November 20th, 2014

State Testing Accommodations: A Look at Their Value and Validity Accommodations for Students

Students with disabilities (those covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) must be provided the appropriate accommodations necessary to participate in the state and district assessments as required for reading and math under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Accommodations are tools and procedures that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities. They are provided to “level the playing field.” Without the right accommodations, students with disabilities may not be able to access grade level instruction and have every opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in state and district assessments.

This report describes the variability in the adoption and use of test accommodations across different states. It also explores a new challenge to the use of test accommodations due to the recently released federal regulations allowing the creation of an alternate assessment, based on modified achievement standards for students with disabilities (U. S. Department of Education, 2007a).

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