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.