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Pearson works continuously to ensure that our programs are as accessible as possible to all students. The following FAQs are provided to answer questions we routinely receive from customers about our math programs.
When discussing course materials, what does "accessible" mean?
Essentially, "accessible" means that any course materials you distribute to your students (whether in-class or online), and which are essential to the student's success in class, must be usable by all students in your class. In this case, usable means providing the benefits of the educational program in an equally effective and integrated manner.
What is a "substantially equivalent ease of use?"
The DOJ and DOE apply the concept of “substantially equivalent ease of use” when technology issues prevent a student with a disability from experiencing identical ease of use, as compared students without disabilities. In these instances, the student must be provided with accommodations or modifications that "ensure equal access to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology, and equal treatment in the use of such technology." As a simple example, in building an analytic geometry quiz that focuses on applications of the hyperbola, an instructor might first select a problem that relies on a highly graphical image that's not screen-reader compatible. To ensure that the quiz is usable by all students, the instructor can choose a different, but related, problem of equal difficulty that meets the same learning objective and can be read. Of course, this is but one of many situations that could occur. We will share our expertise with you to help identify accommodations or modifications that will provide substantially equivalent user experiences in MathXL for School. Nonetheless, Pearson's accessibility team is working to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the need for substantially equivalent ease of use in favor of the more preferable "identical ease of use."
What about accessibility for hearing-impaired students?
The videos in most MathXL for School courses have closed captioning. We plan to extend closed captioning to all videos in the future.
Do you have plans to further extend MathXL for School's accessibility?
Certainly. Accessible instructional technology is a dynamic and ever-changing field. While we have succeeded in achieving the basic premises of accessibility, there is always room for additional innovation and even greater improvement in ease of use. For example, ongoing accessibility development focuses on graphical and tabular problem types, allowing access via both JAWS screen readers and, for a subset of non-algorithmic items, Braille translation software/embossers. We are working closely with advocacy groups and accessibility consultants to determine the most effective ways to present highly visual mathematics in non-visual forms.
How do you test your products' accessibility?
We rely on a variety of resources--in-house specialists, advocacy groups, accessibility firms, independent consultants, and students--to evaluate our products and to gain insight into the effectiveness of our accessibility efforts. For example, to better understand the impact of our efforts, Pearson's Math Group hosted an Accessible Math focus group at the National Federation of the Blind's annual convention. Both MathXL for School and our accessible eBook were demonstrated, and user feedback and suggestions were gathered. This information is being used to refine existing products, and to better design future offerings.
Is MathXL for School accessible to print-disabled students?
The latest release of MathXL for School is compatible with the JAWS screen reader*, enabling print-disabled students to read selected multiple-choice and free-response problem types, and interact with them via keyboard controls and math notation input. For low-vision students, MathXL for School works with the ZoomText enlarger. Our accessibility design is guided by the three-pronged functional definition of accessibility provided to post-secondary institutions by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. Under their interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all students "must be afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services." MathXL for School incorporates such opportunities to the extent feasible. In instances in which the technology does not yet exist or is not readily available to provide an identical user experience, —then a substantially equivalent ease of use is warranted.
*The mobile-enhanced (HTML5) player supports JAWS 15 and 16. The standard (FLASH) player supports up to JAWS 14.
Do you have a Voluntary Product Assessment Template (VPAT)?
A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is used to assist Federal contracting officials, agencies, and buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of accessibility support in products like MathXL for School.
A VPAT for MathXL for School is available upon request. If you would like a copy of the MathXL for School VPAT, please contact your Pearson representative.
Where can I get more information on accessibility and Pearson's math products?
You can contact your Pearson sales representative.
Do you also offer accessibility solutions for textbooks?
Many of our leading math textbooks are now offered as “HTML eBooks" for students using assistive technology to access course materials. Compatible with JAWS and other Windows screen readers, HTML eBooks are national mathematics texts published in HTML and MathML to offer students: Complete core content, including text and images, in single column presentation. Alternative text descriptions for all important figures and photos. Enhanced navigation support, including interactive table of contents, go-to-page functionality, and keyboard access. HTML eBooks are provided on the MML site so that all students can access needed texts at the same place, at the same time, and at the same price. Students with a Windows screen reader need only to download the free Design Science MathPlayer. To learn more about HTML eBooks, or to find out the availability of a specific textbook, contact your Pearson representative. For texts and related materials not in the HTML eBook format, Pearson can provide PDFs of your textbook or eText, Student Solutions Manuals, Graphing Calculator Manuals, and other ancillaries, which can then be used with such accessibility technologies as screen readers and Braille displays. You can also convert the PDF files into another format, such as a printed Braille book. You can make requests for the PDF files at https://order.superlibrary.com/Comergent/en/US/adirect/pearson?cmd=Disab.... General inquiries should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.