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Accessibility Help

There are various types of physical disabilities that impact user interaction on the web. Vision loss, hearing loss, limited manual dexterity, and cognitive disabilities are examples, with each having different means by which to access electronic information effectively. The goal of the TN Department of Education is to provide a good web experience for all visitors.

Below you will find a list of quicklinks to some of the technology solutions we are integrating to make this website easy to navigate, fast-loading and accessible.

What Will Make Our Website Accessible?

  • Clean, Simple and Consistent: Our website uses simple information architecture with uniform navigation and reliable headings throughout. Content layout is consistent on every page.
  • The Navigation: The main navigation, located just below the title banner (TN.Gov logo and branding banner), uses lists. Lists make it easier for screen readers to literally read down the list without having to sort through unnecessary code. Lists also allow the users to use the tab key to move from link to link.
  • Breadcrumb Navigation: Breadcrumbs, located at the top of each page (except for homepages) and directly below the main navigation, let you know where you are and where you have been, or where a particular file resides. Breadcrumbs make it easier to navigate your way back to the root folder.
  • Images With Alternative Text:Photographs and other relevant images on the site are accompanied by alternative text (the ALT tag.) Alt tags provide a written description of the image, which is accessible to screen readers, and it is visible when the mouse is placed over the image. This is also useful for people who have images turned off on their browser, in which case description will display where the image used to be.
  • Relative Font Sizing: Relative font size can be enlarged using magnification tools or by changing your browser settings.
  • Style Sheets: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used for content layout and graphical elements(color, font styles, custom titles and subtitles, etc.) Using CSS for styling keeps our HTML clean, streamlined, easier to maintain, and it downloads faster. Style sheets can be replaced by the user's own styles.
    • To turn CSS off, and access the content without any formatting, download and install the Firefox Web Developer toolbar or the Internet Explorer Developer toolbar. With these toolbars turning CSS on and off is just a click away, plus they offer many other helpful tools. If you use a different browser, do an Internet search for accessibility for your particular browser.
  • Accessible Via Mouse or Keyboard: You can use the mouse or keyboard to navigate through our information. The tab key will move the cursor from link to link.
  • Access Keys: Access keys are keyboard shortcuts that help you get around the site.
    • Use "Alt" + "S" to access search box
  • Search Engine: Google search engine provides more relevant results than other search engines.

Customize Your Browser to Fit Your Needs

Change font size

In most browsers (example: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape) you could change the font size by following the steps below:

  • Open your browser
  • Click View button from top menu bar
  • Click Text Size
  • Select your option

If your browser uses a different naming convention and you do not see this path, please check the Help menu on your browser. The Help menu is usually the last option on the top menu bar, and it can often be accessed by pressing the keys "Alt" + "H".

In addition, newer browser versions have a magnifying tool that lets you zoom into a page and display all elements at 150 percent, 200 percent, etc. Look for the magnifying tool with a "+" character. This icon is typically located at the bottom of your browser, on the right, or at the top, below the standard menu tools, on the right. Furthermore, the keyboard shortcut to access this tool is: "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "+" to zoom in, and "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "-" to zoom out.


  • Keyboard shortcuts: This is a list of the most common keyboard shortcuts in Firefox, and the equivalents in Internet Explorer and Opera (from Firefox website).
  • Mouse shortcuts: This is a list of the most common mouse shortcuts in Firefox, and the equivalents in Internet Explorer and Opera. The shortcuts are for Windows, but most of the Firefox shortcuts should work in Linux, too (from FireFox website).
  • Internet Explorer keyboard shortcuts.


Change CSS

  • Below is the step by step on how to change the style sheet file in Internet Explorer. For other browsers please check the Help menu.
    • Click Tools from the top menu bar
    • Select Internet Options
    • Select the General tab (first tab)
    • Click on Accessibility button (bottom section, Appearance)
    • Click on checkboxes to ignore all colors and font styles and sizes and/or
    • Click on checkbox: "Format documents using my style sheet"
    • Browse to your personal style sheet and
    • Click OK

Site Help

Downloading Files

The Tennessee Department of Education web site makes multiple use of documents provided in PDF formats. To access PDF's, you will need the Acrobat Reader, a free download from Adobe. If you are having problems opening a .pdf and you have Adobe Reader, check the version of your Adobe Reader. You may need to download a newer version from the Adobe Reader web site. Versions are available for Windows, DOS, Macintosh and various Unix platforms. The software is simple to use, with easy step-by-step instructions.

This site also makes multiple use of documents provided in DOC, XLS and PPT formats. To view these Microsoft Office files (DOC, PPT, XLS) you may need to download the free viewer from

Education Acronyms: A list of some frequently used acronyms and their meaning

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