Assessment Tools

Assessment Tools

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Assessing for AEM

Does the student need AEM, and if so, which specialized format(s) and technology are required? The following interactive tools can be used by teams to help with decisions about accessible educational materials. Additional assessment tools designed specifically for students with blindness or visual impairment are described in Addendum: Guide for Providing Assistive Technology for Students with Visual Impairments. Schools needing further assistance in assessing students who have visual impairment may request outreach services from the Oklahoma School for the blind at

AEM Navigator

The AEM Navigator from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials is an interactive tool that facilitates the process of decision-making about AEM for an individual student. The AEM Navigator includes guiding questions and useful resources related to determination of need, selection of format(s), acquisition of formats, and selection of supports for use. Decisions and supporting information are saved to a Student Summary that can be edited, saved, and printed. The AEM Navigator also includes an optional, running to-do list for recording team member responsibilities. Find the AEM Navigator at

AEM Explorer

The AEM Explorer is a free downloadable simulation tool that combines grade-leveled digital text with accessibility features common to most text readers and literacy software. This tool is designed for readers with low vision, physical challenges, and learning and attentional difficulties who may benefit from enlarged, spoken, highlighted, or re-formatted text. The AEM Explorer assumes the user has vision and does not address braille use. Settings for magnification; background and text colors; synthesized speech; highlighting; and layout options can be manipulated to determine which supports will help a particular student to comprehend text. The AEM Explorer collects information and prepares a summary that can be saved and printed. Find the AEM Explorer at

Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR)/ Universal Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (uPAR)

The Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (PAR) is an assessment developed by Dr. Denise DeCoste and Linda Bastiani Wilson in collaboration with Don Johnston, Inc. to assist educators in determining the optimal reading accommodation for students. The PAR helps determine whether a particular student needs materials read aloud, and if so, whether natural or synthetic speech is best. The PAR includes narrative and expository reading passages and scoring forms. The assessment has three parts: silent reading, human read-aloud, and synthesized speech read-aloud.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) requires that students be assessed using the PAR prior to receiving a read-aloud accommodation on state tests. Don Johnston, Inc. offers the PAR free of charge in print form or as an online, fee-based service called uPAR. Both the print and online versions of the PAR can be accessed at: The online version includes recorded human voices and synthesized speech. To administer the synthesized speech portion using the print version, educators can use the built-in text-to-speech feature of their computer’s operating system, or a free online text-to-speech generator such as Microsoft Immersive ReaderRead & Write for Google Chrome™, or Natural Reader,