manner.

  • Is there a state definition of timely manner?
  • Is there a tracking system and is the data used to improve efficiency?
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

Quality Indicator 3: The education agency develops and implements written guidelines to define the responsibilities and actions needed for effective and efficient provision of accessible instructional materials.

Intent: Written guidelines identify the roles of all responsible parties and the knowledge, skills, actions, alignment, and coordination required for delivery of accessible instructional materials in a timely manner. IDEA requires SEAs to work collaboratively with the state agency responsible for assistive technology programs.

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following in the development and dissemination of written guidelines:

  • Do you have written guidelines and are they comprehensive?
  • Was the QI Components document used as a guide to determine components to include?
  • Was a decision-making process related to need, selection, acquisition, and use included?
  • Do the guidelines address consideration of the need for AIM and inclusion of AIM in the IEP?
  • Have roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders been identified?
  • Have multiple representations and means of distribution of the written guidelines been included such as the following?
    • Brochures
    • Policy manual
    • Web site with online form of guidelines
    • Hand-outs of guidelines distributed through appropriate channels
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

Quality Indicator 4: The education agency supports learning opportunities and technical assistance to facilitate the identification of students with disabilities who need instructional materials in accessible formats, as well as the selection, acquisition, and use of appropriate accessible formats.

Intent: Learning opportunities are based on the needs of and are readily available to students, families, staff, pre-service educators, and other stakeholders. Training and technical assistance include topics pertinent to the identification of students with disabilities who need instructional materials in accessible formats as well as the selection, acquisition, and use of accessible instructional materials.

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following in the provision of AIM learning opportunities and technical assistance:

  • Are multiple content topics and multiple audiences included?
  • Are the topics presented in a way that matches the interests and responsibilities of the audience?
  • Are multiple methods of delivery included?
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

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

Intent: Data are collected that measure the degree to which accessible instructional materials are 1) provided to students with all types of disabilities in an equitable manner, 2) provided at the same time as print formats, and 3) of quality sufficient to support appropriate instruction and achievement.

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following in developing a systematic process to monitor and evaluate all aspects of the system:

  • Are data being collected?
  • How are data being collected?
  • What data are being collected?
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

Quality Indicator 6: The education agency uses data to guide changes that support continuous improvement in the selection, acquisition, and use of accessible instructional materials.

Intent: Data are systematically analyzed to gauge effectiveness of current practice and are used to inform actions needed to improve future practice.

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following related to analyzing and using data:

  • Has a plan been developed to analyze and use the data?
  • What strategies are used to involve a variety of stakeholders?
  • How is the information disseminated?
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

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

Intent: Sufficient fiscal, human, and infrastructure resources are committed to ensure that student needs are appropriately addressed (e.g., identification, delivery of services, professional development).

Suggested LEA actions: To effectively address this quality indicator, consider the following related to allocating resources:

  • Are sufficient fiscal, human, and infrastructure resources allocated to meet the needs?
  • Are the needs of all stakeholders addressed?
  • What collaborations are in place and should others be initiated?

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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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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Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM)

Print-based educational materials converted into specialized formats, related to the requirements of the IDEA statute.

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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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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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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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Technology

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

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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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