IMS Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) Terms and Definitions

Version 1.0


Candidate Final
Version 1.0


Date Issued:            26 March  2012

Latest version:

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Table of Contents

1.      Introduction.. 3

1.1.    Scope and Context 3

1.2.    Structure of this Document 3

1.3.    Related Documents. 4

2.      Acronyms. 5

3.      Related Specifications. 6

4.      Glossary of Terms. 8

5.      Accessibility Definitions. 16

About this Document.. 21

List of Contributors. 21

Revision History.. 22



1.               Introduction

1.1.        Scope and Context

This document is part of a set that contains the recommended best practices for the use of the Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) Standard.  The APIP Standard provides assessment programs and question item developers a data model for standardizing the file format of digital test items. When applied properly, the APIP standards accomplish two important goals. First, the APIP standards allow digital test items to be ported across APIP compliant test item banks.  Second, the APIP standards provide all the information and resources required to make a test item accessible for students with a variety of disabilities and special needs to a test delivery interface.

This document contains the terms and definitions, and other useful information that is required to provide a full context for the APIP.

This version of the document is Candidate Final, meaning the technical solution described in the specification is as definitive as possible in the absence of numerous systems and content that have implemented the specification and achieved official conformance. IMS strongly encourages its members and the community in general to continue/begin developing to the specification now. When a sufficient number of systems have proven the solution works through successful conformance achievement, the Candidate Final specification will be submitted to IMS members for Final approval. IMS expects only minor refinements based on implementation experience during this Candidate Final period.

Revisions to the APIP specification will be posted here: 
To join the IMS developer and conformance certification community focused on APIP and QTI v2.1 please visit the IMS QTI2/APIP Alliance online here: 
Public contributions, comments and questions can be posted here:


1.2.        Structure of this Document

The structure of the rest of this document is:

2.   Acronyms

The list of acronyms used through the APIP documentation;

3.   Related Specifications

A summary of the set of specifications and standards upon which APIP is based;

4.   Glossary of Terms

Brief definitions of the key terms used through the APIP documentation;

5.   Accessibility Definitions

Definition of the accessibility terms and the key relationships used through the APIP documentation.

1.3.        Related Documents

[APIP, 12a]                 Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) v1.0 Technical Specification, Candidate Final Release, G.Driscoll, T.Hoffmann, W.Ostler, M.Russell, M.McKell and C.Smythe, IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc., March 2012.

[APIP, 12b]                 Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) v1.0 Technical Specification of QTIv2.1 Features, Candidate Final Release, G.Driscoll, T.Hoffmann, W.Ostler, M.Russell, M.McKell and C.Smythe, IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc., March 2012.

[APIP, 12c]                 Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) v1.0 Technical Specification of AfA PNP v2.0 Features, Candidate Final Release, G.Driscoll, T.Hoffmann, W.Ostler, M.Russell, M.McKell and C.Smythe, IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc., March 2012.

2.               Acronyms


ACCLIP         Access for All Learner Information Package

AfA DRD       Access for All Digital Resource Description

AfA PNP        Access for All Personal Needs & Preferences

APIP               Accessible Portable Item Protocol

CC                   Common Cartridge

CP                   Content Packaging

DRD               Digital Resource Description

HTML             Hypertext Mark-up Language

I-BAT             IMS Binding Auto-generation Toolkit

IEEE               Institution of Electronic & Electrical Engineers

IMS Global     IMS Global Learning Consortium

ISO/IEC          International Standards Organization/International Electro-technical Commission

LOM               Learning Object Metadata

LMS                Learning Management System

LTI                  Learning Tools Interoperability

PNP                 Personal Needs & Preferences

PSM                Platform Specific Model

SIF                  Schools Interoperability Framework

QTI                 Question & Test Interoperability

UML               Unified Modeling Language

VDEX             Vocabulary Definition Exchange

XML               Exchange Mark-up Language

XSD                XML Schema Definition

3.               Related Specifications


IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) v1.0 Standard

LOM, or IEEE 1484.12.1:2002, is the IEEE standard for the describing of “learning objects”.  There is a long list of metadata attributes many of which have little relevance and common usage.  LOM and the IMS Metadata have a community origin and either the IEEE or IMS XML Bindings can be used to create LOM metadata instances.  IMS use the IMS LOM binding.

IMS Access for All Digital Resource Description (AfA DRD) v2.0 Specification

An information model defining data structures that are used to describe the accessibility properties of the digital resources to which the metadata is attached.  This specification was released by IMS in October 2009 and has also been adopted by ISO and released as ISO/IEC 24751-3:2008.

IMS Access For All Personal Needs and Preferences (PNP) v2.0 Specification

The Access For All PNP v2.0 specification was released by IMS Global in 2010.  This is based upon the original Access For All Learner Information Package (ACCLIP) v1.0 and the revision by ISO/IEC to create ISO/IEC 24751 Part 2.

IMS LTI Best Practices and Implementation Guide v1.1

The IMS Global Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) v1.1 specification was released as Final in 2012.  LTI v1.0 has been widely implemented and was included as a feature in CCv1.1 so that content based upon third party players could be exchanged in a cartridge.  LTI v1.1 provides support for the exchange of outcomes.

IMS Common Cartridge (CC) v1.0 Profile

The Common Cartridge v1.0 was released in October 2008 and has rapidly been established as an important content distribution method for publishers and LMS vendors. The Common Cartridge defines an open format for the distribution of rich, web-based content. It is designed to ensure the correct installation and operation of content across any Common Cartridge conformant platforms and tools. The specification defines a profile for the use of specifications already widely implemented and in use across the community.  CCv1.1 will be released in January 2011.

IMS Content Packaging (CP) v1.2 Specification

An information model describing data structures that are used to provide interoperability of Internet based content with content creation tools, learning management systems and run time environments.  The CP specification was created by IMS Global and the latest version available to the public is v1.2.  V1.2 is backwards compatible with CPv1.1.4 and is undergoing standardization by ISO/IEC SC36.

IMS Metadata v1.3 Specification

In August 2006, the IMS Global Metadata Information Model was deprecated in favor of the IEEE LOM.  The IMS XML binding v1.2.4 does not creates valid XML instances of LOM.  A new IMS Metadata v1.3 XML binding was released by IMS in April 2010.  This new binding is used as the basis for all LOM-based profiles created by IMS.

IMS Question & Test Interoperability (QTI) v2.1 Specification

An information model describing data structures that are used to provide interoperability of assessments/tests and questions/items.  This specification was created by IMS and the latest version available to the public is v2.1 (released in 2006).  This forms the basis of the APIP Item.

IMS Vocabulary Definition Exchange (VDEX) Specification

This is an information model for the exchange of vocabulary definitions: for this Profile these are flat, token vocabularies.  This enables vocabularies to be defined in a machine-readable form.  For this Profile the vocabularies will be stored in the IMS vocabulary repository.

ISO/IEC 24751 Access For All Digital Resource Description Part 3 Standard

This is the ISO/IEC version of the IMS Global’s Access For All DRD v2.0 specification.  Unfortunately, this is only an information model and so the IMS AfA DRD XML binding should be used for a machine-readable version of this ISO/IEC standard.

ISO/IEC 24751 Access For All Personal Needs and Preferences Part 2 Standard

This is the ISO/IEC version of the IMS Global’s ACCLIP v1.0 specification.  Unfortunately, this is only an information model.  The IMS Access For All PNP v2.0 specification was released in 2010 and has an XML binding that will also validate ISO/IEC PNP instances.



4.               Glossary of Terms


Access Element

This is the structure within APIP that is used to contain a single facet of the APIP accessibility information.  The alternative content for an Item is defined using a number of access elements.  Each access element defines the alternative content and identifies the part of the original QTI Item to which it refers.

Activate By Default

In the APIP Personal Needs and Preferences profile, many of the supports include the activateByDefault tag. This means that the specified support should be actively running when the testing session is initiated. For example, if a user had a magnification need, and activateByDefault = true for that user, when their test session began, the testing interface would have the magnification turned on, not just available as an option.

Answer Reduction

This is the process by which the number of possible answers in a multiple-choice question is reduced.  The content author must define which possible answers are to be removed and the order in which the removal should take place.

APIP Interchange File

This is the ‘zip’ file that is used to contain one, or more, APIP Items and all of the associated asset files, and the mandatory ‘imsmanifest.xml’ file.  This interchange file is a profiled form of the ‘zip’ file defined as a content package in the IMS Content Package specification.


An APIP Item is a collection of QTI assessmentItems that provide an accessibility enabled QTI assessmentItem.  The multiple forms provide alternative renderings of the basic assessmentItem to reflect configuration of the Item for particular learner accessibility preferences.


An APIP Test is equivalent to a QTI assessmentTest. An APIP Content Package may contain a test structure.


See QTI Assessment Item.


See QTI Assessment Test.

Assigned Support

In the APIP Personal Needs Profile many of the supports include the assignedSupport tag. When included for the support, the tag is considered true by default. It means that the student requires this support during assessment. If a profile includes the support tag, but not the assignedSupport tag, the assumption is that the support should be provided. The possibility of a assignedSupport=false is included in the event that the user profile wanted to affirm that the user is specifically not to use a support during testing, most likely changing  from a previous use of the support. 

Braille Text

This is the text that is rendered as Braille using an appropriate piece of hardware (refreshable Braille display).


Chunking is designed to assist students in processing information by breaking passages into smaller sections, each of which focus on a specific topic or element of information. The chunk is used with extended text passages and specifies how a passage is to be divided into shorter segments, chunks, when displayed for a student. Chunking is reserved for future uses in APIP. It is not used within the APIP v1 profile.

Common Cartridge

This is a form of Content Packaging that was designed to provide a wide range of content interoperability including assessment (using IMS QTI v1.2.1).  It also supports web links, discussion topics and the launching of third party tools.  Later versions of Common cartridge and APIP will be harmonized.

Companion Materials

Companion Materials are materials and tools that the examinee is expected to work with while performing an item. These materials and tools may include a reading passage, a primary document, a periodic table, ruler, protractor, calculator, etc. Companion materials information also identifies any lookup dictionaries associated with the item to provide definitions or translations of specific words within an item. The companion materials information is intended to be used by a test delivery interface to make the requisite material available when the item is presented or to identify the appropriate definition or translation of item content when the examinee requests such information.

Content Information (PNP)

Content Information, provides information about the contents of the item that are to be presented to an examinee assuming no access needs have been defined for that examinee. This information includes the item type, the prompt, media associated with the item (e.g. figures, tables, graphs), response options, correct response, scoring rule, etc. The content information component specifies the information that forms the item and additional information used by a test engine to score an item. The APIP content information is based on QTI specifications.

Content Link Information

This is the description of how the new APIP alternative content is linked to the original QTI assessmentItem content. The link to the control structures in the assessmentItem is via the use of the ‘id’ attribute (this is an optional attribute for all of the HMTL content features in QTIv2.1).  Each new APIP content feature can itself have alternative content features i.e. recursive.  In the latter case the content link information uses the value of the ‘contentLinkIdentifier’ attribute that must be assigned to every alternative piece of content. The content link can refer to either the entire structure identified or, in the case of text, to some substructure e.g. a character, a word or a string of characters.

Content Package

The key exchange object defined in the IMS CP specification.  A profiled version of CP is used in IMS QTIv2.1 for the exchange of assessmentItems and assessmentTests.  It is the profiled version of CP for QTI that is further profiled in APIP to create the APIP Interchange File.

Control Information (PNP)

This is the collection of needs and preferences for how to configure alternative access systems for controlling a device.  In APIPv1.0, none of the original AfA PNP features are supported i.e. only the new features added by APIP are permitted.

Curriculum Standards Metadata

This is an IMS metadata specification that is used to enable learning resources to be linked to the appropriate learning standards (standards that define the required learning objectives for a specific subject and level of education).  The external learning standards are identified using a GUID (the GUID defined by some authority that maintains electronically available versions of the learning standards).

Display Information (PNP)

This is the AfA PNP v2.0 information that is used to describe the user preferences for displaying information i.e. the way in which the content should be rendered for the user.

Extensible Mark-up Language (XML)

This is the underlying language used by IMS to define the interoperability. APIP zip files contain XML instances which when combined with other asset files e.g. images, are the content. The validity of an XML instance is defined using an associated XML Schema Definition (XSD) file and it is these XSD files that are defined by this specification.

File Metadata

This is the metadata defined for a file within the manifest of a content package. Each file can have its own metadata description.  The metadata for a file should be based upon a profile of the LOM metadata.


This is the container for the instructions on how to render information that is subjected to guidance (Language Learner Guidance or Cognitive Guidance).  This is used for students who require assistance identifying the key components of an item, Guidance presents additional information or cues to the examinee. A guidance support is applied to item content and specifies to the test delivery system both the additional information that is to be displayed for the examinee and the content with which the guidance is associated. When the item is presented on screen, the test delivery system may automatically display guidance content associated with the item or may display guidance content on-demand, depending on the specifications provided in the student access profile.

Keyword Emphasis

The alternative content presentation that is to be rendered when keyWordEmphasis is enabled. Emphasis is often represented as bold, italic, or bold/italic, though other forms would be permissible.

Inclusion Order

Inclusion Order specifies the order in which accessibility elements are to be presented to an examinee with a given category of access needs. The six categories of access needs for which an inclusion order is specified include: 1) Braille presentation; 2) Spoken, Text Only presentation (; 3) Spoken, Text & Graphics presentation; 4) Spoken Non-visual presentation; 5) Graphics Only spoken presentation 5) American Sign Language presentation; and 6) Exact Signed English presentation. For each category of access needs, the inclusion order also specifies whether the accessible content element is to be presented by default, where accessibility elements are presented to an examinee from the beginning to the end of their specific inclusion order, without stopping between elements and requiring the examinee to reinitiate playback. Some categories (Spoken Text Only, Spoken Text & Graphics, Spoken Graphics Only, ASL, Signed English) also include an “…onDemandOrder”. On demand orders include content that is presented to the examinee only at the specific request of the examinee. An example might be a label for a diagram, where the examinee would not want the label presented to them when understanding an item’s stimulus, prompt, or responses; but the examinee would access this information when examining the diagram when considering their response. For these six categories of access needs, default presentation and on-demand presentation are described in greater detail in the Examinee Access Information section.


Within APIP, Item is used to refer to the concept of a question in an assessment (including all of its associated accessibility constructs and response processing).  An Item is also an important feature within the IMS Content Packaging specification.  CP Items are not permitted in APIP.  An assessmentItem and a CP Item are not the same and are not related (they are constructs from different IMS specifications).  A CP Item and an APIP Item are not related.

Keyword Translation

An examine for whom the default language used to represent item content is different than the examinee’s native language may require specific key words to be translated to another language.  When keyword translation is activated, the test delivery system should allow an examinee to access a key word translation on-demand at any time while the item is displayed.


This is the XML structure contained within the file “imsmanifest.xml” that must be included within a content package.

Manifest Metadata

This is the metadata that is defined at the top level of the manifest.  LOM is used as the required format and manifest metadata is required in an APIP Content Package.  This metadata is used to describe the APIP content package as a whole and not just the manifest within the package.


This is a structure within a content package that is used to describe the logical structure of the contents within a content package.  Organizations are not permitted in an APIP Content Package.

Platform Specific Model (PSM)

The XML bindings of the data models created by IMS are generated using a PSM. The PSM is a form of UML diagram. The PSM representation is used by the IMS Binding Auto-generation Toolkit (I-BAT) to create the associated XSD.


This is the process by which one or more specifications are tailored and combined to meet the interoperability requirements of a specific market sector or user community. IMS makes extensive use of profiling of their specifications to establish best practice interoperability.

QTI Assessment Item

This is the representation of an Item using QTI. Each assessmentItem is contained in its own XML instance file. An APIP Item is a type of QTI assessmentItem i.e. a profiled version.

QTI Assessment Test

This is the representation of a Test using QTI.  Each assessmentTest is contained in its own XML instance file.  The associated assessmentItems are contained in their own XML instance files.

QTI Metadata

This is the metadata for QTI assessmentItems as defined within the IMS QTI v2.1 specification.  Within APIP this metadata is contained with the LOM for the metadata of a resource in the manifest of the APIP content package.

Related Element Information

This is the collection of the accessibility information that is used for the various alternative renderings of the QTI content.  For APIPv1.0 this includes the forms of spoken, brailleText, tactileFile, signFile, keywordTranslation, revealAlternativeRepresentation, guidance and keyWordEmphasis.


A resource is a structure in a content package that is used to identify the physical resources that are used.  In APIP the resource types are the original root QTI XML instance, the set of alternative QTI XML instances reflecting the accessibility capabilities, the set of related asset files (such as images, audio files, etc.) and the set of control files (such as XSDs) contained within the content package.  Every physical file contained within the content package must identified in a resource.

Resource Metadata

This is the metadata defined for a resource within the manifest of a content package.  Each resource is expected to have its own metadata description.  The metadata for a resource is based upon a profile of the LOM metadata that also includes an extension to support the QTI Metadata.

Reveal Alternative Representation

This is the information that defines the preferences for the manner in which the alternative representation should be revealed.  In APIPv1.0 only ‘textString’ is supported i.e. rendered using some form of text-based presentation.


For students who require a high level of support processing information presented in an item and who may require assistance maintaining focus, scaffolding is designed to walk a student through an item element by element with additional support provided. Scaffolding combines elements of guidance and masking. Like structured masking, scaffolding applies a mask to specific item content and specifies the order in which a mask is to be revealed. Like guidance, scaffolding associates additional information with item content. Scaffolding is reserved for future uses in APIP. It is not used within the APIP v1 profile.

Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF)

SIF is a data sharing specification for K-12. The specification has two parts: a set of XML data models for administrative data in K-12 and a communications framework for sharing the data between institutions. The communications framework is based upon a centralized controller called a Zone Integration Server (ZIS).

Sign File

This is a file that contains a visual (video) rendering of the signing that is used to accompany some written text.

Structured Mask

For students who require assistance maintaining focus, masking may be used to display smaller blocks of information. Structured masking is used to assist the student in developing an understanding of an item by masking specific elements of the item and revealing them in a prescribed order. A separate structured mask tag is applied to each item content element and the order in which the content is intended to be revealed is specified for each mask.  When a student access profile specifies structured masking, the test delivery system will initially present this item with the introductory text and item prompt revealed. At the student’s demand, the graphic element will be revealed. At the student’s demand, each answer option will be revealed. Answer options are included in structured mask by default, and should be ordered last. Structured Mask is reserved for future uses in APIP. It is not used within the APIP v1 profile.

Unified Modeling Language (UML)

UML is a generic representation language for software-based systems. This is the representation form used by IMS to describe the data models and bindings defined in the IMS specifications. IMS use a profile of UMLv2.1.


This is a feature in the IMS CPv1.2 that is used to contain alternative resource information. A resource can have many variants (for example, an English variant, a Spanish variant, and a Simplified English Variant). In APIP the variant structure is used to contain the metadata that describes the conditions under which the alternative forms of an item are available to be used. Variants for an item are packaged together in a single item content package.


This is the content that is to be presented in a spoken form e.g. read aloud using a speech synthesizer (live or pre-recorded) or pre-recorded human sound file. The actual form in which the spoken rendering is realized is dependent upon the content presented as the alternative forms.

XML Schema Definition (XSD)

This is the control file(s) that is use to define the valid structure of associated XML instance files. An XSD may consist of several linked physical files.


5.               Accessibility Definitions

For the definitions in this section, the numbering system used in the APIP Compliance documentation is repeated here to connect the definitions with compliance. The definitions below are the definitive description of the access supports for use within APIP.

The complete list of supports available for APIP v1 include:

A: Alternate Representations

Spoken Support (sometimes called read aloud or verbal): Text presented to the user is spoken aloud. Graphics (tables/diagrams/pictures) would have alternate text that could be spoken aloud.

A1    Spoken, Text Only: Only text (alpha-numeric) content will have spoken support. At the discretion of the author, some text may have enhanced spoken information, or may not be included (like reading numbers in a math assessment). Graphics would NOT be described to this user.

A2    Spoken, Text and Graphics: Text content as well as graphic content will be described to the user. Some more contextual information about layout or object orientation may be added for this user, depending on the content.

A3    Spoken, Non-Visual: All content is read and described to the user, as the expectation is that the user cannot see the content. Contextual information about layout or object orientation may be needed for some content. Special consideration may be needed for the order in which the information is presented.

A4    Spoken, Graphics Only: Only graphic descriptions would be read aloud to this examinee. Examinees access this information on-demand only (at the examinee’s request).

A5    Spoken, Directions Only: Only test directions are read aloud to the user.

A6    Recording Speed (Slow, Medium, Fast): the rate of speech that a recorded audio file presents spoken verbal information. Systems that can adjust the rate of speech for pre-recorded audio files at the moment of delivery might adjust the rate based on the Medium (or regular) rate of speech.

         Voice Type (Human or Synthetic): whether a pre-recorded audio file was created by a human reading text, or generated by computer speech emulation (Synthetic).

               For Content compliance, content would provide specific information about the sound files provided within the content, allowing user preferences about the type of audio representation to be considered for use during presentation. For PNP compliance, the system would store the user’s spoken preferences. For Delivery compliance, the system would provide the user’s spoken preferences (using their Personal Needs Profile information) to the delivery system when the testing session is initiated.

A7    Screen Reader Preferences (usage, speech rate, pitch, etc.): preferred characteristics of computer generated voice for the examinee. For PNP compliance, the system would store the user’s synthetic spoken preferences. For Delivery compliance, the system provides specific synthetic spoken preferences (using their PNP information) to the delivery system when the testing session is initiated.

Braille: Content would have specific text strings to be used in a refreshable Braille display device. The device is expected to convert the text into Braille.

A8    Braille: All content is presented as Braille characters and described to the user, as the expectation is that the user cannot see the content. Contextual information about layout or object orientation may be needed for some item or test content.

A9    Braille user preferences (grade, dots, cells, etc.): Allows the system to provide the user’s preferred Braille preferences (using their Personal Needs Profile information) to the delivery system for use with a refreshable Braille display.

Tactile: An external, physical representation of parts of the item content, or the item’s companion materials.

A10  Tactile: A tactile representation of the graphic information is made available outside of the computer testing system. The access element tags should include descriptions of how to locate the specific tactile sheet (using referencing numbers/letters/symbols) needed to respond to the item. This support is simply a reference to tactile materials for the examinee. It does not provide a description of how to form/create the physical, tactile representation.

Sign Language: Animated or live-action movie recordings are provided to the user.

A11  Signing Type: ASL: Additional American Sign Language content is provided to the user. Unlike other translated content, ASL content is presented in addition (or in parallel) to the default content.

A12  Signing Type: Signed English: Additional Signed English content is provided to the user. Unlike other translated content, Signed English is presented in addition (or in parallel) to the default content.

Item Translation: A different language variant of the same item.

A13  Item Translation: An alternate item is made, and the user is exposed to the alternate language version. The content package would contain which specific language it is providing.

Keyword Translation: parts of item or test content are translated and available to specific examinees.

A14  Keyword Translation: Certain specific words or phrases would have translations available to users who need some assistance with difficult or important words in the content. The examinee profile would specify the language requested, and the content would supply the translation for the program-required languages.

Simplified Language: An entirely different variant of the item is given to the user, using simpler language.

A15  Simplified Language: the examinee is presented with the Simplified Language variant of the item (if available). Not all items in a particular assessment may need simplification. The default content may be considered accessible by examinee’s requiring Simplified Language support.

Alternate Representation: Specifies an alternate way of displaying content to facilitate the users access to the content. As an example, a text-based description of a figure displaying a life cycle might be provided, or an animation that represents a series of events described in text might be provided.

A16  Alternate Representation: present a text string alternative of the original representation.


B: Adapted Presentations

Magnification: All content is magnified by the amount specified by the user.

B1    Magnification: Provides the capability to magnify content

B2    Magnification, Amount: For PNP compliance, the system stores the user’s preferred magnification amount. For Delivery compliance, the system provides the user’s preferred magnification amount (using the PNP information) when the testing session is initiated.

Color Adjustments: specific changes are made to the interface at the request of the user that allows them to visually access the content or interface.

B3    Reverse Contrast: inverts all the color values in the assessment environment. Black is white, white is black, Red is Green, Blue is Orange, etc.

B4    Alternate Text and Background Colors: The interface allows the user to select alternate colors for the text (foreground) and background colors.

B5    Color Preferences for Alternate Text and Background Colors: the stored, specific color preferences of the examinee. For PNP compliance, the system stores the user’s color preferences for the text and background.  For Delivery compliance, the system provides the user’s preferred color choices (using their PNP information) to the assessment delivery system when the testing session is initiated.

B6    Color Overlay: A color tint is layered over the content to aid in reading the item and test content. It emulates the classroom practice of using color Acetate (transparent plastic) sheets over paper.

B7    Color Preferences for Color Overlay: the stored, specific color preferences of the examinee. For PNP compliance, the system stores the user’s color preferences.  For Delivery compliance, the system provides the user’s preferred color choice (using their PNP information) for the overlay to the assessment delivery system when the testing session is initiated.


C: Adapted Interactions

Masking: Portions of the content and interface may be covered to reduce the amount of stimulus provided to the student during testing.

C1    Answer Masking: By default, answer choices for multiple-choice items are covered when the item is first presented. The user has the ability to remove the masks at a time of their choosing.

C2    Masking: The user is able to create their own masks to cover portions of the item until needed.

Auditory Calming: The examinee can listen to music or sounds in the background as they respond to questions during the testing session.

C3    Auditory Calming: Background music or sounds

Additional Testing Time: If a test has a time limit, the user will be allowed additional time (specific additional amounts or indefinite) to complete the test.

C4    Additional Testing Time: time & additional testing time are provided by the examinee’s user profile. This support is provided without the ability for the examinee to alter or remove the support.

Breaks: User is allowed to take breaks, at their request, during the testing session.

C5    Breaks

Keyword Emphasis: Certain words are designated in the content as key words. Contracting programs would designate how they are to be emphasized (bold, italic, etc.)

C6    Keyword Emphasis

Line Reader: Examinee has an on-screen tool available that assists them in moving a reading tool (line highlighter or underscore) down (or up) the block of text, line by line, to assist in reading the content.

C7    Line Reader: Examinee has access to a Line Reader Tool.

C8    Color Preferences for Line Reader: the stored, specific color preferences of the examinee. For PNP compliance, the system stores the user’s color preferences.  For Delivery compliance, the system provides the user’s preferred color choice (using their PNP information) for the color overlay in the Line Reader Tool to the assessment delivery system when the testing session is initiated. Note: not all Line Reader Tools use color to help highlight or guide reading.

Guidance: The examinee is provided with supplemental information about all or portions of the item/test content to aid in their processing of the presented information.

C9    Language Learner: Additional information is provided in the test language about words or phrases that is intended to assist the Language Learner process those words or phrases.

C10  Cognitive Guidance: Additional information is provided to assist an examinee process or understand all or part of an item. Guidance may include how they are expected to respond to an item (e.g., additional instructions that emphasize that the student should use the information presented in a graph to answer the question).


D: Companion Materials

D1    Calculator: All Calculators would have access to all number digits, decimal key, equals button, and Clear button. Read aloud capability should be something that is configurable to either allow or not allow during testing. Additionally, some institutions allow for reading the numbers or functions as you use them, but do not allow reading the number as a whole. This is usually for Math related content. The four possible calculators that can be specified are Basic, Standard, Scientific, and Graphing.

D1a        Basic Calculator: Assumed functions: Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide.

D1b        Standard Calculator: Assumed functions: all basic calculator functions, Square root, Percentage (%) , Plus/Minus, a.k.a. Sign Change, Memory Functions

D1c        Scientific Calculator: Assumed functions may include, but are not limited to: all standard calculator functions, a π key, sign change (+/-), square (x2) , cube (x3),  x to the y (xy), square root (√) , cube root , xth root , logarithm keys, log, ln, base 10, base e, Trigonometry function keys with an INVERSE key for the inverse functions, sin, cos, tan, hsin (hyperbolic sin), hcos, (hyperbolic cos), htan (hyperbolic tan), DEG, RAD, GRAD conversion, a capacity to work in both degree and radian mode, a reciprocal key (1/x) – calculate the inverse of the displayed value, permutation and/or combination keys (nPr , nCr), parentheses keys, metric conversion, permutation and combination keys, nPr,  cPr, x!

D1d        Graphing Calculator: A Graphing calculator includes many of the same functions of a scientific calculator, plus the ability to display equations graphically.

D2    Rule: Allows for the presentation of a measuring device for use on the computer with the supplied content. The ruling system can be specified as metric (SI) or US measurement systems.

D3    Protractor: The examinee will be supplied with an on-screen protractor while responding to the item. Increments can be specified as metric (radians) or US (degrees) systems of angular measurement.

D4    Reading Passage: Allows a reference to a reading passage that needs to be provided to the examinee while responding to an item.

D5    Digital Materials: Content or reference materials that relate to the item content. Examples could be a map, a table of information, a sheet of math formulas, an interactive periodic table of elements, or even graphic creation tools.

D6    Physical Materials: External materials needed to work with, or respond with, when the examinee responds to the item.


About this Document

Title:                                       IMS Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) Terms and Definitions

Editors:                                  Colin Smythe (IMS Global), Mark McKell (IMS Global) and Thomas Hoffmann (Measured Progress)

Co-chairs:                              Gary Driscoll   ETS (USA), Thomas Hoffmann (Measured Progress) and Wayne Ostler (Pearson)

Version:                                  1.0

Version Date:                         26 March 2012

Release:                                  Draft 1.0

Status:                                    Candidate Final Release

Summary:                             The aim of the APIP Project is to use well established e-learning interoperability standards to enable the exchange of accessible assessment content between computer-based assessment systems, tools and applications.  Users of systems, tools and applications that adopt the APIP are able to use their accessible assessment content on a wide range of systems.  This document contains the set of terms, accessibility definitions, glossary and acronyms used for APIP.

Revision Information:           First release.

Purpose:                                 This document is made available for adoption by the public community at large.

Document Location:   



List of Contributors

The following individuals contributed to the development of this document:

Rob Abel            IMS Global (USA)

Devin Loftis       McGraw-Hill/CTB (USA)

Gary Driscoll      ETS (USA)

Mark McKell      IMS Global (USA)

Eric Hansen        ETS (USA)

Wayne Ostler     Pearson (USA)

Casey Hill          ETS (USA)

Zack Pierce        Measured Progress (USA)

Regina Hoag      ETS (USA)

Mike Russell      Measured Progress (USA)

Thomas Hoffmann      Measured Progress (USA)

Colin Smythe     IMS Global (UK)

Revision History


Version No.

Release Date


Candidate Final v1.0

26 March 2012

The first formal release of the Candidate Final version of this document.











IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (“IMS Global”) is publishing the information contained in this document (“Specification”) for purposes of scientific, experimental, and scholarly collaboration only.

IMS Global makes no warranty or representation regarding the accuracy or completeness of the Specification.

This material is provided on an “As Is” and “As Available” basis.

The Specification is at all times subject to change and revision without notice. 

It is your sole responsibility to evaluate the usefulness, accuracy, and completeness of the Specification as it relates to you.

IMS Global would appreciate receiving your comments and suggestions.

Please contact IMS Global through our website at

Please refer to Document Name: IMS APIP Terms and Definitions v1.0
Candidate Final Release v1.0

Date: 26 March 2012