Section 612(b)(16) of the 2004 reauthorized IDEA states:

(A) IN GENERAL – All children with disabilities are included in all general State and district wide assessment programs,…with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective individualized education programs.

(B) ACCOMMODATION GUIDELINES – The State (or, in the case of a district wide assessment, the local educational agency) has developed guidelines for the provision of appropriate accommodations.




Why Accommodations  NOT Modifications OR Alterations

Accommodations provide access. They do not reduce learning expectations.
Modifications Anything done during classroom instruction and/or classroom assessment that change, lower, or reduce learning expectations and/or have the consequence of reducing student’s opportunity to learn critical content. Modifications may adversely affect students throughout their educational career.

Examples of modification include:

Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment

Documentation of accommodation on the IEP
Good IEP practices: with information obtained from the required summary of the student’s present level of educational performance (PLEP), includes the process of identifying and documenting accommodations in three areas.

Involving students in selecting, using, and evaluating accommodations
The more students are involved in the selection process, the more likely the accommodations will be used, especially as students reach adolescence and the desire to be more independent increases. Self-advocacy skills are critical. Students need opportunities to learn which accommodations are most helpful for them, and need to learn how to make certain those accommodations are provided in all of their classes and wherever they need them outside of school.

Determining the consequences of assessment accommodations use.
Assessment accommodations that result in adverse consequences are commonly referred to as modifications, adaptations, alterations, and nonstandard or non-approved accommodations.

Questions to guide accommodation selection
Selecting accommodations for instruction and assessment is the role of a student’s IEP team. Use these questions to guild the selection of accommodation for students receiving special education services:

Of the accommodations that match the student’s needs, consider

Plan how and when the student will learn to use each new accommodation. Be certain there is ample time to learn to use instructional and assessment accommodations before an assessment takes place. Finally, plan for the ongoing evaluation and improvement of the student’s use of accommodations.

Use accommodations during instruction and assessment
Accommodation for instruction
Provide the selected accommodations during instructional periods that necessitate their use. An accommodation may not be used solely during assessments.

Accommodation for assessment
Planning for Test Day
Members of the IEP team, most often special education teacher, are given the responsibility fro arranging, coordinating, and providing assessment accommodations for all students who may need them. It is important to engage the appropriate personnel to plan the logistics and provisions of assessment accommodations on test day.

Ethical testing practices must be maintained during the administration of assessments. Unethical practices include coaching students during testing, editing students responses, or giving clues in any way.
Evaluate and modify accommodation use
Collecting and analyzing data on the use and effectiveness of accommodations are necessary to ensure the meaningful participation of students with disabilities in state and district-wide assessments/ Data on the use and impact of accommodations during assessments may reveal questionable patterns of accommodations use, as well as support the continued use of some accommodations or the rethinking of others. Examination of the data may also indicate areas for which the IEP team, 504 plan committee, and test administrators need additional training and support.

Questions to guide evaluation of accommodation use at the school level

Questions to guide evaluation at the student level

These questions can be used to formatively evaluate the accommodations used at the student level, as well as the school or district levels. School and district-level questions can be addressed by a committee responsible for continuous improvement efforts, while the student-level questions need to be considered by the IEP team.