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 an adjustment may not be possible, exemptions may be granted for parts of the tests.
Adjustments of the exams and special considerations
Adjustments 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 special adjustments for the tests conducted at the VTest Centers, the candidate will need to send the request via the adjustment form. Supporting evidence from a medical or assessment authority must be given to the local VTest Center. Upon receiving, analyzing, and approving the adjustment request, the VTest Center commits to inform VTest France of the adjustment choice.
Should a Test Center have adjustment requests for 10 candidates or more, notification must be given by the VTest Center to VTest France 30 days prior to the exam to help facilitate the requirements needed by the candidate.
All requests will need to be approved by the local VTest Centers.
Adjustments in practice
Adjustments should neither alter nor affect the nature of the assessment but can take different forms.
The main adjustments are the allowance of extra time (30% or 50%), the ability to pause during the exam when needed, or the possibility of taking the exam across several time slots. Technological assistance can be used with screen readers, voice activated software and 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.
We have created two specific versions of our tests which already include extra time. These exams are the 4 Skills PWDS and L&R PWDS (People With Disabilities). Additionally, we have a larger portfolio of exams 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 the candidate’s 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 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 to assess their English level. If their level permits, 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 test the compatibility of the assisting tools.
A human assistant is allowed to support the candidate’s needs to guide the candidate with the use of the platform. 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.
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 daily.
All candidates with the inability to use their hands, for example, may be supported by a human assistant and the use of assisting software. To accommodate this type of needs, we offer the Listening & Reading (L&R) exam and the 4 SKILLS exam.
VTest English – L&R – PWDS
VTest English – 4SKILLS – PWDS
Category 4: Mental impairments
For this category, an adaptative solution per impairment 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.
Candidates can choose from 20 different languages for the instruction pages and select guidance from the accessibility profiles.
Depending on the candidate’s impairment, the VTest Centers can choose from our regular or PWDS exams to correspond and best fit the specific candidate’s needs. The platform is user-friendly and only takes 30 minutes to train an assistant prior to an exam being taken.
Adjustment of the test material
All adjustments should not affect the content and level of the exams.
The adaptative interface offers a wide range of solutions to meet the candidate’s needs for the online assessments. Other adjustments include training an assistant for the candidate.