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Media Accessibility Information, Guidelines and Research

Common Core: DCMP is Your Key Resource

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In an effort to ensure our students are college and career ready, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and The Council of Chief State School Officers, in collaboration with other stakeholders in the education community, created a framework known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). To date, all but five states and the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico have adopted these standards.

States and school districts around the country have begun the process of bringing to scale a significant shift in educational philosophy, educational policy, professional development, resource allocation, and pedagogy. The goal is to ready all students, including those with disabilities, for competition in a global economy. In order to participate with success in the general curriculum designed to achieve this, students with special needs may be provided additional support and services that present information in multiple ways. For teachers of students who are deaf, blind, or deaf-blind, the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) is a key national resource.

Overview of CCSS

The CCSS grew from the College and Career Ready Standards in reading, writing, speaking, listening, language, and mathematics. The CCSS for English Language Arts detail the skills students need to master in order to successfully compete in college or the work force. These standards are also interdisciplinary and integrate literacy into social studies, science, and technical education curriculum. The CCSS do not take the place of content standards; instead they serve as an additional support to ensure students master critical thinking, analytical skills, and application of learning to real world problems or situations. Therefore, students will develop literacy skills focusing on reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, and media and technology in a variety of content areas.

The CCSS for Mathematics ensure that students K-5 receive foundational concepts before moving into upper-level math subjects like algebra, geometry, and statistics. The foundational skills mastered in the elementary grades will enable students to apply mathematical concepts to real world problems as they enter middle and high school. Like the English Language Arts Standards, the CCSS for Mathematics provide students with understanding and provide teachers with grade specific standards students are to master. However, the mathematics standards differ in their organization, as teachers are guided by clusters and domains. The standards are structured in this format, since math is a connected subject and previously mastered skills are essential for understanding and mastering future mathematics skills.

DCMP: Key Support for Literacy Development

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides a free-loan collection of over 4,000 described and captioned educational media items which can be viewed online or be ordered for shipment in DVD format to registered members. The DCMP is also the go-to center for information about educational media access, including tips for its effective use, research reports which support its need, and assistance in learning how to add descriptions and captions to media. And there is more—we answer teachers’ questions about equal access and help parents advocate for their children’s educational needs. You qualify for membership if your child or at least one student in your class has a vision or hearing loss. All students in inclusive classrooms benefit from media with description and captions.

While captions are critical for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, they are also an aid in the literacy skills development of many others. As early as the mid-1980s, researchers determined that captions can turn television into a moving story book, a steady stream of written language presented with both video and audio reinforcement. Subsequent research continued to demonstrate that captioned media can be used as a literacy tool with hearing children, as they ‘see’ the words as they hear them. Read Captions Across America is a national DCMP reading event that puts emphasis on the benefits of captioned media to help all children with word identification, meaning, acquisition, and retention.

Description, additional narration that translates images into spoken words that are inserted into pauses in a video’s original soundtrack, can make or break the experience of watching a video for a student with a visual impairment. But, listening to description can also expand the effectiveness of educational media for students who are not blind or visually impaired. For sighted children, description offers a promise of a new way to promote literacy and learning. In addition, specialized learners such as students with learning differences, English language learners, and children on the autism spectrum benefit from its value in literacy development (e.g., vocabulary and reading) and content knowledge. Listening Is Learning is a national DCMP campaign promoting the use of described videos with all children, as these videos contain additional narration of all the visual elements – action, costumes, settings, and images. This can greatly enhance composition and creative writing skills, and aid them in learning how to use description in their own writing.

DCMP: Key Support for Content Learning

In respect to students with disabilities, the CCSS focus on research-based instructional practices enabling them to fully participate in classroom instruction and assessment. Furthermore, the standards embrace and comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), while ensuring that students with disabilities are challenged to excel and provided rigorous opportunities in the classroom.

While states and individual school districts may be in different phases regarding the implementation of the CCSS, the DCMP is an essential instructional resource to provide these opportunities, no matter where you are in the process. The DCMP media collection helps you plan instruction aligned to the CCSS as well as to your individual state standards. The CCSS encourages use of non-traditional forms of media, and our accessible videos are like moving informational texts. Beyond our media library, we also provide resources and archived material that offer guidance in current educational practices related to students who are deaf, blind, and deaf-blind.

We recognize that keeping up with local, state, and national educational mandates can be time consuming and even overwhelming. We can help, as we try to make locating needed resources simple! Your keyword search of our library collection will yield a paragraph description of each media item which will enable you to select the exact video you need. And you can browse by key topic areas or numerous subject headings.

We provide educators with an efficient means of locating materials relevant to their specific state and CCSS needs. For example, videos in the DCMP collection can be used to meet sixth grade social studies content standards in multiple states, even though the standards vary greatly. DCMP strives to have the standards covered no matter the state, grade level, or content, and you can help us reach our goal by recommending media to us.


We encourage readers to perform further research of CCSS, and we have provided a listing of “Related Resources” at the end of this article to help you on your way. Whether you are trying to meet CCSS, 21st Century Learning Skills, state standards, or are keeping your eye on the developments related to the Next Generation Science Standards, you can be confident in using DCMP media as a resource.

CCSS provide an historic opportunity to improve access to rigorous academic standards for students with disabilities. DCMP media will help these students acquire information, and using accessible media also benefits children in your class who do not have a sensory loss. Visit us at

Related Resources

Common Core State Standards Homepage

Common Core State Standards: Considerations and Implications for Student with Disabilities/Struggling Students

Ensuring Equal Education for Blind Children: Setting Standards That Promote Excellence

Applications to Students with Disabilities

The Kennedy Center Arts Edge

National Association for Music Education

National Association for Sport and Physical Education

National Council for Social Studies

National Dissemination Center for Children With Disabilities: CCSS

National Educational Technology Standards

Next Generation Science Standards Homepage

Using Film to Teach Common Core Skills

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