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Accommodations and Modifications

Accommodations are changes in the way a student accesses and/or responds to instruction.  Accommodations are, also, the instructional supports and services that a student may need in order to succeed in the general education classroom.  Accommodations DO NOT alter the curriculum standards.  Accommodations must be aligned between classroom instruction, classroom testing and district/state assessments.  In addition, consideration should be given to use of accommodations in after-school tutoring and programs, extracurricular activities, and at home.

Modifications, on the other hand, are significant alterations to the curriculum standards.  Modifications may alter, reduce, or lower the standards or expectations for a grade level, subject, or assessment.  In effect, a student is being required to learn LESS material than his peers.

 
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Basics
 
  • Accommodations and modifications are the specific supports and services a student needs to succeed in the general education classroom.
  • Accommodations and modifications for instruction and assessment MUST be clearly specified in the student’s IEP and must be routinely used in the classroom.
  • Routine procedures used with every student in a class are NOT accommodations.

 

Instructional Accommodations

Presentation Accommodations

  • Alphabet strip on student’s desk
  • Audio amplification system (FM system)
  • Braille
  • Checklists
  • Computers
  • Cooperative groups
  • Flash cards
  • Games
  • Graphic organizers
  • Hands-on activities
  • Highlighting – main ideas or specific words
  • Large print or type to facilitate reading
  • Magnification devices
  • Manipulatives
  • Models
  • Multisensory teaching approach
  • Number lines
  • Oral administration of tests
  • Oral instruction accompanied by print copy
  • Outlines
  • Paired reading
  • Peer tutors
  • Pre-teach key concepts
  • Pre-teach vocabulary
  • Provide examples
  • Read assignment to student
  • Read directions to student
  • Reduce reading level
  • Reduce visual distractions
  • Screen reader
  • Shorten assignments
  • Shorten homework
  • Shorten tests
  • Sign language
  • Smaller amounts
  • Study guides
  • Tactile graphics and models
  • Taped assignments
  • Taped books
  • Taped tests
  • Three-dimensional ruler
  • Vocabulary lists
  • Video
  • Visual cues
  • Visuals
  • Worksheets – emphasize key concepts
  • Worksheets – reduce reading level
  • Worksheets – shorten
  • Written copy of board or overhead presentations
  • Written copy of instructions
  • Written copy of notes

Response Accommodations

  • Alphabet strip on student’s desk
  • Alternative books with similar concepts at a lower reading level
  • Assignment notebooks to organized homework
  • Braille
  • Break up long-range assignments and projects into smaller segments
  • Calculators
  • Computers
  • Cooperative groups
  • Cues
  • Dictate work / assignment to another student or teacher
  • Graphic organizers
  • Journal writing – draw pictures, dictate
  • Large print or type to facilitate reading
  • Manipulatives
  • Models
  • Number lines
  • Notebooks
  • Oral reports instead of written reports
  • Paired reading
  • Peer reader
  • Reduce visual distractions
  • Shorten assignments
  • Shorten homework
  • Shorten tests
  • Smaller amounts
  • Spellers
  • Summaries and/or outlines of chapters
  • Tape response
  • Taped assignments
  • Taped books
  • Taped tests
  • Test format – provide word box
  • Test format – reduce written responses
  • Three-dimensional ruler
  • Use a word processor
  • Verbal responses instead of written responses
  • Vocabulary lists
  • Visual organizers
  • Visuals
  • Worksheets – emphasize key concepts
  • Worksheets – reduce reading level
  • Worksheets – shorten

Timing / Scheduling Accommodations

  • Alert students to upcoming transitions
  • Assistance during transitions
  • Break up long-range assignments and projects into smaller segments Change order of subtests
  • Change class schedule
  • Extended time – for tests, projects, assignments, homework, and/or transitions
  • Frequent breaks
  • Multiple breaks

Setting Accommodations

  • Adequate space between desks and tables
  • Alphabet strip on student’s desk
  • Clutter-free work area
  • Preferential seating
  • Quiet space
  • Quiet work area
  • Reduce visual distractions
  • Slant board
  • Special furniture
  • Study carrel

 

Assessment Accommodations

Material Accommodations

  • Braille version of test
  • Large-print version of test

Seating Accommodations

  • Preferential seating – front of room
  • Preferential seating – near examiner or proctor
  • Preferential seating – special furniture

Scheduling Accommodations

  • Extended time
  • Frequent breaks

Setting Accommodations

  • At home or in a hospital
  • Small group
  • Small group in a separate room
  • Special education classroom
  • Individually in a separate room
  • Special lighting
  • Special furniture (desks, trays, carrels, etc)
  • Use study carrels

Test Administration Accommodations

  • Use an examiner who is familiar with the student
  • Use an examiner fluent in sign language
  • Read directions to student
  • Repeat, clarify or reword directions
  • Provide written copy of directions
  • Read test questions to student
  • Read test questions and answer choices to student
  • Amplification (hearing aid and/or FM system)
  • Use a sign language or cued speech interpreter for directions and/or test questions
  • Use tactile and/or visual cues to indicate time to begin, time remaining, and time to stop
  • Mask a portion of the test booklet and/or answer sheet to reduce visual distractions
  • Monitor placement of student responses on answer sheet
  • Transcribe student’s answers to another test booklet or answer document
  • Allow use of a Braille ruler
  • Allow use of a calculator or talking calculator
  • Allow use of colored overlays
  • Allow use of graph paper for math section
  • Allow use of reading windows
  • Allow use of manipulatives for math test items
  • Allow use of marker

Response Accommodations

  • Precode student information on test booklet
  • Allow student to dictate responses to a scribe (student must indicate all punctuation and spell key words)
  • Allow use of a Braille writer
  • Allow student to sign responses to interpreter who acts as scribe
  • Allow use of a word processor (spell/grammar check disabled)
  • Allow use a talking calculator
  • Allow use of an augmentative communication device
  • Allow use a larger diameter or modified special grip #2 pencil
  • Allow student to mark answers in the test booklet, examiner will transfer answer to answer sheet

Other Accommodations

  • Appropriate room lighting
  • Appropriate room environment (heat, air, noise level, etc.)
  • Equipment is working properly (hearing aids, FM system, augmentative communication devices, word processors, etc.)
  • Eyeglasses used if needed
  • Low vision aids
  • Medication as prescribed by physician

 

Instructional Modifications

Curriculum Modifications

  • Standards – completes part of a grade-level standard
  • Standards – increase time for completion
  • Standards – select a limited number of  standards for completion
  • Standards – use a lower grade level

 

Assessment Modifications

Test Modifications

  • Alternate assessment
  • Test – reduce answer choices
  • Test – lower grade level

 

Links
 
U.S. Department of Education

Individualized Education Programs – Special Education and Related Services, Supplementary Aids and Services, and Program Modifications and Supports
Statute – Sec. 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(IV)
United States
(idea.ed.gov)

 

Individualized Education Programs – Special Education and Related Services, Supplementary Aids and Services, and Program Modifications and Supports
Regulations – Sec. 300.320 (a)(4)
United States
(idea.ed.gov)

 

Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities
OSEP Ideas that Work, Office of Special Education Programs, Department of Education, United States.
(www.osepideasthatwork.org)

Adaptations & Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
OSEP Ideas that Work, Office of Special Education Programs, Department of Education, United States.
(www.osepideasthatwork.org)

PEAK Parent Center: Accommodations & Modifications Fact Sheet
OSEP Ideas that Work, Office of Special Education Programs, Department of Education, United States.
(www.osepideasthatwork.org)

Questions for Parents to Ask about School Adaptations
OSEP Ideas that Work, Office of Special Education Programs, Department of Education, United States.
(www.osepideasthatwork.org)

School Accommodations and Modifications
OSEP Ideas that Work, Office of Special Education Programs, Department of Education, United States.
(www.osepideasthatwork.org)

 
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)

Accommodations in Assessment
United States
(www.nichcy.org)

All About Job Supports
United States
(www.nichcy.org)

Assessment and Accommodations
United States
(www.nichcy.org)

 
Further Information and Resources

ABCs of Adaptations and Accommodations
Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.
(www.cps-k12.org)

Accommodation Strategies
Chapter 6 from Collaborative Teaching: Special Education for Inclusive Classrooms, by Price, Mayfield, McFadden, and Marsh.
United States
(www.parrotpublishing.com)

Accommodations for Children with Special Needs in General Education Settings
United States
(inclusion-news.com)

Accommodations for English Language Learners
National Center on Educational Outcomes (sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota and the Research to Practice Division of the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(cehd.umn.edu/nceo)

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
National Center on Educational Outcomes (sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota and the Research to Practice Division of the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(cehd.umn.edu/nceo)

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in High School
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.
(www.ncset.org)

Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities
OSEP Ideas that Work, United States Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.
(www.osepideasthatwork.org)

Adaptations Are Essential: Early Years Writing
A resource guide for adapting learning and assessment tasks for students with mild disabilities.
United States
(www.k8accesscenter.org)

Adapting Instruction
United States
(www.teachersfirst.com)

After-school Programs & Accommodations
United States
(school.familyeducation.com)

An Introduction to Assessment Accommodations
United States
(www.specialconnections.ku.edu)

Back To Square One
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

A Broken Arm
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Choosing Appropriate Accommodations – Dos and Don’ts
Special Education Bureau, New Mexico Public Education Department, New Mexico, United States.
(www.ped.state.nm.us)

Disabilities, Teaching Strategies, and Resources
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, United States.
(www.as.wvu.edu)

Doing Your Homework: Accommodations on High-Stakes Tests
United States
(www.wrightslaw.com)

Effective Room Arrangement
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

General Education Accommodations
GreatSchools: The Parent’s Guide to K-12 Success, United States.
(www.schwablearning.org)

Hang In There
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Helping Students with Disabilities Succeed in State and District Writing Assessments
United States
(www.ericdigests.org)

He’s Just a Goofy Guy
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Hey! Can I Try That?: A Student Handbook for Choosing and Using Assistive Technology
Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative, United States.
(www.wati.org)

How to Set Up Special Education Accommodations
United States
(www.ehow.com)

How To Set Up Special Education Accommodations
United States
(www.howtodothings.com)

Learner Accommodations and Instructional Modifications in the Mathematics Classroom for Students with Learning Disabilities
The Access Center, United States.
(www.k8accesscenter.org)

Middle School Science: Access for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Access Center, United States.
(www.k8accesscenter.org)

No Child Left Behind: Determining Appropriate Assessment Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
United States

(www.ldonline.org)

Online Accommodations Bibliography
National Center on Educational Outcomes (sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota and the Research to Practice Division of the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(cehd.umn.edu/nceo)
Planning for Inclusion
Kansas Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Education, Topeka, Kansas, United States.
(www.kcterc.org)

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
National Technical Assistance Center, United States.
(www.pbis.org)

Practices for English-Language Learners
National Institute for Urban School Improvement, United States.
(urbanschools.org)

Providing a Quality Accommodated Experience in Preparation for and During Post-Secondary School
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.
(www.ncset.org)

School Accommodations and Modifications
United States
(www.wrightslaw.com)

Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Accommodating the Learning Disabled Student in the Foreign Language Curriculum
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, United States.
(www.fln.vcu.edu)

Special Connections: An Introduction to Instructional Accommodations
Special Connections, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States.
(www.specialconnections.ku.edu)

Special Connections: Case Studies
Special Connections, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States.
(www.specialconnections.ku.edu)

Special Connections: Instructional Tools Related to Instructional Accommodations
Special Connections, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States.
(www.specialconnections.ku.edu)

Special Connections: Journal Articles
Special Connections, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States.
(www.specialconnections.ku.edu)

State Accommodations Policies: Implications for the Assessment of Reading
United States
(www.readingassessment.info)

State Testing Accommodations: A Look at Their Value and Validity
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), United States.
(cehd.umn.edu)

Strategies to Improve Access to the General Education Curriculum
The Access Center, United States.
(www.k8accesscenter.org)

Test Accommodations for LEP Students
United States
(www.ericdigests.org)

Topics in Special Education: Accommodations
United States
(www.tpt.org)

Types of Assessment Accommodation
United States
(www.teachervision.fen.com)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines – Version 1.0
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), United States.
(www.cast.org)

Universal Design for Learning – Improved Access for All
GreatSchools: The Parent’s Guide to K-12 Success, United States.
(www.schwablearning.org)

What is Meant by Accommodations
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, United States.
(www.as.wvu.edu)

What is Universal Design for Learning?
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), United States.
(www.cast.org)

 
Online Training

Accessing the General Education Curriculum: Inclusion Considerations for Students with Disabilities
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Accommodations to the Physical Environment: Setting up a Classroom for Students With Visual Disabilities
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Accountability: High-stakes Testing for Students with Disabilities
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Content Standards: Connecting Standards-Based Curriculum to Instructional Planning
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Instructional Accommodations: Making the Learning Environment Accessible to Students With Visual Disabilities
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

Teachers at the Loom: Weaving Together Culture, Family and Instruction for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Students
From the IRIS Center (sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
United States
(iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu)

 

U.S. State Departments of Education
Accommodation Information
 
State Contacts and Information
Department of Education, United States.
(www.ed.gov)
State Resources
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY), United States.
(www.nichcy.org)
State Web Sites for Accommodations Information
National Center on Educational Outcomes (sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota and the Research to Practice Division of the Office of Special Education Programs, United States Department of Education).
(cehd.umn.edu/nceo)
 

Alabama
Alabama Student Assessment Program Policies and Procedures for Students of Special Populations
(ftp.alsde.edu)

Alaska
Accommodations Manual
(www.eed.state.ak.us)

Arizona
Testing Accommodations
(www.ade.az.gov)

Arkansas
Guidelines for Assessment Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
(arksped.k12.ar.us)

California
Testing Variations, Accommodations, and Modifications (Word document)
(www.cde.ca.gov)

Colorado
Colorado Accommodations Manual: Selecting and Using Accommodations
(www.cde.state.co.gov)

Connecticut
Assessment Guidelines
(www.csde.state.ct.us)

Delaware
Delaware Student Testing Program: Guidelines for Inclusion of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners
(www.doe.k12.de.us)

Florida
FCAT Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
(www.fldoe.org)

Georgia
Georgia Student Assessment Program: Student Assessment Handbook
(www.gadoe.org)

Hawaii
Hawaii State Reading and Mathematics Assessments: Student Participation and Accommodations Handbook
(downloads.k12.hi.us)

Idaho
Idaho Statewide Testing Program: Test Coordinator’s Guide for Federal and State Assessments
(www.boardofed.idaho.gov)

Illinois
Accommodations Manual (PowerPoint)
(www.isbe.net)

Indiana
Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus: Program Manual
(www.doe.state.in.us)

Iowa
Iowa Accommodations Guidelines
(www.iowa.gov)

Kansas
Accommodations Manual (Word document)
(www.kshe.org)

Kentucky
Inclusion of Special Populations in the State-Required Assessment and Accountability Programs
(www.education.ky.gov)

Louisiana
Guidelines for Selecting Test Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
(www.doe.state.la.us)

Maine
Policies and Procedures for Accommodations and Alternate Assessment to the MEA
(mainegov-images.informe.org)

Maryland
A Guide to Selecting, Administering, and Evaluating the Use of Accommodations for the Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities
(www.marylandpublicschools.org)

Massachusetts
Requirements for the Participation of Students with Disabilities in MCAS (Word document)
(www.doe.mass.edu)

Michigan
Assessment Accommodation Summary Table
(www.michigan.gov)

Minnesota
Guidelines for Accommodations in the Minnesota Assessment System
(education.state.mn.us)

Mississippi
Testing Students with Disabilities Regulations
(www.mde.k12.ms.us)

Missouri
Accommodations List
(www.dese.mo.gov)

Montana
How To Include Students With Disabilities in Montana’s Criterion-Referenced Test (CRT)
(www.opi.state.mt.cus)

Nebraska
Accommodations Guidelines
(www.nde.state.ne.us)

Nevada
IEP Accommodations Form (Word document)
(www.nde.state.nv.us)

New Hampshire
New England Common Assessment Program: Accommodations, Guidelines, and Procedures
(www.ed.state.nh.us)

New Jersey
Accommodations and Modifications of Test Administration Procedures for Statewide Assessments
(www.statenj.us)

New Mexico
How to Choose and Use Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (Word document), New Mexico PED
(www.ped.state.nm.us)

New York
Test Access & Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
(www.vesid.nysed.gov)

North Carolina
Testing Students with Disabilities
(www.dpi.state.nc.us)

North Dakota
Assessment Accommodations
(www.dpi.state.nd.us)

Ohio
Statewide Assessment Accommodations
(www.ode.state.oh.us)

Oklahoma
Accommodations for Students on an IEP or 504 Plan
(www.sde.state.ok.us)

Oregon
Assessment Accommodations
(www.ode.state.or.us)

Pennsylvania
Accommodations Guidelines
(www.pde.state.pa.us)

Rhode Island
Standard Test Accommodations
(www.ride.ri.gov)

South Carolina
Accommodations, Modifications, and Customized Forms
(ed.sc.gov)

South Dakota
Accommodations Manual
(doe.sd.gov)

Tennessee
Assessment Accommodations
(www.state.tn.us)

Texas
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)
(www.tea.state.tx.us)

Utah
Assessment Participation and Accommodations Policy
(www.schools.utah.gov)

Vermont
New England Common Assessment Program: Accommodations, Guidelines, and Procedures
(education.vermont.gov)

Virginia
Procedures for Participation of Students with Disabilities in Virginia’s Accountability System
(www.doe.virginia.gov)

Washington
Guidelines for Special Populations in State Assessment Programs
(www.k12.wa.us)

West Virginia
Guidelines for Participation of Students with Disabilities in WV Measures of Academic Progress
(wvde.state.wv.us)

Wisconsin
The Assessment Matrix
(dpi.wi.gov)

Wyoming
Standard Accommodations
(www.k12.wy.us)

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