An assessment is a longer, more involved process and should be reserved for students with significant needs who require more time to trial software, devices, etc. There is no standardized testing for AT and I use a variety of resources to guide the assessment, depending on the areas of concern and the student's ability. I follow the 30/45-day timeline for an assessment and a report is made available two days before the team meeting.

The term “assessment” should be used rather than “evaluation” based on the following definition from the Federal Register: Evaluation: A group of activities conducted to determine a student's eligibility for special education. Assessment: A group of activities conducted to determine a student's specific needs.

Please keep in mind: I am not determining a student's eligibility; I am merely making recommendations for accommodations that will help the student access the curriculum.

An assessment looks different for each student. Some resources I may use include:
  • The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative: Assessing Students’ Needs for Assistive Technology Resource Manual (WATI)
  • McGinnity iDevice Assessment Checklist with the Ready to Print and Dexteria apps
  • The DeCoste Writing Protocol
  • The Basic Reading Inventory
  • The Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR)
  • Exploration of apps and software including Learning Ally, Bookshare, Voice Dream Reader Clicker 7 and Clicker Connect

The WATI Resource Manual is used to gather information about the following areas:
  • Seating, Positioning and Mobility
  • Communication
  • Computer Access
  • Motor Aspects of Writing
  • Composition of Written Material
  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Organization
  • Recreation and Leisure
  • Vision
  • Hearing

The McGinnity iDevice Assessment Checklist is used informally to gather information about how a student can access a tablet. Questions include:
  • Can the individual hold the device?
  • Can the individual use the appropriate pressure to activate the screen?

The DeCoste Writing Protocol is an assessment tool for collecting information about a student’s written productivity with handwriting and with technology. It is used professionally to inform the consideration of assistive technology.

The PAR is not a diagnostic reading tool but is a protocol used to help IEP Teams make informed decisions about accommodations to support learning and instruction. The PAR helps determine the most suitable reading accommodations for students by assessing their individual needs. It compares the student’s performance when reading orally (or silently), or when listening to text using text-to-speech.