People with disabilities at VTEST
Accessibility is at the very heart of VTEST’s priorities, as a service provider in the assessment’s industry and as an enabler of career development with its certification. At VTEST not only we take inclusivity and empowerment very seriously, we have also created a multi-modal tool which supports most needs from any device. Furthermore, being a digital tool, the world is our limit; therefore, we must comply with international standards (as per the example of the Equality Act 2010 in the UK which stands against any type of discrimination such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion/belief, sexual orientation. In the European Union the EN 301 549 V.2 is the European standard of accessibility requirements for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services, this standard adopts the latest version of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and its principles stand for platforms to be: “Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust.” While in the United States the ATAG 2.0 guidelines also adopt the latest W3C’s recommendations by focusing on 28 checkpoints and Section 508 which regulates the IT accessibility laws and policies.
The guidelines WCAG and EN 301 549 have three levels of compliance: A, AA, and AAA. Level A being the minimum level and Level AAA is the highest level. Level AA is compulsory while Level AAA is almost impossible to reach for some aspects. In order to make our platforms the most compliant, we have integrated an accessibility tool which always guarantees our compliance with the international accessibility standards.
We acknowledge that some candidates need special adjustments to be able to take the tests. These adjustments must be fair and reasonable while the nature of the assessment cannot be altered. In case no adjustment would be possible some exemption could be granted for some parts of the tests.
Adjustments of the exams and special considerations
Adjustments and specials considerations shall neither affect the integrity of the test nor give an unfair advantage to the candidate, it comes as a support to each candidate’s needs and situations.
To request some adjustments for the tests conducted at the VTEST Centers, the candidate will need to send the request via the adjustment form which must include some supporting evidence from a medical or assessment authority to the VTEST Center or to us for a direct candidate. The form should be received 30 days prior to the exam so the VTEST Center can organize the requirements needed by the candidate. The request will need to be approved by the VTEST Centers.
Request for special consideration
The candidate has five days to file a request after the exam by listing the points which are believed to have compromised the candidate’s ability to take the test. Some situations can be regarded as special considerations.
The first category should be due to some technical reason having caused the candidate to have missed the chance to complete the test. In this case the VTEST Center can contact the helpdesk to access the technical file of the exam. The other category would be if the work of the candidate has been affected or made impossible by a force majeure causing a situation beyond the control of the candidate like a temporary illness, accident, or bereavement.
Adjustments in practice
Adjustments should neither alter nor affect the nature of the assessment but can take different forms.
The main adjustment is the allowance of extra time, sometimes some breaks or the possibility to take the test across several times slots may be available. Adapting the assessment material can be made by different mediums like printing in Braille, human assistance like an interpreter, a reader, or a lip reader. Technological assistance can be used with screen readers, voice activated software, HF-micro. Some of these adjustments will require the organization of a dedicated room so the candidate can listen to the tests and dictate the answers to the scribe, for example. In some cases the method of the test can also be changed, from a written version to a spoken one.
We have created two specific versions of our tests which already include extra time. There are the PWDS (People With Disabilities). We have a bigger portfolio of tests which candidates can take with the support of our adaptative accessibility tool. This possibility can be assessed by trying our discovery test beforehand via the following link: https://candidate.vtest.com/discovery.
There are four major categories of impairments commonly known: cognitive, sensory, motor, and mental.
Category 1: Cognitive impairments and learning disabilities
All candidates with cognitive impairments will be given extra time to complete their exam. Prior to the exam, we strongly encourage the candidate to try our discovery test with our adaptative interface and adjust our accessibility tool to its needs.
While getting prepared with the discovery test, the candidate can also confirm the compatibility of some assisting tools with our platform. The use of assisting software such as readers and writers is possible.
In addition, candidates with epileptic seizures will be able to select the right mode via our platform and have a dedicated room without stimulus.
We have in our portfolio two main type of exams which already include extra time: the Listening & Reading (L&R) exam and the 4SKILLS exam.
VTEST English – L&R – PWDS
VTEST English– 4SKILLS – PWDS
Category 2: Sensory impairments, visual and hearing impairments
Visual impairment can be of varying degrees, from partial to total visual impairment. In some cases, adapting the size of the text can be enough, for peripheric issues the strength of the lightning can be adjusted, while with blurry vision the reading movement and contrasts can be managed with our accessibility tool.
As some tests are progressive and interdependent, all candidates with visual impairments can initially take the Writing proficiency exam, so their level of English can be assessed and if their level permits it, they can then take the Speaking proficiency exam. While getting prepared with the discovery test, the candidate can also adapt the font and size tool to their preferred needs and perhaps test the compatibility of the assisting tools.
A human assistant is allowed to support the candidate’s needs in order to guide the candidate with the use of the platform, and the assistant will receive a training session prior to the exam being taken. Assisting software such as NVDA and JAWS are compatible.
VTEST English – Writing proficiency exam
VTEST English – Speaking proficiency exam
Hearing impairment can be of varying degrees, from partial to total hearing impairment.
All candidates with hearing impairments can take the Writing proficiency exam and the Reading & Writing exam. They can be assisted by a human assistant such as a lip reader, or a bilingual interpreter in sign language. Some technical support can be useful like a HF-micro. Additionally, a dedicated room should be assigned to the candidate so they can exchange with the human assistant or use some assisting software without any outside influences.
VTEST English – Writing proficiency exam
VTEST English – Reading & Writing (R&W)
Category 3: Motor impairments
A motor disability is when the mobility or the motor skills of a person is affected for a short period of time or on a daily basis.
All candidates with the inability to use their hands, can, for example, be supported by a human assistant and the use of assisting software, too. To accommodate this type of needs, we offer the Listening & Reading (L&R) exam and the 4SKILLS exam.
VTEST English – L&R – PWDS
VTEST English – 4SKILLS – PWDS
Category 4: Mental impairments
For this category, an adaptative solution per pathology should be sought with the assistance of the VTEST Center.
The below table is a summary but not extended of all typical cases, where other considerations may need to be taken into account. For more information, please contact your VTEST Center.
There is the option to try our discovery test with our adaptative interface to fit the application to the candidate’s needs and comfort prior to the exam. The test can be accessed via the following link: https://candidate.vtest.com/discovery.
According to the impairment of the candidate, the VTEST Centers can choose from our regular or PWDS exams depending on which one best fits the needs of a specific candidate. The platform is user-friendly; it only takes 30 minutes to train the assistant prior to an exam being taken.
Adjustment of the test material
All adjustments should not affect the content and level of the exams.
They can take place by enlarging the format from A4 to A3 when it is appropriate to have to print the test; it is also possible on our platform to magnify the on-screen exam.
There can also be the case of a Listening test being transcribed and the use of a lip reader to assist the candidate.