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Getting to Know the Quality Indicators

Once your crew is in place and ready for high-functioning collaboration, the next step is to get to know the Quality Indicators. After that, you’ll be prepared to use the tool to:

  • access examples of how actual states and districts are using the indicators
  • reflect on the status of accessibility in your own state or district
  • self-assess your status on a rubric
  • set goals for improvement
  • define action steps
  • generate reports

The Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies and supporting materials are available on the AEM Center website. Additionally, K-12 Critical Components have been developed to provide examples of promising practices to guide evaluation and progress monitoring. We recommend a two-phase approach to getting to know the Quality Indicators and Critical Components: a self-study followed by a group study.

The Self-Study

Each member of your crew should commit to a two-hour self-study of the Quality Indicators with Critical Components for K-12. For each Quality Indicator:

  • Review its statement, intent, and critical components.
  • Spend about twenty minutes with the resources provided for the Quality Indicator.
  • Record any questions and comments you have and bring them to the Group Study, described below.

The Group Study

The purpose of the group study is for your crew to support each other’s learning and come to shared understandings about the Quality Indicators. Ideally, the crew is together in person or via synchronous video conference for this activity. The AEM Pilot Facilitator (see Pulling Together a Strong Crew) should identify an appropriate protocol for guiding the process of sharing individuals’ comments and questions from the self-study.

Here’s an idea to get started!
If your crew is in person for the group study: For each of the seven Quality Indicators, attach a sheet of chart paper to the wall. Have members of the crew write each of their questions or comments on a sticky note and then place their notes on the chart paper for each indicator. Have volunteers sort the sticky notes on each sheet of chart paper into common themes. A facilitator then guides the crew through a discussion of the themes that emerged for each Quality Indicator. Be sure to have a notetaker record the themes and summarize the discussion. These notes might come in handy while your crew is using the tool later on. It may be helpful to take photos of the chart paper and sticky notes to include with the notes.

If your crew is virtual for the group study: For each of the seven Quality Indicators, create a shared digital document (e.g., in Google Drive or SharePoint). Have members of the crew write each of their questions or comments in the document for each indicator. Have volunteers sort the questions and comments into common themes. A facilitator then guides the crew through a discussion of the themes that emerged for each Quality Indicator. Be sure to have a notetaker record the themes and summarize the discussion. These notes might come in handy while your crew is using the tool later on. [Note: While collaborative apps such as Padlet, Trello, and others are popular in education, they have a range of accessibility limitations. Before using an app, research its accessibility and discuss the results with your crew: For whom might the use of the tool present barriers to participation?]

Change is the result of all true learning.

Leo Buscaglia, American author and professor of special education
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