Assessing Special Needs Students

Assessment Modifications

What is assessment?

Assessment includes formal and informal methods of evaluating student progress and behaviors. An accommodation during an assessment is an adjustment to an activity, without compromising the integrity of the assessment.It is a change in the way a student accesses the assessment. A modification is a change in the assessment itself.

Important facts to Know

Accommodations used within the classroom are acceptable for students as long as it is used consistently and is located within the IEP. Now modifications are not that easily used within formal assessments, formal assessments are state mandated and you cannot change these types of tests. So, if you give a student shorter reading passages within the IEP, that modification cannot be used during state tests. Teachers have to consider whether modifications within the classroom would comprise the integrity/validity of state tests. Although the terms accommodations and modifications are used interchangeably, they have two very different meanings when it comes to providing assessments to students with special needs.

What About Timing and Scheduling of Assessments?

Students may receive the same accommodations on assessments that they receive within the classroom. Accommodations may include, extended time(we use up to 1 hour), multiple test sessions(include a specific time frame) and may include breaks every few minutes(test 30 with a 3 minute break). These accommodations must also be included within the student's IEP or they cannot be used. Modifications are not given for timing and scheduling, because they would render the tests as invalid.

Amonica T. Graham


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