Fifteen year old student Payton Bogert, who is hard of hearing, is disputing accessibility in the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) test, with an audio clip in her imminent tests.
An ASL version of the audio clip exists but Bogert, who is not fluent in sign language and wants to go to Princeton University, has asked the FSA, the state Department of Education and Education Commissioner to caption the audio clip for equal access during the tests.
Earlier this year, FSA representatives highlighted a new access provision whereby a teacher could read the passage multiple times to a student in Bogert’s situation, for audio-visual comprehension (lipreading and hearing) of the content being assessed during the test.
Bogert rejected this provision on the basis that it could be ‘demeaning’ to deaf people:
By asking me to repeat information repetitively and depend on someone to read to me, you are allowing my disability to be flagged in vibrant colors.
Over 4,332 students with hearing issues attend public schools in Florida but education officials cannot say how many are unable to access the ASL window in the annual FSA tests.
Education systems worldwide are now being challenged by students with digital hearing, who request captions instead of historical provisions like sign-language interpreters.