Students with disabilities may require instructional or testing accommodations. An accommodation “levels the playing field” without changing what is being taught or tested. An accommodation is “intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student’s disability,” but does not reduce what the student is expected to learn. A student with a disability might have an accommodation during testing that allows the student to take the same test as everyone else, but is given extra time to complete the test.
Accommodations must be used routinely in classroom situations in order for the CCC to apply the accommodation(s) to assessments. The student needs the opportunity to practice and become familiar with the accommodation. Routine practice in comfortable situations allow the student to become accustomed to the accommodation. It is not permissible to use an accommodation during high stakes testing situations if it is not used routinely in classroom assessment because the student needs to be familiar with the process.
On some standardized tests, such as ISTEP, some accommodations are not allowed because they have been determined to affect the validity of the test scores. However, there is no limitation on accommodations that can be provided to the student in other situations to support classroom learning on functional assessments.
Some examples of accommodations: • The student is given extra time to complete assignments and tests. • The student is allowed to complete assignments and tests using a computer instead of writing by hand. • The student is provided with special lighting or work space.
What is the difference between an accommodation and modification?
A modification actually changes what is being taught or tested, and an accommodation
does not. For example, a student has a disability marked by significant issues with fine
motor skills and finger dexterity. The class may be learning about spelling patterns using
words that end in silent “e” by writing out those patterns. For the student with fine motor
issues, an accommodation may be that s/he is allowed to type the answers whereas a
modification would be to permit the student to produce a smaller number of correctly
spelled words written by hand.