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Determining a PreK–12 Learner’s Need

Determining a learner’s need for accessible formats is the first step of the decision-making process. Examples of decision-making teams include IEP teams, 504 plan teams, and teams related to a school’s multi-tier system of supports (MTSS). Parents and caregivers are key team members and the learner is an active participant.

The team uses a variety of student data in the decision-making process. This can include reading assessment scores, diagnostic evaluations, achievement, teacher observations, and conversations with the learner and parents/caregivers.

The team considers three possibilities when determining a learner’s need for accessible formats:

  1. Evidence shows that the learner can read and access information from the same text-based instructional materials in the same format used across the curriculum by all students. In this case, accessible formats are not needed at this time.
  2. Evidence shows that the learner is experiencing difficulty reading or accessing some or all text-based materials due to the formats used in the curriculum. The team anticipates that the student will make adequate progress if exactly the same information is presented in one or more accessible formats. In this case, one or more accessible formats are needed at this time.
  3. Evidence shows that the learner needs modified content, such as a lower reading level or a change in what the student is expected to learn. In some cases, a learner may need modified content in an accessible format(s). The team determines whether the learner needs modified content only, or a combination of modified content and accessible format(s).

Our Need for Accessible Formats FAQ has helpful information for navigating the three options.

If the team determines that the learner needs one or more accessible formats, the next step is to select the most appropriate format for that learner. See Selecting Accessible Formats for PreK-12 Learners.

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