Did you know Microsoft online certification exams support assistive technologies?

Published Mar 21 2022 09:00 AM 3,654 Views
Microsoft

In my recent exam sandbox blog, many of you left comments asking if assistive technologies (ATs) can be used on our online exams. Great news! Our online certification exams are now compatible with multiple different assistive technologies! Until recently, the use of ATs was limited only to test center deliveries because ATs were not compatible with the secure browser required to deliver online exams. This is NO LONGER true! In fact, you have more options now if you want to use ATs with online exams than you do in test centers. Read on to learn more.

 

ATs, including screen readers and screen magnification, will work with online proctored exams running within the secure browser. Candidates who use those technologies will no longer be limited to having a live reader/scribe with online proctoring or being required to take the exam at a test center. However, in order to use ATs, you must request an accommodation to ensure that the secure browser is configured for the AT that you want to use during the exam. We’ve tested online exam delivery with the latest versions of JAWS, Fusion, and NVDA and discovered that they can be used in the online exam experience when an accommodation is in place.

 

To be specific, we have determined that you can use any of the following in online proctored deliveries:

Assistive Technology

Type

ZoomText 2020

Screen Magnification Software

JAWS 2020

Screen Reading Software

Windows Magnification

Screen Magnification Software

NVDA

Screen Reading Software

Fusion

Combination of JAWS and ZoomText

Dragon

Speech to Text Software

 

The above list is a little bit different from what’s available in a test center because Pearson VUE doesn’t allow you to “bring in” software or devices. As a result, you are limited to the software for which they have a license: JAWS and Zoomtext. As with online proctored deliveries, you must request an accommodation to use either of these solutions during your exam at a test center because the software must be installed on the machine that you’ll be using, and you will need to take the exam in a separate room. If you prefer a specific assistive technology that is not available in a test center, you should consider taking your exam via online proctoring as more options are available.

 

Besides use of AT, another benefit of requesting an accommodation is that it gives you the chance to request extra time or to have certain exam rules loosened if they hinder your ability to demonstrate your competence in the skill domain. For example, candidates who use screen readers can request accommodations that allow them to look away from their monitors without being interrupted by the proctor when they do so (under standard exam rules, looking away from the monitor frequently is prohibited because the proctor cannot see what you’re looking at; as a result, the proctor would interrupt the exam with a warning).

 

We’re also making the exam greet and proctoring processes more inclusive

We recognize that the greet process, room scan, and ID verification process with online exams is challenging for some candidates who use screen readers. Pearson VUE is currently finalizing modifications to streamline those experiences for candidates who require an alternate type of assistance to complete the check-in process. This should be available by the end of April 2022. In addition, we are partnering closely with Pearson VUE to further simplify and improve the accommodations and test delivery processes so that they are more inclusive. I will share more on that in the months ahead. Stay tuned for future updates!

 

As a reminder, the exam sandbox is a great opportunity to test the ATs that you use in your daily life so you can “live” the experience before your exam date. If you have suggestions for how we can improve the functionality of the exam experience to make it more delightful, please leave comments in the sandbox. We are reading them on a weekly basis and using your feedback to plan for future improvements.

 

We are taking great strides to improve the accessibility of our exams and the experience. We wish you success on your learning and certification journey.

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