PARA Accessible Reading Assessment Reports: Exploring Factors that Affect the Accessibility of Reading Comprehension Assessments for Students with Disabilities: A Study of Segmented Text

Jamal Abedi, Jenny Kao, Seth Leon, Lisa Sullivan, Joan Herman, et. al.


A document reporting on a study seeking to experimentally examine factors affecting accessibility of assessments for students with disabilities. This study focused on reading comprehension assessments since (1) reading is one of the primary areas of the NCLB Title I accountability requirements, and (2) reading is the underlying ability for understanding instruction and assessment in all other content areas. A randomized field trial study in which a reading comprehension assessment, designed to be potentially more accessible for students with disabilities, was administered to groups of students including students with disabilities. Three long reading comprehension passages from existing state assessments were broken down into more manageable segments with corresponding questions placed immediately after each segment. The results of the segmenting study indicated that:

  1. Segmenting did not affect reading performance of students without disabilities, suggesting that it does not compromise the validity of reading assessment
  2. Segmenting did not affect reading performance of students with disabilities
  3. The segmented version had a higher reliability for students with disabilities without affecting the reliability for students without disabilities
  4. No trends were observed for student motivation, general emotions, and moods with respect to segmented assessment in either disability or no disability groups.


January 2009 
Partnership for Accessible Reading Assessment (PARA)
National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)


  • Specific life stage
    • Children
    • Adolescents and young adults
  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • English Learners with Disabilities
    • Accessibility & Accommodations
    • English Learners
    • Students with Disabilities
    • Universal Design