Modified Assessments


Modifying Assessments ***

*** Teachers, please remember that student assessments should be individualized based on each student's needs, IEP plan, and accommodations/modifications. The following suggestions provided on this flyer are suggestions on how you can modify assessments for the students in your classroom :)

Some of our TOP TIPS:


Clear, Concise Language

  • Example: A student may read the word “beside” meaning literally “next door” to instead of meaning “with the exception of”

Reduced Amount of Questions

  • Students may be given less questions on an assessment to test the knowledge of the content

Reduced Answer Choices

  • Answers should not be crossed out/x’ed out
  • Answers should be in the correct alphabetical order (A,B,C,D)

Simplified Sentence Structure

  • Example: Students may benefit from simplified sentence structure on assessments. We want to be sure that the necessary vocabulary words are still present, but mindful that we are creating questions that are easily comprehensible for the students.
  • We want to keep in mind that students with disabilities are sometimes below the average reading level for the grade level and that the language in the questions should reflect this.
  • The vocabulary word could be given with a simple one word synonym in parenthesis next to the target word - Example: producing (making), distributing (selling) and consuming (using)

Free of grammatical errors/Correct punctuation and capitalization

  • Students with disabilities need tests that have correct language on them. Be mindful of typo's and pay close attention to punctuation and capitalization on tests.

Add visuals or images that students have seen/used to learn the concept

  • Adding visuals to assessments may help the student to complete the test
  • Visuals that you used to teach the concept may be beneficial on assessments as well

Chunk Word Banks

  • Example: 5 definitions and a dedicated bank of 5 terms before an additional 5 definitions and 5 terms.
  • Blocking out and placing a word bank above your 5 definitions may make the assessment visually clear for the student.

Study guide/review that aligns with the testable material should be given as guidelines to help parents/students to study

  • The assessment should match the content that the student was taught
  • The assessment should match the review the student was given
  • The test should not be given as a review prior to the test for the students to study and then take an identical test

Allow students to have individual copies of test rather than class set so they can write on it, and think through problems!

What does the research say?

  • Approximately two-thirds of special education students have been afforded accommodations in statewide assessments, the most common being extended time, alternative setting, and/or read-aloud accommodations (Bolt & Thurlow, 2004).

  • Accommodations affect test scores for students with disabilities, lowering scores in some cases, raising scores in most others (Chiu & Pearson, 1999; Elliott et al., 1999; Elliott, Kratochwill, & McKevitt, 2001; Kettler et al., 2005; McKevitt, 2000; Koenig & Bachman, 2004; Schulte, Elliott, & Kratochwill, 2001; Tindal, Heath, Hollenbeck, Almond, & Harniss, 1998). Lowered scores appear to result when accommodations are poorly matched to student need or when the student has not had sufficient opportunity to practice using an accommodation in day-to-day settings prior to the testing situation.

  • Introducing an unfamiliar accommodation for the first time during a required testing situation may not necessarily help a student who has not had the opportunity to practice its use. (Koenig & Bachman, 2004; Sireci et al., 2003; Thompson et al., 2002).

  • Students with disabilities bring an extremely broad range of strengths and weaknesses with them to testing environments. It is quite possible, in fact, for two students with very similar disabilities to require very different accommodations. Teacher training and practical guidance in selecting appropriate accommodations for individual students would clearly go a long way toward improving and informing decision making, but the availability of these valuable commodities can vary even in the same district or school (Helwig & Tindal, 2003; Hollenbeck, Tindal, & Almond, 1998; McDonnell et al., 1997; McKevitt & Elliott, 2001; Tindal & Fuchs, 2000).

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