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NCDAE: The National Center on Disability and Access to Education

Improving web accessibility in higher education
through system-wide reform

A Guide to Assist Review Teams Evaluate Evidence of Web Accessibility during the Reaffirmation Process

As part of GOALS’ continuing efforts to help institutions leverage their web accessibility efforts during accreditation or the reaffirmation process, GOALS has outlined a set of Best Practices for Institution-Wide Web Accessibility and provided a template and examples  for documenting web accessibility efforts.  However, those materials do not provide guidance on how to determine the quality of the evidence within the template.

This document is a guide to help Accreditation Review Teams to understand and evaluate institutional evidence of web accessibility efforts.  These guidelines may also serve to assist institutions in reviewing and enhancing their reaffirmation materials as they are developed.

Indicator #1: Institutional Vision and Leadership Commitment

Institution-wide web accessibility is best attained and sustained when there is leadership to support a vision and commitment toward institutional accessibility. This support should come from many levels including an institution's governing board, central administration, and key personnel. Each must actively support, participate, and take ownership in the work and outcomes of accessibility.

Assessment Review Teams might see evidence for this commitment in any number of ways. Two Benchmarks distinguish Institutional Vision and Leadership Commitment.  Under each benchmark are some examples of evidence that would support institutional claims of adherence to that particular benchmark - other evidence may also exist. Clicking in the (+) next to each example will open a list of questions that can be used to help determine the strength of the given evidence.

Benchmark A: The Commitment of Administrative Leadership

It should be noted, that not all examples below are required to point to evidence of this Benchmark. However, work across these examples show added strength of administrative commitment.

  • An institutional statement of vision or commitment to web accessibility (+)

  • The creation and support of a web accessibility task force or institution-wide accessibility group (+)

  • An institutional policy on web accessibility (+)

  • An institution-wide accessibility action plan (+)

  • The availability of resources for web accessibility efforts (+)

  • Activities to advance the visibility, promotion, and communication of web accessibility efforts (+)

Benchmark B: Relevant Stakeholder Participation

It should be noted, that not all examples below are required to point to evidence of this Benchmark. However, work across these examples show added strength of Stakeholder Participation.

  • Individuals representing a full range of stakeholders are involved in institution-wide planning and continuous improvement (+)

  • Institution personnel are engaged in professional development that includes, or is focused on, web accessibility (+)

  • Faculty, staff and students take responsibility for web accessibility outcomes within their purview (+)

  • Systems are available for individuals to provide feedback on the implementation and outcomes of web accessibility (+)