Data Informed Accessibility - Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions (DIAMOND)


Intends to improve the validity of assessment results and interpretations for students with documented needs by developing guidelines for making informed decisions about accessibility features and accommodations. It will promote a decision-making process that moves beyond the use of a checklist approach (which often results in the identifying tools and accommodations that do not provide access to the student), to an approach that relies on the use of classroom progress data and other measures charted over time to evaluate individual student needs.

The project will begin by conducting focus groups with educators to generate instructional and assessment strategies that inform the decision-making processes for accessibility features and accommodations. Project personnel will also collect data in schools in the member states to highlight appropriate practices in implementing accessibility features and accommodations. Another project activity will entail state-level assessment data analyses related to accessibility features and accommodations to showcase the process of making data informed decisions. Once these research findings are collected and analyzed, a forum with national experts and state representatives will be held to generate consensus on a set of guidelines and related comprehensive assessment instruments for making data-informed decisions about accessibility features and accommodations for students with documented needs. These guidelines will be included in a training module and supplemental materials and will be available for educators nationwide.

Martha L Thurlow
Martha L Thurlow
Subcontract from
Minnesota Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education
Minnesota Department of Education
Alabama Department of Education
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Michigan Department of Education
Connecticut State Department of Education
Maryland State Department of Education
Ohio Department of Education
West Virginia Department of Education
Virgin Islands Department of Education


Michael L Moore :: Editor/Writer

Chris Rogers :: Research Fellow

Kristin K Liu PhD :: Senior Research Associate

Yi-Chen Wu :: Research Associate

Martha L Thurlow :: Senior Research Associate

Linda S Goldstone :: Research Fellow

Darrell H Peterson :: Education Program Specialist

Sheryl Lazarus :: Senior Research Associate

Debbie Hansen :: Executive Ofc and Admin Spec


White Paper on Common Accessibility Language for States and Assessment Vendors

This White Paper by DIAMOND project staff addresses the issue that different test platforms use different terminology for the accessibility features and accommodations that they offer to students,…

Published: June 2016


  • Educational accountability and assessment
    • Accessibility & Accommodations
      • Progress monitoring
        • Test Design