WHEREAS, the administration of state assessments and other tests for school children in grades K-12 in web-based or other electronic formats rather than on paper has rapidly increased in recent years; and
WHEREAS, teachers of blind students, parents of blind children, and others in the blindness field have brought to our attention that these online tests are increasingly presented in formats that cannot be accessed via a screen reader or other nonvisual method and, further, are increasingly difficult to convert to any format that is accessible; and
WHEREAS, for many years, a state review committee has been doing a commendable job of evaluating state assessments to ensure that the items in these tests do not contain biases against students who read braille, but the administration of state tests in online formats poses new challenges to the work of that committee; and
WHEREAS, an inaccessible or biased test not only adversely affects the student’s ability to succeed on the test, but can have far-reaching consequences including impeding the student’s ability to move to the next grade or to graduate from high school; and
WHEREAS, such barriers in the education process only serve to contribute to the persistent high employment rate among blind people; now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota in convention assembled this fifth day of October, 2008, in the city of Rochester, Minnesota, that this organization call upon the Commissioner of the Department of Education to take all possible steps to ensure that all tests administered online in Minnesota can be rendered in a format accessible to blind K-12 students and that the test items are not biased against students who read in a nonvisual manner.