Accessibility in Remote ProctoringFirst Published: Jul 15, 2021
While deciding among remote proctoring services, it is important to figure out what platforms best align with your principles and are best prepared to help and improve the test-taking experience for your students. In particular, accessible web content is crucial to ensuring a fair exam experience for all test takers.
According to the World Health Organization, more than a billion people live with some sort of disability, translating to about 15% of the world population. A similar percentage, 14%, of American public school students received special education accommodations in the 2019-20 school year.
However, these services were largely diminished when schools moved online last spring and that combined with the unfamiliar remote format of school meant students and their families have had to bear the brunt of the responsibilities and frustrations of school without assistance. Developing accessible content compatible with resources that people already use like text-to-speech readers, assistive keyboards or mice, or text magnifiers allows students to take exams uninhibited.
Offering accessible innovation provides a comprehensive remote learning experience for students, with inclusive remote classes and exams. The most common standard for accessibility compliance, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 AA consists of three levels with varying requirements: A, AA, and AAA.
WCAG 2.0 A is the least restrictive level with few numerical guidelines. WCAG 2.0 AA is more rigid, most notably requiring a 4.5:1 contrast ratio between text and the background, compared to a 7:1 contrast mandated for WCAG 2.0 AAA compliance.
Like many organizations, including the ADA, Proctor360’s platforms aim for at least WCAG 2.0 Level AA-compliant, offering readable, distinct content that is easily navigable and compatible with different browsers. WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance requires providing alternatives to the main presentation. For example, images and other media must be accompanied by alternative text explaining that content.
Proctor360's proctoring platform follows a predictable and intentional structure with informative headings and subheadings. Students access their exams through an intuitive interface that includes video guides accompanied by text explaining the content. Background programs such as text-to-speech readers and speech recognition software (Dragon) are able to operate during an exam.
Furthermore, online text should be resizable up to 200% without affecting readability and an appropriate color scheme with at least a 4.5:1 contrast ratio. Content should avoid more than three seconds of flash and images of text, neither of which are found on our platform. Webpages must consist of a comfortable mix of images, text, audio, and other content without relying exclusively on a particular sense. Students should also be able to maintain a certain level of navigation control including ability to select items without a mouse.
Although many schools will reopen this fall, accessible web content remains vital to guaranteeing an equitable test experience for all students.
Yvonne Pan is a content creator for Proctor360 and studies civil engineering at Case Western University.