Online Registration for Questionmark Conference Ends March 9th

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

Nine is today’s magic number — the 9th of March, that is: the last day to register online for the Questionmark Users Conference March 14 – 17th in Miami.

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Here are a few more significant numbers for you as we count down to March 14th:

Customers at past Questionmark Users Conferences

Learn. Share. Empower.

  • 11 Customer Case Studies including two about integrations of Questionmark Perception with SAP
  • 8 Tech Training presentations including Planning Your Migration from Perception v4 to v5
  • 6 Tech Central sessions where Perception users meet one-on-one with a Questionmark Technician and get their questions answered
  • 6  Product Central sessions, including focus groups run by Questionmark product managers seeking customers’ views on potential new features
  • 6 Best Practices presentations including one on Item and Test Analysis Analytics
  • 3 Peer Discussions including one on Security Strategies for High-stakes Tests
  • 3 Drop-in Demos featuring Questionmark Live, new features in Perception version 5, mobile delivery and more
  • 3 exciting Evening Events, including a dinner cruise with drinks, dinner and networking opportunities
  • 2 General Sessions where Questionmark Customers learn about new and future technologies
  • 1 Keynote by Dr. David Metcalf of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training about Assessments on the Move: Mobility, Mashups and More

If you’re still wondering whether to attend or not, check out what participants in last year’s conference have to say in this video!

Assessment Accessibility in Questionmark Perception Version 5

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

One of the capabilities in Perception version 5 that I am most proud of is that we have produced an assessment system that is genuinely accessible for participants. Most assessments created by someone using the software out-of-the-box will meet the accessibility assessment criteria set by the W3C and by the US Government.

Questionmark has always been a leader in accessibility of assessments. The ability to add time as a disability accommodation is one of our widely used capabilities, but for version 5 our customers had been asking for much more. You might think that only a very small number of people taking tests will have accessibility needs, but in fact the number is surprisingly large.

Blindness

In the United States, there are between 250,000 and 500,000 legally blind people under the age of 65. In England, there are 76,000 blind or partially sighted people under the age of 65 formally registered with the government.

Accommodations for blind people include making software compatible with text to screen readers and allowing people to increase the size of text and change the contrast and colors.

Color blindness

About 7% of men and 0.5% of women are color blind

Color should not be used to distinguish information or navigation or questions.

Dyslexia

About 10% of people have dyslexia, 4% of them severely

Accommodations for dyslexic people include providing more time and allowing people to change text size and contrast color, sometimes also screen readers.

Motor disabilities

Some disabilities (multiple sclerosis, paralysis, muscle and joint problems) prevent use of mouse/keyboard and require special input devices. There is no central register of the numbers of such people but a lot of people are impacted – for instance there are around 100,000 sufferers of quadriplegia (often caused by vehicle or sports injury) in the US.

The key accommodation here is to ensure that the assessment system can be used by keyboard (not mouse) as such special input devices emulate keyboard. For example in the picture below, someone is entering keystrokes to control the computer when they cannot use a mouse.

Providing accessibility improvements within the software does not just aid disabled people, it also helps people with temporary disabilities – for example someone who has broken their arm, or a factory worker who’s not used to screens with a lot of text on them.

Questionmark has been receiving increasing requests from our customers to provide a great accessibility solution for them. And in developing version 5, we worked with two very inspiring experts. The main accessibility standard used in the United States is section 508, and we were helped by one of the people who helped draft section 508, Jim Thatcher. In Europe, the main accessibility standard used is the W3C WCAG and we were helped by Dr David Sloan from the University of Dundee. You can see our formal statements of compliance for section 508 here and for W3C WCAG here.

Unless you choose to disable them, most Questionmark assessments now have buttons at the top right of the screen which allow you to change font size and change contrast – you can try out some example assessments at http://www.questionmark.com/us/tryitout_features.aspx.  Or you can see these buttons in the screenshot below.

accessibility

We’ve thoroughly checked Questionmark with screen readers including the market leader JAWS, and we’ve made sure that assessments are keyboard accessible. We’ve also provided a best practice guide for accessibility, which Questionmark customers can use to ensure that their assessments are accessible.

Accessibility is a journey not just a destination, and we’ll be improving our accessibility over time, but I hope and believe that version 5 will help our many customers produce much more accessible assessments than they could before, and also that the whole assessment community might start to expect more from every piece of software used to deliver assessments.  Because if assessments are to be fair, then they have to be available to all.