[Athen] Promoting greater ALEKS Accessibility

Madeleine Rothberg madeleine_rothberg at wgbh.org
Fri Mar 20 13:23:52 PDT 2015

My question would be — are those 100 questions truly too visual to be adapted, or have they just not written image descriptions for them? Do you know if there are any items in the accessible test with images and descriptions? If so, it may be true that the items they skipped can't be adapted because they have visual bias. In that case, they may need to make some items with tactile graphics or other forms of information in order to test all areas of the curriculum. Or they should figure out how to appropriately adjust the score to reflect mastery of the areas that are tested.


Madeleine Rothberg
Project Director
Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH
madeleine_rothberg at wgbh.org
617-300-2492 (voicemail)

From: Howard Kramer <hkramer at colorado.edu<mailto:hkramer at colorado.edu>>
Reply-To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Date: Friday, March 20, 2015 3:50 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Promoting greater ALEKS Accessibility

Hello All:

Picking up this topic once again. I've been conducting some accessibility testing and research regarding ALEKS over the last few weeks and thought I would give everyone an update. To boil down the current situation, there are 2 versions of the ALEKS exam, the "traditional" version, which seems to fail for accessibility, according to my testing, and the "accessible" version, which seems very accessible, again, according to my testing.

The issue with the accessible version, however, is that it excludes about 100 questions deemed too visual or spatial to present in an accessible digital format. Without these 100 questions, the blind or screenreader user taking the accessible version can not achieve as high a placement as the student taking the "traditional" version.

We'd like to encourage ALEKS/MHE to work towards adding as many of the excluded questions from the "accessible" version of the exam and eventually have one universal and accessible version. If there are any other institutions using ALEKS who are interested in collaborating with us on this effort, perhaps signing a letter of support, please let me know. If you'd like to have a phone conversation about this to discuss further, my number is below.

If anyone would like a copy of my accessibility audit, I'm willing to send that out upon request.


On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 8:43 AM, McGinnity, Julie A. (MU-Student) <jamzk7 at mail.missouri.edu<mailto:jamzk7 at mail.missouri.edu>> wrote:
Good morning,

We are investigating the current state of ALEKS accessibility. I read up on ATHEN posts from last year, and they were helpful. But now I am curious to know the outcome of the graphing issue. Is the company still not providing tactile graphs? Is ALEKS accessible with the latest versions of screen readers? I have never used it myself but was led to believe that ALEKS was not fully accessible in the past. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Howard Kramer
Promoting the Integration of Universal Design into University Curricula (UDUC)
Lecturer, Cont. Ed - Evening & Cred Admin
cell: 720-351-8668
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