ACT WorkKeys Accessibility
Since I have been assigned to teach ACT Workkeys, the regular ACT alternative, I feel it might be of benefit for future WorkKeys novices to keep a running commentary, a pseudo journal, on this PTT blog. This will involve, of course, how I am integrating technology into the WorkKeys prep curriculum. I have a small class of seniors, mixed blind and visually impaired.
Since I have not received any textbook Braille facsimiles yet, although I have been assured that they will arrive in due course, I have had to make due. The ACT WorkKeys tests apparently consist of three parts, Applied Math, Workplace Documents, and Graphical Literacy. The astute reader with knowledge of VI may suspect there is a slight issue here. I agree, but I have been charged with this task and the seemingly incongruous nature of the curriculum with the students in the class is subservient to the primacy school and test scores, thereby making the obvious irrelevant as often happens with the VI world.
Since the Braille copies have not arrived (and may take months to do so), I contacted the MasteryPrep company and they did send me .pdf copies of the textbooks, changing the outlook from highly unlikely to possible. Since the creation of hundreds of accessible graphs and charts is better left to professionals who can make the time for such time-consuming endeavors, I started with Applied Math and Workplace Documentss. I have been copying and pasting the problems from the pdf’s into Duxbury for Braille translations but discovered that directly pasting into Duxbury created too many formatting problems so I pasted into Word to clean up spaces, untranslatable characters, etc. However, this also presented time demands that were already causing me to fall behind the curriculum trajectory. To enable the class and its curriculum more efficiently, the students must learn to navigate Adobe Acrobat reader expertly, and this could only help them in their future endeavors.
However, I found that although and obviously Adobe text pdf docs are accessible to a screenreader (graphic formats in Adobe Reader are not) , there was still extraneous text that confused students so I started copying the exercises into word, removing extraneous text, and so far so good. I did have to explain to students that a dollar sign in from of a number should be understood as 9 dollars, the screen reader was reading “dollar sign nine” and this confused students as to the exact intent of the dollar sign.
For math word problems, I have used a variation of the Word test template I created (more on that next month, very simple to do and to navigate with a screenreader) and so far things have been progressing, so we now can address content and comprehension, rather than the mechanics of accessibility, which brings me to some final points/questions: Is the primary function of a TVI to make content accessible or is it to deliver that content? What about content that is averse to VI learning implementation