Bookmarked 21 simple design elements that will make any School Assessment Task sheet accessible by Haley Tancredi (EduResearch Matters)
Access can be made easier or more difficult depending on the way the assessment task is presented; both in terms of visual presentation and in terms of the language used. The number and type of procedures required can also differentially affect students’ successful completion of the task. This approach to analysis helped us to produce a list of recommended design elements that will be useful to teachers as they plan and write up their assessment tasks.
Haley Tancredi, Jill Willis, Kelli McGraw and Linda Graham reflect on the assessment task sheet so common in the secondary classroom. Responding to the challenge of accessability, they collect together a number of design elements to support all students.

Visual accessibility

The layout of the task sheet helps the students access the important elements of the task

– The most important information is easy to find
– White space is used to separate sections
– Text size aids readability (11 or 12 point font with 1.5 line spacing)
– Margins are left-justified
– Visual cues direct student attention
– Information that is irrelevant to students is not included
– Procedural accessibility

Consistency and clarity of instructions

– Authentic context is relevant
– Common access barriers have been addressed in the design
– The task, objectives and criteria align
– Students are able to respond within the prescribed conditions
– Enough space and resources are provided for responses
– The assessment is scheduled to give students the best opportunity for success
– Processes for evaluating quality are clear
– Authentication strategies are included
– Student feedback on the draft task was sought
– Teacher peer feedback on draft task was sought
– Linguistic accessibility

Directions are clear

– Instructions are clear and direct
– Sentences are short and simply structured
– The language is free of bias
– Specialist language is defined using student-friendly terms
– Information is stated once only and if it needs to be referenced more than once, consistent terminology is used