Test Modifications and Accommodations (How to Modify Tests for Children with Special Needs)
Posted by: Teacher ia | on March 15, 2013
Alright, this post has been in my important folder for quite some time now. There are three articles in that folder and I promised myself that I will not write any other posts until I finish these three. I think this post is timely especially this month when everybody is busy preparing to take the test or is actually taking the test already.
First, let’s give credit to Ms. Maria Teresita P. Filipinia M.A. Ed of Advocata (a.ka. Teacher Tere) for covering this topic during one of Advocata’s seminar.
What is the difference among modification, accommodation and assistance?
There are actually different levels of modification, accommodation and assistance a teacher can provide during a test.
In Level 1:
In the first level of modification of tests, changes can be made in the font size, font type and spacing of words in the test. There can also be changes in the alignment of choices from horizontal to vertical. However, there are no tasks modifications for the test yet.
In accommodation, there is extended time for taking the test but the test should be finished within the day only.
When providing Level 1 assistance in tests, there are also no task modifications except for direction and clarifications. Minimum assistance is given such as one-on-one assistance or behavior prompting once or twice per task per day.
Example of Level 1 items you can modify in a test:
1. Test directions
2. Test lay-out
A Level 1 environmental modification can be done by pull-outs within the room or in another room. Preferential seating can be arranged and there is no ceiling grade thus the student is still a candidate for academic awards.
In the second level of modification, there is still no task modification which means you cannot lessen the number of steps in a task. However, the teacher can shorten tasks to a minimum of three but the task should include all skills necessary to perform the task. You can also rephrase the directions to make the student understand it better by changing possible difficult words to those the child will understand easily. For emphasis, the teacher can underline or highlight key words.
In accommodation, there is still extended time for test but the test should be completed within the day only. The teacher can divide the task into two parts. To do this, the teacher can introduce the tasks by sets and limiting them to same or similar tasks. Also, the teacher can read the directions to the students and there are no penalties on errors. If need be, the teacher can reschedule the task.
When providing assistance, oral test can be given to students e.g. children with dyslexia. Moderate assistance can be given such as one-on-one assistance or behavioral prompting of up to 3 to 5 times per task per day.
In Level 2 environmental modification, pull-outs can be done within the room or in another room. Preferential seating can also be given. However, the ceiling grade when modification is given is 95%.
Example of Level 2 items you can modify in a test:
1. Presentation of Multiple choice items
2. Change of words from “which is not true” to “which is wrong”
3. Modification of test formats in matching type and identification
When modifying at this level, tasks can be reduced, changed or eliminated.
Accommodation at this level means there is extended time for test wherein the test can be divided in to two parts. If needed, test can be rescheduled but one task should be completed per day. You can also read the directions to students. There are no penalties for errors.
For the third level of assistance, the teacher can use pictures or visual aids. For example, a picture box for new vocabulary. Maximum assistance is given which includes one-on-one assistance or behavioral prompting of up to 6 or more per task per day. Verbal instructions are given as well as hand over hand assistance (HOHA).
For the last level of environmental modification, pull outs within or outside the room can be done as well as preferential seating. The ceiling grade you can give the student is 90%.
Example of Level 3 items you can modify in a test:
1. Instead of Fill In the Blanks you can give a Matching Type test
2. In Math, provide grids with the problem for the child to solve.
3. In Math also you can provide the formula for solving the math problem. Also you can give guide questions to break down the parts of the solution so that the child can have partial points for giving e.g. what is given, what is the formula, what is the solution, what is the final answer.
If you find this post helpful then just imagine how happy I am to hear it first hand from the speaker. Teacher Tere has been in the business of teaching students with special need for years now. I tell you attending the actual seminar is so much better than just the handout because it gives you the opportunity to discuss with the speaker. Also Teacher Tere incorporated activities during the seminar for us to apply our skills in modification.
If you are interested in Advocata‘s activities and seminars, you can contact them in their Facebook Page just follow the hyperlink.
Ja ne, till the next Special Education Philippines‘ post.
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