Accessibility Planning for Postsecondary Entrance and Placement Exams for Deaf Students

Stephanie W. Cawthon, Linda Goldstone, Jennifer Higgins, Martha Thurlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Postsecondary entrance and placement tests provide critical information that shapes the trajectory of the transition from secondary to postsecondary education. Test accommodations can play an important role in reducing barriers that deaf students face during high-stakes testing. For deaf students, decisions about access and accommodations for standardized assessment typically involve an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Deaf students’ access needs are not homogeneous, and decisions include a variety of factors including student characteristics, the content of the test, and test accommodations policies. In this article we share information about challenges that deaf students face and suggestions for ways to help to ensure that deaf students receive the accommodations that better allow them to show what they know and can do. These steps to improve accessibility can support equity in postsecondary pathways for deaf students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-345
Number of pages8
JournalTeaching Exceptional Children
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 21 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The contributions by Cawthon and Higgins at The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes were supported by Cooperative Agreement (#H326D160001) funded grant through the Office of Special Education Programs and the Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education. The contributions by Goldstone and Thurlow at The National Center on Education Outcomes was supported primarily through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


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