NCSC TAO Drupal Open-Source Alternate Assessment K-12
project

NCSC

ASSESSMENT & EDUCATION - Open-Source, Accessibility, and Alternate K-12

The Challenge

Tests are vital to understanding a student’s capabilities - and thanks to the National Center and State Collaborative, a population of students with cognitive disabilities have access to content and tools well beyond paper and pencil. NCSC’s goal, to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve higher academic outcomes, framed the creation of ELA, Math, and Reading assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS). A multi-state, open-source assessment system arms teachers with the tools they need to connect with those students.

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Built in an open-source test delivery system, the platform has served nearly 100,000 students nationwide without per student test fees. In future, educators can adapt the system to their unique school system and needs without expending significant resources. The system can be deployed across various platforms, including desktop, tablet, and mobile, and delivers text, images, audio and video content.

This alternate assessment evaluates knowledge of Common Core Math and ELA (reading and writing) standards at grades 3-8 and 11. Additional accessibility and accommodation tools also helped overcome a variety of student challenges.

The Solution

NCSC’s goal is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post‐secondary options. To achieve this goal, it creates alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA‐AAS) to develop a multi‐state summative assessment system for students with significant cognitive disabilities. 

BT worked with the NCSC to develop the online delivery platform for this assessment system, which includes 30 to 35 items for each subject, mostly selected-response; one writing prompt per grade, allowing multiple modes of response and direct student input to online test, or teacher-entered responses.

BT incorporated the TAO open-source test delivery system for the NCSC assessment, which runs in current web browsers without requiring users to download the platform onto local computers. BT's system ensures the security of test and scoring data, and seamlessly links student enrollment, administrator qualification, and student demographic data functions with the test delivery platform.  

BT leveraged technology to improve the way K-12 students with cognitive disabilities are assessed. The robust alternate assessment platform empowers educators with more information and helps students reach their full academic potential. 

Built on an open-source test delivery system, BT's platform is highly flexible and scalable. Educators can adapt it to their unique school system and needs without expending significant resources. The system can be deployed across various platforms, including desktop, tablet, and mobile, and delivers text, images, audio and video content.  Another area Breakthrough prioritized was ease-of-use, which is absolutely essential for ensuring educator adoption, as well as ensuring that students are easily able to take the tests. The platform’s navigation is intuitive and clear, so students can efficiently make their way through their assessments without any issues. Educators and students alike can interact with the product’s features without any confusion or obstacles. Extensive testing was performed to ensure compatibility with a wide variety of accessibility tools including: gaze tracking, integrated audio content, keyboard navigation, screen readers, and hardware (custom keyboards).  

BT's NCSC platform enables K-12 school systems across multiple states to efficiently and effectively assess students with significant cognitive disabilities. This platform provides educators the solution to overcome challenges in assessing students with disabilities enabling this traditionally technically under-served student population to get the education and support they need to thrive.

Video

Doug Wilson of BT Speaks about the NCSC Program
BT Managing Partner Doug Wilson answers questions pertaining to the release of the NCSC assessment platform, including what it is, to which states it is accessible, and the minimal costs associated with it.

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