For the past few years Newsela has been on a journey to create a more accessible platform so that every student can participate in meaningful classroom learning. We are excited to share that over the summer we achieved conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA, the gold standard in web accessibility. This huge accomplishment was achieved as part of a deliberate and concerted effort across our company, and led by our accessibility team, to ensure that every student has access to instructional content that excites, empowers, and unlocks their potential.
As part of our conformance to WCAG 2.1, we offer accessibility supports including, platform navigation using only a keyboard, colors that meet both text and graphical color contrast standards, alternative text on every image, and more.
We are constantly seeking to improve our platform and make it more accessible to students, regardless of their ability or use of assistive technology. To ensure that accessibility is embedded in our work at Newsela, we take steps like providing accessibility training for all Newsela employees, incorporating accessibility into every step of the software development lifecycle, soliciting feedback from teacher and student users through UX research testing and having a dedicated accessibility feedback email.
Why Accessibility Matters
We’re committed to accessibility at Newsela because we know that creating the most accessible classrooms and learning environments benefits all students. If students with disabilities can’t access the large (and growing) number of digital resources used in classrooms, they miss out on learning and their peers miss out on the contributions they would make to the class and materials. When students can’t follow along to the same text, or experience the same videos as their peers, they’re also reminded that the classroom is yet another environment that is unwelcome to those with disabilities.
We also know that in a growing number of states–Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey among them–new laws have been passed requiring digital tools be made accessible to all students, in accordance with WCAG.
The best way to ensure that classroom materials and learning environments are accessible to all is by infusing accessibility considerations into decision-making at every level.
Newsela’s Commitment to Accessible Classrooms
Newsela is well-versed in the world of WCAG compliance, so we’ve put together a “quick-start guide” to help you navigate and make sure all students, especially those with disabilities or developmental delays, can access the important learning materials they need. If you’d like to go more in depth to learn about how to make your classroom or district more WCAG compliant, we’ve put together a hub of resources to get you started.
For more information, visit www.newsela.com/about/wcag!