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FAQ: Matching Formats to Materials

Checkpoint 5 of selecting accessible formats is to match formats to the materials the student needs. The decision-making team uses the information gathered about the student, learning context, and accessible formats to select which materials are needed in which accessible formats. 

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Under what circumstances might a student need a material in two or more formats?

Students may need one primary accessible format for many tasks, but a variety of factors—including environments and tasks—may indicate a need for the same material in more than one accessible format. For example, a student may need one format for use in classrooms and another for homework at home. While a student may be able to use audio to listen to a novel while commuting, the student may also need an accessible digital text format to see and hear text simultaneously while writing answers to questions at home. In addition, if a student is in the initial stages of learning how to use a format such as braille, the student may need to use the newly learned format for some tasks while using a more familiar format for other tasks.

What should happen if the student disagrees with the format(s) selected by the rest of the team?

As with any other educational decision, the best means to determine which educational strategy is most beneficial for a student is to try both and collect data about the results of its use. Data-based decisions about accessible formats should take into account the specific tasks a student needs to perform and the change in student performance that the team hopes to see as a result of the use of accessible formats. Also, it may be that a student needs different formats for different tasks.

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