Equity Through Access: Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities

ATIA Policy Brief and Action Items on Accessible Digital Testing

ATIA Policy Brief


States, districts and schools report ongoing difficulties ensuring students with disabilities have access to assistive technology (AT) needed for education. In particular, barriers to the use of AT during testing and limitations imposed by data privacy and test security requirements are posing substantial barriers to access, engagement, and valid measurement of learning outcomes. The ATIA Policy Brief examines these issues and offers recommendations to combat the problem.

ATIA Action Plan: 4 Urgent Actions for Accessible Digital Testing


To date, the marginalization of Assistive Technology (AT) in assessment and instruction has created consistent low performance. The result is that the academic achievement of students with disabilities has been seriously suppressed. While tests have built-in universal supports, students with disabilities are still facing significant barriers to use of AT.  Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is now in effect and significant changes need to be made around digital assessment.

To address this serious issue ATIA believes the following 4 urgent action items must occur:

  1. Ensure test security does not take priority over access to AT and accommodations;
  2. Ensure AT is interoperable, as required by ESSA;
  3. Remove policies, training, and requirements that put limits on AT usage; and
  4. Remove limits on types of tools or features.

Download the PDFs to learn more.