New to testing accommodations? Download a step-by-step guide.
Assessment accommodations provide learners who have disabilities with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities without interference caused by the disability itself. Testing accommodations modify the administration procedures and/or learner response that allow individuals with disabilities to demonstrate their true ability level on standardized tests without changing what a test is intended to measure. It is important to note that not all learners with disabilities will need testing accommodations. Any accommodation must be available across pre- and post-testing to ensure that the interpretation of learner performance on each assessment is comparable.
Legislation Related to Accommodations
The accountability standards in the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) include the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. WIOA, effective July 2015, focuses on learners most in need, such as learners with a low level of literacy skills, English language learners, and those with disabilities. Other legislation addresses provisions related to testing accommodations for learners with disabilities, including the ADA Amendments of 2008, Section 504 (equal opportunity) and 508 (comparable access to and use of electronic information technology) in the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 2008, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.
Local Agency Responsibility
Local agencies are responsible for providing fully accessible services and reasonable accommodations for learners with documented disabilities. Adult learners with disabilities are responsible for requesting accommodations and for submitting documentation of their disability at the time of registration, program entry, or after diagnosis. Official learner records such as the Individual Education Plan (IEP) document the need to use accommodations. The documentation must show that the disability interferes with the learner’s ability to demonstrate performance on a standardized test. The information can come from a doctor’s report, a diagnostic assessment from a certified professional, and other clinical records. If no documentation is available, adult agencies can often contact the local division of vocational rehabilitation or the learner’s secondary school to request documentation of a disability.
Accommodations in Administration Procedures and Learner Response
For learners with documented disabilities, local assessment staff may provide accommodations in administration procedures, such as allowing extra time, repeating directions, breaking an assessment into two sessions, using a separate room, giving frequent breaks, or providing a sign language interpreter (for test administration directions only). Accommodations in learner response may include using a sound amplification device, using a test reader and scribe, using a simple calculator for math, using a touch-screen monitor, typing on a Braille keyboard, using speech-to-text software, and using screen reader (text-to-speech) software.