Assessment accommodations provide learners who have disabilities with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities without interference caused by the disability itself. Accommodations change the way that an assessment is administered or how learners may respond to the assessment situation. Appropriate accommodations meet learners’ needs without changing what a test is intended to measure. It is important to note that not all learners with disabilities will need testing accommodations.
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 in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 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. The need to use an accommodation should be documented in official learner records, such as the Individual Education Plan (IEP). The documentation must show that the disability interferes with the learner’s ability to demonstrate performance on the test. The information can come from a doctor’s report, a diagnostic assessment from a certified professional, and other clinical records. Adult agencies can often contact the local division of vocational rehabilitation or a 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 reader and scribe to record answers, using a simple calculator for math, typing on a Braille keyboard, and using speech-to-text software.