Test-Taking Accommodations for Students with Learning Disabilities

Test-Taking Accommodations

Test-Taking Accommodations for Children with Learning Disabilities
It is important to make the necessary accommodations to help a child succeed at test-taking.

Making accommodations for a child with learning disabilities is necessary and oftentimes ongoing. It does not change the content of the assignment, but rather provides a child with a fair chance at accurately showcasing his/her knowledge on different tasks and tests by addressing the specific needs of a child.

Testing Accommodations for Teachers to Consider

With an array of different learners in the classroom, teachers have the challenge of being aware of the types of learning environments that would best suit all students.

  Once a child has been tested and formally identified with a learning disability, the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, including the child, parents, and educators, determines the appropriate accommodations.

There are many ways that teachers can make accommodations for their students. First, it is important for a teacher to take into consideration the different test formats. For multiple choice tests, reduce the number of choices and provide more information in a choice. When using matching items, split the options in half so students will have half the number of available choices to match up with each item. For fill in the blank questions, provide a word bank of different options.

For short-answer or essay questions, there are many ways to provide accommodations depending on the nature of the learning disability, including:

  • Provide information that is out of sequence and have the student rearrange it in correct order.
  • Provide important vocabulary, a list of facts, or key concepts that you would like the student to use and discuss in his/her responses.
  • Allow a student to record answers on a voice recorder or take a test orally in a setting that is conducive for a child.
  • Allow a student to use a word processor to type up responses.

    Test-Taking Setting Accommodations

    As part of the IEP, teachers may be asked to structure the test-taking environment accordingly for the student with a learning disability.

    Test-taking setting accommodations allow a student to:

    • Sit in a certain area of the classroom that is best for him/her to take a test (near the teacher, special lighting, quiet, facing a certain direction, in front of the classroom, etc.).
    • Take a test in an alternative setting outside of the classroom that is quiet and free of distractions.
    • Use assistive technology for typing out answers or checking spelling and grammar during short answer or essay exams.
    • Require the assistance of a reader, scribe, or assistive technology to record responses on the test.
    • Provide responses orally or through a voice recorder.
    • Use a calculator for solving math problems.
    • Use scratch paper during tests.

    Further Accommodations to Consider

    Students may require a range of accommodations depending on their specific disability. Children with visual perception disabilities may require large print to help them read the information.

    Other children may have difficulty processing directions and need a teacher to read the material that is on the test to them. Some students with perceptual disabilities struggle in transferring answers to multiple-choice bubble answer sheets and benefit from circling or marking their answers directly on a test.  When a teacher is unsure about how to assist a student, he/she can work with a special education teacher to help institute the appropriate accommodations for a child and continue to make adjustments as needed throughout the school year.

    Author Byline: Dr. Douglas Haddad is an author, nutritionist, and middle school teacher in Connecticut who is a regular contributing writer to Parenting Special Needs magazine. www.douglashaddad.com

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