Development of American Sign Language Guidelines for K–12 Academic Assessments


The federal Every Student Succeeds Act sought to close achievement gaps and provide all students with access to equitable and high-quality instruction. One requirement of the act is annual statewide testing of students in grades 3–8 and once in high school. Some students, including many deaf or hard-of-hearing students, are eligible to use test supports in the form of accommodations and accessibility tools during state testing. Although technology allows accommodations and accessibility tools to be embedded within a digital assessment system, the success of this approach depends on the ability of test developers to appropriately represent content in accommodated forms. The Guidelines for Accessible Assessment Project sought to develop evidence- and consensus-based guidelines for representing test content in American Sign Language. In this article, the authors present an overview of the Guidelines for Accessible Assessment Project, review of the literature, rationale, qualitative and quantitative research findings, and lessons learned.


Higgins, J. A., Famularo, L., Cawthon, S. W., Kurz, C. A., Reis, J. E., & Moers, L. M. (2016). Development of American Sign Language guidelines for K-12 academic assessments. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 21(4), 383–393. doi:10.1093/deafed/enw051