Accommodations: Instructional and Testing Supports for Students with Disabilities
An adaptation or change in educational environments or practices, an accommodation helps a student overcome the barriers presented by his or her disability. Whether for instruction or testing, accommodations provide support that allows students with disabilities to access the same instructional opportunities as students without disabilities. It’s important to note that accommodations do not change the expectations for learning, reduce the requirements of the task, or change what the student is required to learn.
A student’s IEP team is responsible for identifying and selecting instructional and testing accommodations that address the barrier related to the student’s disability and established learning goals. These accommodations, which help students with disabilities to access instruction and to demonstrate their learning, are typically grouped into four categories: presentation, response, setting, and timing and scheduling.
|The way information is presented (e.g., text, lecture)||Presentation accommodations
|The way in which the student is required to respond (e.g., writing, speech)||Response accommodations
|The characteristics of the setting (e.g., noise level, lighting)||Setting accommodations
|The timing and scheduling of the instruction (e.g., time of day, length of assignment)||Timing and scheduling accommodations
Once the IEP team selects the instructional and testing accommodations that are likely to benefit a student, they are documented on the student’s IEP and provided as indicated. With careful planning and consideration, teachers can provide accommodations to their students effectively and efficiently. When teachers provide accommodations as intended, students are more likely to experience academic success and demonstrate positive long-term outcomes. Once a teacher begins to implement an accommodation, he or she should monitor whether it is having the desired impact on the student’s performance. Doing so can help determine whether to continue, alter, or discontinue the accommodation.
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your responses to the Initial Thoughts questions at the beginning of this module. After working through the Perspectives & Resources, do you still agree with those responses? If not, what aspects about them would you change?
What should teachers know about accommodations for students with disabilities?
What types of accommodations are commonly used for students with disabilities?
What are the teacher’s responsibilities for students with disabilities who use accommodations?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.