AT-SAM: Access Technology Skills Assessment Measure

Access Technology Skill Assessment Measure (AT-SAM) is a standardized test, developed by Virtual Vision Technologies (VVT). It is used to evaluate the skill level of a person who uses access technology to operate a Windows computer in an environment that includes Windows Office, Internet and E-Mail. Employers use AT-SAM to identify disabled job applicants who can operate competitively in their workplace.

AT-Sam directly addresses the question often asked by a prospective employer who wants to hire a disabled job candidate (in this case a blind or visually impaired person). Question: If a candidate applies for a job ,with my company, how do I, objectively and quantitatively, evaluate their competitive ability to use access technology productively in my workplace? This question, or a related one, also applies to Vocation Rehabilitation organization about to send a candidate out on a job search or an educational institute unsure of the course level appropriate to a given student.

VVT has conducted AT-SAM evaluations for a number of corporations. This includes nationwide travel to more than 10 regional offices of a Fortune 50 company to evaluate prospective employees. Also, 50 AT-SAM’s were conducted for a large state Vocational Rehabilitation agency. The result? It worked as advertised. Meaningful measures were obtained and documented and aided the organizations in determining how to proceed in their employment process. After one year of using AT-SAM as part of the screening process at one Fortune 50 corporation, all candidates that were hired through that process were still in their jobs. In fact, most of these employees excelled with high rates of productivity, efficiency, and accuracy when compared to their sighted colleagues

How does AT-SAM work?

AT_SAM is a person-to-person interactive process delivered remotely. The person being assessed can be located anywhere in the world as long as their Windows computer has Microsoft Office applications, the appropriate Access Technology software and the AT-SAM test scripts. The VVT assessors monitor and interact with the person being assessed from the VVT Access Learning Center in the greater Philadelphia area. The monitoring is done by the assessors mirroring, or following along, with the test person’s progress, since they have the same test scripts and access technology on their computer. Interaction is also conducted by use of a speaker phone on both sides. The speaker phone allows the assessors to hear screen reader output and stay in sync with the applicant. The speaker phone also allows for human interaction when needed.

What are the key ingredients that make AT-SAM work:? They are:

1) The testing is comprehensive. It includes elements that are truly reflective of the workplace and are similar to the exercises that would be given to a fully sighted applicant for that same job. 2) The test is an interactive session between the job applicant and the VVT Access Technology assessors, who are legally blind themselves and expert users of the technology being tested.. VVT assessor intervention is very limited and is used only to allow the testing to continue in a meaningful way. For example, if the applicant has taken a wrong path through the application and is in a very deep, probably intractable, hole. 3) The AT-SAM report is delivered within 48 hours to the responsible H/R representative, who may have monitored the test session live on the job applicant end, The reporting and evaluation metrics provides skills measurement results in several meaningful ways.

Reporting & Evaluation Metrics: The AT-SAM assessment team develops a baseline measurement of the blind or low vision person’s abilities to operate a standard Windows computer equipped with Microsoft Office using Access Technologies, in a simulated high pressure work or educational environment. Since the person must use AT to access Windows computers, AT-SAM measures the person’s technology performance skills in two arenas: mainstream and access software and hardware.

The written AT-SAM Results Report gives VR Counselors, HR decision-makers, and educational professionals the detailed scoring data that they need to know about an applicant or student’s AT abilities… and by implication, it is a strong indicator of potential for success in competitive employment or educational environments. The outcome reporting also relates any deficits identified and recommends any necessary course work to achieve common vocational and educational goals and performance levels.

AT-SAM Assessment Features include: • AT-SAM will identify what additional skills should be mastered to apply for employment or continuing education in entry level through to advanced corporate employment or educational options. • AT-SAM Results Reporting provides high level narrative, as well as charted, graphical metric representation of AT skills to document proficiency and suitability for various general vocational and educational requirements. • AT-SAM provides the person being evaluated with the self-awareness and validation that their skills are appropriate for the level of a given position which improves professional presence and self-confidence.. • AT-SAM Results Reports include recommendations for the specific courses required to bring current skills up to appropriate levels and to achieve goals defined in the IEP process or by job descriptions. These recommendations also focus and provide direction for the next steps in the training process.

General skills assessed by AT_SAM include: o Ability to follow directions accurately and promptly o Multi-tasking capabilities o General Internet skills using MS Internet Explorer o General navigation & basic formatting with MS Word o Office tool productivity evaluation available for MS Office 2007/2010 or previous (legacy) versions.

Regardless of how it is applied, AT-SAM is the only tool you’ll need to benchmark the skill level of an AT user as an indicator for real-world success.

Note 1. For best interpretation of this submission, the preferred viewing sequence is the Video URL followed by the Images (screen shots). The video is, in effect, a documentary highlighting AT-SAM creation, development, implementation and results.

Note 2: VVT team members include: Ed Staudt (ed@virtualvisiontech.com), Dan Buchness (dan@virtualvisiontech.com), Elsie Watson (elsie@virtualvisiontech.com), Angie Giltinan (angie@virtualvisiontech.com), Sandra Huwie (sandra@virtualvisiontech.com), Jack Murphy (jack@virtualvisiontech.com), Jason Miller (jason@virtualvisiontech.com), Jhonny Rhemy (jhonny@virtualvisiontech.com), LaDonna Thornton (ladonna@virtualvisiontech.com).

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