Research-Based Practices Testing Accommodations
To what extent do testing accommodations allow students with disabilities to be better able to demonstrate what they know and can do? Testing accommodations have been the subject of a great many research studies. The National Center for Educational Outcomes (NCEO) has examined research on this topic. According to NCEO, accommodations can be grouped into the following categories:
- Presentation, such as repeating directions, reading items aloud, signing directions, and using visual cues.
- Response, such as using a word processor, dictating responses, signing responses, and marking answers.
- Setting, such as individual, group, or specialized setting.
- Timing or scheduling, such as allowing extended time, providing frequent breaks, and allowing testing to occur over several days.
Allowing accommodations on tests can be controversial because there is uncertainty regarding the extent to which accommodations are beneficial to students with disabilities. Allowing extended time on tests is one of the most frequently allowed accommodations. Yet, some researchers have found that students with disabilities who have been allowed extended time do not perform at a higher level than students who have not been allowed extended time. Do your own research, beginning with the website of the NCEO at http://www.education.umn.edu/nceo. What do recent research studies say about the benefits of allowing extended time on tests? What about other accommodations, such as test administration in small and large groups, use of a word processor, use of text-to-speech software to read test questions in mathematics and science, and use of a person who acts as scribe?
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