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Date posted: 20th August 2021
Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) tested the Online, Moderated and Open modes of the Inspera e-assessments and found the portal versions of the platform are inaccessible with the software blind and partially sighted students need to complete the work.
The move to online assessments as a result of Covid has caused huge issues for many blind and partially sighted students. Exam platforms that are not compatible with the software visually impaired students need to read have meant many have been unable to complete their exams.
TPT has been working with universities and advocating for students who have found themselves in this position.
After the charity supported one of their students, a university approached TPT and asked it to test the Inspera platform it was using for its virtual exams and assessments.
The tech team at TPT tested the Online, Moderated and Open modes of the Inspera e-assessments for compatibility with the three main software used by many blind and partially sighted students – JAWS screen reading software, ZoomText magnification software and Fusion screen reading and magnification software.
In its report the team makes recommendations universities can implement to support students but the main conclusion was that functionality on the portal versions of the platform is inaccessible with the software blind and partially sighted students need to complete the work.
Tara Chattaway, Head of Education at TPT, said: “We do not have data on how many universities are using the Inspera platform but on its website, Inspera claims to be the leading European e-assessment provider – so these findings are of real concern to us.
“We call on all universities to ensure that remote learning platforms are accessible. TPT has created guidance on this and we urge universities to read this. It covers essential points, including accessibility testing, academic support, regulatory bodies, proctored exams, addressing inaccessibility and supporting students through remote exams.”
She continued: “From our accessibility testing of Inspera, our overall recommendation to universities is that – while it is not perfect – the web-based ‘Online’ version of the software is more accessible and the portal should be avoided from an accessibility point of view.”