Special Topic Area: Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Three-Part Webinar Series on Continuity of Learning during COVID-19
OSEP hosted a three-part webinar series on Continuity of Learning and Return to School during COVID-19. This series showcased ready-to-use resources, tools, and practices from OSEP partners to support the educational, developmental, behavioral, and social/emotional needs of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through remote and distance learning. Please access the Continuity of Learning Webpage where you will find the archived webinars, featured resources, and additional tools and information to help educators, parents and families, and related service providers provide for the needs of students with disabilities during the pandemic.
National Center on Educational Outcomes
Accommodations are changes in testing materials or procedures that enable students to participate in assessments in a way that allows abilities to be assessed rather than disabilities. They are provided to "level the playing field." Without accommodations, the assessment may not accurately measure the student’s knowledge and skills.
Many states have grappled with their accommodations policies for students with disabilities. We know that all states have written guidelines to indicate which accommodations are "allowed." Accommodations are generally grouped into the following categories:
- Presentation (e.g., repeat directions, read aloud, large print, Braille, etc.)
- Equipment and material (e.g., calculator, amplification equipment, manipulatives, etc.)
- Response (e.g., mark answers in book, scribe records response, point, etc.)
- Setting (e.g., study carrel, student's home, separate room, etc.)
- Timing/Scheduling (e.g., extended time, frequent breaks, etc.)
Although there is variability in the categories used across states, and often extreme variability in specific accommodations allowed, there now is common federal legislation. Several federal laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 and 2004 call for accommodations to be provided as necessary to allow students with disabilities to participate in assessments. IDEA 2004 also requires states to have accommodation guidelines for assessments, and the report the number of students using accommodations during general and district assessments.
Research on accommodations is growing rapidly. The research includes policy studies, evaluation studies, and experimental comparisons.
NCEO Online Accommodations Bibliography. Search a compilation of empirical research studies on the effects of various testing accommodations for students with disabilities.
NCEO is supported primarily through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G050007) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Additional support for targeted projects, including those on LEP students, is provided by other federal and state agencies.
This document is provided for the user's convenience. Inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any views, products or services offered or expressed.