ACT WorkKeys Accessibility Part II (.pdf conversion for easier accessibility)

ACT WorkKeys Accessibility Part II (.pdf conversion for easier accessibility)

After a couple of months working with VI students on ACT WorkKeys (a new version of the ACT test that tests skills one might need in an entry level blue collar occupation), I still have reservations about the applicability of the Graphic Literacy section (one of the parts of the test, the others being Workplace Documents and Applied Math) for a visually impaired person. The issue is always that while a sighted person can view an entire chart as a global view, a blind and VI person can only view a chart as a set of discrete points that must be conceptualized as a whole using memory. I have often been astonished at the memorization abilities of the blind that are, in my opinion, as important as audio as a crucial tool for learning and understanding and are amplified due to blindness. The stark reality is also that it in a regular workplace, the creation of Brailled and /or tactile memos, charts, and tables is highly unlikely so a blind person must cope by having the memo, chart, table etc. read to them and then must rely on their memory to conceptualize the whole.  This enhanced ability was demonstrated by two of my blind students who were able to remember the contents of memos and word problems much more easily than other students who did have some visual capabilities and this likely could constitute a research project if it has not already.

Regarding the Workplace Documents and Applied Math (simple word problems with work place scenarios), I was able to create accessible documents in Word that students were able to work at at their own pace. I discovered a process of converting content from a PDF that presented accessibility problems into a completely accessible Word document that is simple to use. The process will be briefly described below:

Copy and paste from original .pdf (CTRL C-CTRLV):

Screen shot of copy and paste from original

Format as desired ( remove extraneous space, increase font size, etc. (Keyboard shortcuts vary depending on desired result but most formatting is found on the Home Tab ALT H, Font size is FS) :

Screenshot of document formatting menu in MS Word

Select all and convert text to table (CTRL A, ALT, N, T, V, Enter):

Screenshot of select all and convert text to table

Insert column to the right (easiest keyboard shortcut is SHIFT F10, select INSERT option) :

Screenshot of Insert column to the right

Merge cells to contain all items in a particular question (Select desired rows, SHIFT F10, MERGE option):

Screenshot of Merge cells dialogue

Finally, restrict editing so that users can only type in desired areas (ALT R  PE, TAB to ALLOW ONLY THIS TYPE OF EDITING, space bar to select checkbox, TAB to EXCEPTIONS and check EVERYONE  and save, navigation is Tab (forward) Shift Tab (reverse);

Screenshot of  restrict editing dialogue

Attached is an example document named ....Example