Accommodations Toolkit

Tactile Graphics: States’ Accessibility Policies, 2020

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National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

This summary of states’ accessibility policies for tactile graphics is part of the Accommodations Toolkit published by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO).[1] The toolkit also contains a summary of the research literature on tactile graphics.

Accessibility policies often have several tiers of accessibility features: universal features, designated features, and accommodations.[2] Figure 1 summarizes how states included tactile graphics in their accessibility policies for students with disabilities in 2020. Table 1 shows how tactile graphics were included in the policies, while Table 2 contains additional details and specifications.

Figure 1: States’ Accessibility Policies for Tactile Graphics, 2020

Reading/ELA/Writing

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 2 States
  • Accommodations (A): 24 States

Math

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 2 States
  • Accommodations (A): 26 States

Science

  • Universal Features (U): 0 States
  • Designated Features (D): 1 States
  • Accommodations (A): 19 States

Table 1. Accessibility Policies for Tactile Graphics by State, 2020

U = Universal Feature, D = Designated Feature, A = Accommodation, ELA = English Language Arts, X = Allowed, SD = Allowed for Students with Disabilities, Blank Cell = No Policy Found, N = Notes in Table 2

State

Reading/ELA/Writing

Math

Science

Notes

(See Table 2)

U

D

A

U

D

A

U

D

A

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

SD

SD

SD

Colorado

SD

SD

SD

N

Connecticut

Delaware

SD

SD

SD

N

District of Columbia

Florida

SD

SD

SD

N

Georgia

Hawaii

SD

SD

SD

N

Idaho

SD

SD

SD

N

Illinois

SD

SD

Indiana

SD

SD

SD

N

Iowa

SD

SD

SD

N

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

SD

N

Maine

Maryland

SD

SD

SD

N

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

SD

SD

SD

N

Montana

SD

SD

SD

N

Nebraska

SD

SD

SD

N

Nevada

SD

SD

N

New Hampshire

X

X

SD

N

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

SD

SD

SD

N

Pennsylvania

SD

SD

SD

N

Rhode Island

SD

SD

SD

N

South Carolina

SD

SD

SD

South Dakota

SD

SD

N

Tennessee

Texas

X

X

X

N

Utah

SD

SD

SD

N

Vermont

SD

SD

N

Virginia

Washington

SD

SD

West Virginia

SD

SD

SD

N

Wisconsin

Wyoming

SD

SD

SD

N

Total

0

2

24

0

2

26

0

1

19

Table 2. Details and Specifications: States’ Tactile Graphics Accessibility Policies

State

Details/Specifications

Colorado

ELA and Math: Assistive technology request form lists Tactile Graphics.

Science: Tactile graphics available for paper-based assessment.

Delaware

Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch.

Florida

Tactile graphic images are provided in a raised format. Tactile images and symbols represent the content and concepts of graphic material (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, and illustrations). A tactile graphic is not a straight reproduction of the print graphic. It does not include symbols expected by visual readers, such as color and artistic embellishment.

Hawaii

Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch (requires setting Emboss and Emboss Request Type accommodations in test information distribution engine - TIDE).     

Idaho

The Braille Ready Files (BRF) and Printer Output Files (PRN) sample files are available for online Braille testing preparation. The BRF file is used for print requests containing only text (including formatted tables). The PRN file is used for print requests containing tactile or spatial components (such as images).

ELA & Math: Students with visual impairments may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Due to limitations with refreshable braille technology and math braille codes, refreshable braille is available only for ELA. For math, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also. Alternative text descriptions are embedded in the assessment for all graphics.

Indiana

Allowed on I AM test and ISTEP+: Student provided access to own resources (tactile symbols, raised lined graph paper).

Iowa

Students who are blind or have low vision may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch.

Louisiana

If reading the currency symbols violates the construct being measured, tactile representation is required to make the item accessible to blind students and some low-vision students.

Maryland

Non-embedded accommodation. Tactile graphics are raised images to convey non-textual information such as maps, graphs, and diagrams. Tactile graphics have labels in braille. Tactile graphics guidelines are followed to determine if an image should be created and if so, how. Some images are not necessary and can be omitted. Some images are substituted with letters, abbreviations, or words in braille. Before testing: Students who require a tactile graphics booklet may either be registered for Screen Reader Version or Refreshable Braille display. Refer to those accommodations for before testing guidance. Tactile graphics will be embedded in the hard copy braille edition assessments, when needed.

Missouri

Paper administration: Tactile graphics listed as an accommodation for End of Course (EoC) and grade-level tests.

Montana

Smarter Balanced Grades 3-8 Assessment: Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content; graphic material (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, and  illustrations) is presented in a raised format (paper or thermoform).  American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and Smarter Balanced will provide consortium members—through their service providers—the option of pre-embossed tactile Mathematics graphics for the online Braille Hybrid Adaptive Test (HAT) in grades 3-8. Also an embedded accommodation for computer-based tests.

Nebraska

Students who are blind or have low vision may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. The use of this accommodation may result in the student needing additional overall time to complete the assessment.

Nevada

Smarter Balanced Grades 3-8 Assessment (ELA, Math): Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content; graphic material (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, and  illustrations) is presented in a raised format (paper or thermoform). Due to limitations with refreshable braille technology and math braille codes, refreshable braille is available only for ELA. For math, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also.

New Hampshire

Students with visual impairments may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Nemeth is an accommodation. Contracted braille is a designated feature.

Science: A 2017-18 document lists as not available.

Oregon

Part of the information for this support was found as an embedded text description for graphics. Students with visual impairments may read text via Braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch.

Pennsylvania

No content area specified. Available for paper or online test administration. Tactile graphics: Students will be provided with the paper Braille booklet to access any graphics. Refreshable Braille enrollment will prompt the shipment of a matching paper Braille booklet.

Rhode Island

ELA and Math:

--RICAS- Refreshable braille in UEB is available. Paper edition of braille should also be ordered for tactile graphics.

--PSAT10_SAT –braille with raised line drawings, contracted. Student uses paper edition of braille.  

Science: Tactile graphics for items can be printed using Print On Demand and an embosser or braille printer.

South Dakota

Embedded accommodation. Students with visual impairments may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Due to limitations with refreshable braille technology and math braille codes, refreshable braille is available only for ELA. For math, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also. Alternative text descriptions are embedded in the assessment for all graphics.  

Texas

For students who take a braille test (including students who use screen reader support for refreshable braille displays) and are eligible for content and language supports, districts should contact the Texas Assessment Support Center to request a paper version of STAAR with embedded supports. Once materials are received, the test administrator will use the instructions in the Paper Administration Guide to provide access to the content and  accommodations in the specific test being administered. The guide will provide picture descriptions of content and language support images and graphics (e.g., charts, tables, graphs) that may be reproduced for accessibility (e.g., brailling graphics, pairing graphics with tactile symbols, texts, or objects, enlarging or projecting). ...For students who are eligible for content and language supports and take the braille version of STAAR, the test administrator must use the appropriate STAAR with Embedded Supports Paper Administration Guide. This guide provides picture descriptions of content and language support images and graphics (e.g., charts, tables, graphs) that may be reproduced for accessibility (e.g., brailling graphics, pairing graphics with tactile symbols, texts, or objects, enlarging, or projecting). These instructions are not meant to replace any STAAR administration materials but must be used in conjunction with the appropriate specific braille instructions for the test being administered.

Utah

Accommodation for all state tests except AAPPL (uses screen reader only).

--RISE: Braille/tactile graphics and embossing are available on request for students with disabilities with USBE staff authorization. Text and graphics may be provided via a Tiger embosser in the student’s school, which can print text and/or graphics depending on student need. Refreshable braille is generated by JAWS. This accommodation is provided at the time of test administration, which means that educators must allow extra time for each item to be embossed as the items are generated by the computer‐adaptive assessment. Training tests should be used to ensure that local configurations for embossing can successfully produce the braille assessment.

--ACT: Tactile Graphics is provided with certain paper and online Braille forms.

Vermont

Embedded accommodation. Students with visual impairments may read text via braille. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Due to limitations with refreshable braille technology and math braille codes, refreshable braille is available only for ELA. For math, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also.

West Virginia

Graphic material (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, and illustrations) is presented in a raised format (paper or thermoform). Contracted and non-contracted braille is available; Nemeth code is available for mathematics. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Refreshable braille is available only for ELA because Nemeth Code is not available via refreshable braille.

For mathematics, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also.

Non-contracted braille, fixed form via computer; with paper booklet for tactile graphics (mathematics only) is also available.

Wyoming

Some students with visual impairments may use braille in order to access assessment materials. Tactile overlays and graphics also may be used to assist the student in accessing content through touch. Due to limitations with refreshable braille technology and math braille codes, refreshable braille is available only for ELA. For math, braille will be presented via embosser; embosser-created braille can be used for ELA also. Alternative text descriptions are embedded in the assessment for all graphics. Listed as embedded accommodation for science in same chart as ELA/Math with description of tactile graphics.

Attribution

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  • Lazarus, S. S., Albus, D., & Hinkle, A. R. (2021). Tactile graphics: States’ accessibility policies, 2020 (NCEO Accommodations Toolkit #1b). National Center on Educational Outcomes.

NCEO is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but does not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Project Officer: David Egnor