GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

Testing and Validation Metric Assessment Guidelines & Decision Tree

Return to Guidelines for Assessing Program Maturity

Definition
Why is this important?
Examples
Decision Tree Flowchart (New)

Definition

This metric defines to what extent an Agency conducts testing and validation of Section 508 conformance claims.

Why is this important?

While a review of Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPAT) provided by a vendor or contractor is a starting point, sometimes testing may be required to validate assertions of Section 508 compliance, to inform remediation planning, and to monitor Agency progress with achieving Section 508 compliance. In addition, testing may be required on an ongoing basis to validate the technology developed, maintained and used by an Agency is compliant with the applicable 508 standards over time.

Examples

The following examples are provided to demonstrate how an Agency may translate their current operations against the maturity measures and are not intended to represent all possibilities.

  1. Ad Hoc: There are no formal Agency policies, processes procedures in place to validate Section 508 conformance claims. Section 508 conformance claims are taken at face value. There are no resources dedicated to Section 508 testing or if testing is performed, there are no guidelines for when and how Section 508 testing is performed or how results are reported.

  2. Planned: Agency testing policies, processes and procedures are established that indicate what should be tested and how testing should be performed and reported, and they have been communicated to the appropriate Agency stakeholders. However, resources have not been allocated to perform Section 508 testing, or resources exist but have not been trained on how to conduct Section 508 testing.

  3. Resourced: Agency Section 508 testing policies, processes and procedures are established and communicated to the appropriate stakeholders. Testing staff, as well as other resources if needed, are made available to perform Section 508 testing as directed by policy. Testing staff and/or contractors are properly trained, resources are provided to support testing activities. Section 508 testing is conducted in accordance with testing policies, processes and procedures.

  4. Measured: Testing staff is trained and made available to implement established Agency Section 508 testing policies, processes and procedures, and consistently adhere to them. The Agency validates adherence by collecting and tracking data on Section 508 testing activities, and uses results to inform decision making and planning.

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Decision Tree Flowchart (New)

Use the following decision tree to ascertain the most appropriate maturity level. Scroll down for text version.

Testing and Validation decision tree. Refer to the full text version below this image for detailed descriptions

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Decision Tree - Text Version:

Maturity Question Implied Maturity Level If the Answer is “No” Key Considerations before moving onto the next question
  1. Do you have a formal policy, processes and procedures in place to validate Section 508 conformance claims?
Ad Hoc: You have a general outline, a circulated draft or policy, or one is being developed.  
  1. Does your policy require review of VPAT documents?
Ad Hoc: Formal policies have been defined for some parts of our agency, but VPATs are not requested and/or are accepted at face value. If the answer is yes, a policy, processes and procedures is in place to validate VPAT documents.
  1. Do you have an implementation plan?
Ad Hoc: Agency does not have or is in the process of creating testing policies, processes and procedures. If the answer is yes, then an implementation plan has been created which includes what should be tested and how testing should be performed and reported.
  1. Have you communicated the policies, processes and procedures to appropriate stakeholders?
Ad Hoc: The policies, processes and procedures have been communicated to some, but not all key stakeholders, or this is currently underway. If the answer is yes, policies, processes and procedures have been communicated to all stakeholders who are involved in assessing VPAT documents.
  1. Are staff available to implement the Section 508 milestones, reviews and approvals?
Ad Hoc: Resources are not available or assigned. If the answer is yes, specific resources have been identified and allocated. Resources would include both testing staff as well as other resources as needed.
  1. Are the assigned resources trained in how to review Section 508 conformance claims?
Planned: The resources are allocated but they have not been trained on Section 508 conformance testing. If the answer is yes, the resources are trained on how to validate Section 508 conformance claims, and when and how exceptions should be reviewed and approved.
  1. Does the agency conduct Section 508 testing according with the Section 508 testing policies, processes and procedures?
Planned: Section 508 conformance is not validated by trained staff or is not done consistently. If the answer is yes, the agency applies the appropriate level of due diligence (expert review to hands-on testing) to validate Section 508 conformance.
  1. Does the agency validate adherence to policies, processes and procedures?
Resourced: Policies are implemented but tracking data is not collected or analyzed. If the answer is yes, then the agency has implemented policies, processes and procedures, and takes steps to validate Section 508 conformance.
  1. Is data used to inform decisions and improve effectiveness and efficiency?
Resourced: Data is collected but is not analyzed and no improvements have been made.  
  1. Measured: Policy is fully implemented, staffed and is consistently adhered to. Data is collected to inform decision making and planning.
   

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