Categories
Bridges Blog Series Assessment Accommodations April

Assessment Accommodations April: Guides to Testing Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students in Maryland

For individuals with disabilities, accommodations make the difference between access to opportunities and being shut out of those opportunities. Accommodations, while vital, vary from individual to individual and depend on many different factors. Join the Bridges Helpdesk as we explore understanding, identifying, and advocating for accommodations in the area of assessments, including quizzes and tests, state-required tests, and tests required for college admission and for earning college credit.

Join us as we explore blind/low vision-related accommodations, from definition through application on high-stakes tests.

  • April 5: Accommodations versus Modifications
  • April 12: Categories of Assessment Accommodations
  • April 19: Importance of Using Assessment Accommodations Consistently
  • April 26: Guides to Testing Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students in Maryland

In this fourth installment of our “Assessment Accommodations April” series, we share “Guides” to testing accommodations for tests required by the State of Maryland and “Guides” to tests required for college entrance and for college credit. These guides can help students, families, and educators understand which accommodations are available on any given test. This understanding will help all members of the IEP team identify and consistently provide needed accommodations to adequately prepare students for high-stakes testing and post-secondary education and employment.

Guides to Testing Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students in Maryland

College-related Exam Guides

College Entrance Exams (PSAT®, SAT®, and ACT®) for Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

College Board Credit-Earning Exam Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge Assessments Credit-Earning Exam Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

Maryland Assessments Guides

For Kindergarten Students

Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) for Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

For Students Grades 3-8 and High School

MCAP for English and Math for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

MCAP for Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Social Studies, and Government for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

MISA (Science) for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

Alternate MCAP and MISA for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

For English Language Learners

WIDA Screener for Kindergarten for Maryland Blind/Low Vision for Students Guide

WIDA Screener for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide—Paper Tests

WIDA Screener for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide—Online Tests

WIDA Kindergarten ACCESS for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide

WIDA ACCESS for ELLs for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide—Paper Tests

WIDA ACCESS for ELLS for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Students Guide—Online Tests

WIDA Alternate ACCESS for Blind/Low Vision for Students in Maryland Guide

For Students with “Significant Cognitive Disabilities”

Alternate MCAP and MISA for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Guide

WIDA Alternate ACCESS for Blind/Low Vision for Students in Maryland Guide

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Bridges Blog Series Assessment Accommodations April

Assessment Accommodations April: Importance of Using Assessment Accommodations Consistently

For individuals with disabilities, accommodations make the difference between access to opportunities and being shut out of those opportunities. Accommodations, while vital, vary from individual to individual and depend on many different factors. Join the Bridges Helpdesk as we explore understanding, identifying, and advocating for accommodations in the area of assessments, including quizzes and tests, state-required tests, and tests required for college admission and for earning college credit.

Join us as we explore blind/low vision-related accommodations, from definition through their application on high-stakes tests.

  • April 5: Accommodations versus Modifications
  • April 12: Categories of Assessment Accommodations
  • April 19: Importance of Using Assessment Accommodations Consistently
  • April 26: Guides to Testing Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students in Maryland

In this third installment of our “Assessment Accommodations April” series, we discuss why it is important to use accommodations regularly.

Content is Key

Most assessments, from pop quizzes in class to the highest of high-stakes tests, are used to measure one’s grasp of content. In all cases, performance on assessments should relate to an individual’s knowledge of the content area. Assessments should NOT be measuring other factors, such as the individual’s familiarity with the testing platform or method used.

Use Accommodations Early and Often

By identifying needed accommodations and using them often, you will get familiar with their use. This can be especially true for electronic assessments because you don’t want to be struggling to understand the technology during your assessment. The more comfortable you are with the test’s format, the more likely your score will reflect your actual knowledge level.

Advocacy for Full-time Accommodations

Your school should make sure that you have many opportunities to use whatever testing accommodations you need, such as screen reading/magnifying software, QWERTY/six-key entry keyboards, tactile graphics, allowable online accessible calculators, etc. Even pop quizzes and regular classroom tests should be provided using the accommodations spelled out in your IEP.

In fact, both Maryland and federal law require that IEP documents specifically identify all accommodations you need on all state-wide and district-wide assessments. See COMAR 3A.05.01.09.A(1)(f) and 34 CFR §300.320(a)(6)(i). Additionally, the Maryland State Department of Education directs that: “The accommodations provided to a student must be the same for classroom instruction, classroom assessments, and district and State assessments. The administration of an assessment should not be the first time the accommodation is introduced to the student.” See Maryland Assessment, Accessibility, & Accommodations Policy Manual, page 2-2 (eighteenth page of the PDF document).

If You Don’t Use It, You Might Lose It

Using accommodations helps you become familiar with them, but that’s not all. If you do not use an accommodation, it may appear that you do not NEED the accommodation at all. Regular use of an accommodation is important to preserve your right to that accommodation – at school, on high-stakes tests, in college, and at work.

Of course, there may be some accommodations that you don’t need all the time. For example, you might not need frequent breaks when taking quizzes or tests during a class period. However, for extremely long tests (tests that take several hours each, perhaps two or three of them in a day), you might need frequent breaks and/or extended time. Also, you might need different amounts of time depending on the content (English versus math) or depending on the kinds of questions (multiple-choice, short-answer, etc.). If you find that your need for accommodations changes depending on the type or format of the test, it’s important to document that.

Reach Out to the Bridges Helpdesk

If you are unsure about what accommodations you have or need or how to advocate to your IEP team to document them, contact us. If you want to discuss these matters, including how to develop your own “Reasonable Accommodations Request,” reach out to us. We are ready, willing, able, and eager to help!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Teen Blog

April 22 Newsletter Teen and Young Adult Programs


News from IMAGE Teen and Young Adult Programs March 2022

Highlights

Solutions 22 is right around the corner, and we want to make it a special evening. Join us as we honor our Volunteers and Partners & Celebrate four decades of innovation of service to people with disabilities. Friday evening, April 29th.

Cylburn Arboretum
4915 Greenspring Ave – 21209
There will also be livestream participation.

QR code that you can scan with your phone to register yourself for Solutions 22.

Save the Date!

Scan the QR Code or Click Below to Register for the Event.
Click Here to Register

Multiple squares in orange and teal stating that the IMAGE Center of Maryland and VME are having a celebration called Solutions 22.

Alt Text: April 29th Solutions 22. Older black and white image of three people looking off in the same direction. Second image is of a young man riding a specialized bike, wearing a helmet.

Logo for the Youth Leadership Form. "Where Leadership Takes Flight".
Alt Text: MD-YLF Logo (a bird flying past the capital building). Reads. Maryland Youth Leadership Forum. Where Leadership Takes Flight.

Open to: Maryland Students with disabilities in their last two years of high school
Cost: The forum is FREE for all of our participants
Date: June 23 rd to 25 th 2022
Location: Towson University
Deadline to apply: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 29th!
Interviews: Danielle Bustos, Maryland Youth Leadership Coordinator will contact applicants
about scheduling interviews.


About Youth Leadership Forum (YLF)


 Learn about assistive technology and how it can help gain independence
 Participate in the YLF Paint Night, Build Self Advocacy Skill poetry, and other social
activities.
 Meet people with disabilities who serve various roles in the community.
 Learn about the legislative process and advocacy.
 Meet alumni and other students from the state of Maryland.
 Meet Your State representatives.

For more information contact, Danielle Bustos at 240-898-2189/ dbustos@innow.org
or Shannon Minnick at 240-638-0070/sminnick@innow.org

Peer Mentor Spotlight

Three female Peer Mentor students smiling and posing shoulder to shoulder wearing Christmas PJ’s and reindeer Antlers.

Peer Mentor Application is CLOSED!

Applications for students wishing to become Peer Mentors for the Spring session of the Connect program are now CLOSED.
Interested in applying for Peer Mentorship? Email Jessica Leone for upcoming application windows.

Questions? Email Jessica Leone at Jleone@imagemd.org

Celebrating Fearless Moments
Calling all Students, Parents, Family Members, Service Providers and Care Givers! Do you have a fearless moment that you want to share? We love celebrating the accomplishments of our young consumers in every aspect of their lives, not just within our programs here at IMAGE. We want to hear from you! Message your fearless moment to Jessica Leone at jleone@imagemd.org and type “Fearless Moment” in the subject line. You might be featured in our next monthly newsletter.
Here is to being FEARLESSLY you today!

Upcoming Events

The Connect Program
Registering now for our virtual sessions!

Mar. 1 Mar. 15 Mar. 29 Apr. 12 Apr. 26 May 10
The Connect Program is a program that empowers teens and young adults with disabilities to step outside of their comfort zone, make connections with their community, build social experiences and recognize and achieve skills needed for increased independence in adulthood. These skills include money management, time management, social and communication skills, personal hygiene, meal planning and decision making skills just to name a few.

Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.
Click here to Register

PreETS Self Awareness and Self Advocacy Training Program
Registration are filling up fast for our next session beginning in June!

Want to be referred for this program? Contact Jessica Leone jleone@imagemd.org for information
The Self Awareness & Self Advocacy Training program through DORS is a five week program utilizing curriculum designed to empower teens with disabilities to explore areas of self awareness and promote the importance of self advocacy to enhance the overall independence and vocational opportunity of each student. During this program students will work with professional staff from The IMAGE Center to begin to engage in curriculum addressing Self Awareness & Advocacy, Disclosing Disability, Rights, Future Outlook, Transition Outlook and Utilizing Resources.
Contact jleone@imagemd.org learn more.

Support Youth Programs at The IMAGE Center

plant growing in cupped hands
Two hands holding a tree.

http://weblink.donorperfect.com/ConnectatIMAGE

Categories
Bridges Blog Series Assessment Accommodations April

Assessment Accommodations April: Categories of Assessment Accommodations

For individuals with disabilities, accommodations make the difference between access to opportunities and being shut out of those opportunities. Accommodations, while vital, vary from individual to individual and depend on many different factors. Join the Bridges Helpdesk as we explore understanding, identifying, and advocating for accommodations in the area of assessments, including quizzes and tests, state-required tests, and tests required for college admission and for earning college credit.

Join us as we explore blind/low vision-related accommodations, from definition through their application on high-stakes tests.

  • April 5: Accommodations versus Modifications
  • April 12: Categories of Assessment Accommodations
  • April 19: Importance of Using Assessment Accommodations Consistently
  • April 26: Guides to Testing Accommodations for Blind/Low Vision Students in Maryland

In this second installment of our “Assessment Accommodations April” series, we discuss the different categories of accommodations related to assessments, including high-stakes testing. Understanding these categories helps one determine which accommodations are needed to provide both access and equivalent ease of use when taking assessments.

Categories of Assessment Accommodations

Presentation

Presentation refers to how you interact with the assessment. Examples of presentation accommodations include:

  • Braille (hard copy or on a refreshable braille display)
  • Enlarged print (hard copy or using a magnification tool)
  • Via a computer or tablet using screen reading or magnifying software
  • Tactile graphics
  • Human reader

Response

Response accommodations deal with the manner in which you provide your answers and include:

  • Embossing braille (typically with a brailler, your responses are then transcribed)
  • Handwriting (your responses are then transcribed)
  • Electronic entry (into a QWERTY or six-key keyboard or using another data entry device; your responses are then transcribed)
  • Human scribe (you verbally provide answers; your responses are then transcribed)
  • Tactile graphics
  • Human reader
  • Calculator

Setting

Setting accommodations refer to the environment where the testing occurs. Common setting accommodations include:

  • Small group testing setting
  • Individual testing setting
  • Alternate location (might include testing at home)
  • Special furniture/desks
  • Headphones to reduce environmental noise

Timing/Scheduling

Timing/Scheduling accommodations refer to alterations in the length of time for a portion of the assessment or for the assessment as a whole. Common timing/scheduling accommodations include:

  • Time of day
  • Extended time
  • Frequent breaks
  • Multiple test sessions
  • Testing over multiple days

Determining Which Accommodations You Need

In order to get accommodations, you must show that you need them in order to have access to the assessment and/or in order to have equivalent ease of access to the assessment. Accommodations do not give you an advantage; they merely attempt to counter disadvantages you face because of the inaccessibility of the “regular” assessment.

While too many accommodations can slow you down, you are entitled to all the accommodations you need. For example, you might be a braille reader who uses both tactile graphics AND print graphics. You do not have to choose which type of graphic you will use; you have the right to request and receive both – assuming that you need the accommodations as a result of a qualifying disability.

Also, you are entitled to all the accommodations you need to meet all areas of disability. For example, a student might be a braille reader but might also have a reading disability. That student might need both braille assessments and human reader support. The human reader is needed because the student cannot efficiently or accurately read text as a result of the reading disability. The braille is needed because the student can read braille even though it is difficult because access to the braille may help the student focus on certain words in the passage. Again, the focus is on the student’s individual needs created by the student’s disabilities, not on disability categories.

Reach Out to the Bridges Helpdesk

Deciding what accommodations you need can be overwhelming, but know that we are here for you. If you want to discuss these matters, including how to develop your own “Reasonable Accommodations Request,” reach out to us. We are ready, willing, able, and eager to help!

Contact us

Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Categories
Uncategorized

Solutions 2022

Join us for our annual gathering of SOLUTIONS 2022, in-person or live stream, as we celebrate 40 years of excellence and empowerment in service to people with disabilities.

Friday, April 29, 2022 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm
at The Vollmer Center at Cylburn Arboretum
4915 Greenspring Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER OR MAKE A DONATION

For additional information email atyler@image.org or call 443-320-4007.

scan qr code to register.
Scan QR code to register.

Photo collage of Solutions 2022 awardees.

Support our Solutions 2022 Awardees (pictured above)
 
(L- R – top row)
  • VME Founder & Retired Mechanical Engineer – John Staehlin
  • “Image Peer Mentor of the Year” – Ciara Gentry
  • “Image VME – Alumnus of the Year” – Alex Levanduski (UMBC – Unique’s Trike pictured)
  • “Image VME – Project of the Year”-Jacob’s Therapeutic Swing – University of MD Team & VME Alums: Jacob Hogan*; Sabrina Johnson*, Seungbin Kim, Danielle Lawthorn, Ellenor Smethurst*, Mike Zimmerman; Professor: Dr. Vincent Nguyen; Volunteer Engineer: Steve Bailey
(L – R – bottom row)
  • “Image Community Partner of the Year” – The League for People with Disabilities, Inc.
  • “Image VME Volunteer of the Year” – Dr. Neil Rothman, Ph.D (Stevenson University)
Also, special recognition to Northrop Grumman – where VME was started in 1982!
 
(For Northrop Volunteers & employees: A Special Exhibit will be on display in Showcase Corner on April 18th & 19th – thanks to Volunteers Chuck Michaels & Patrick Burns) (*pictured above)

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