Iep teams and assessment accommodation decisions recommended vs implemented
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IEP Teams and Assessment Accommodation Decisions: Recommended vs. Implemented. Jane L. Ewing, Ed.D. Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College. What is the relationship between. Instructional accommodations Recommended assessment accommodations (IEPs)

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IEP Teams and Assessment Accommodation Decisions: Recommended vs. Implemented

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Iep teams and assessment accommodation decisions recommended vs implemented

IEP Teams and Assessment Accommodation Decisions:Recommended vs. Implemented

Jane L. Ewing, Ed.D.

Paul V. Sherlock Center

on Disabilities

at Rhode Island College

What is the relationship between

What is the relationship between

  • Instructional accommodations

  • Recommended assessment

    accommodations (IEPs)

  • Accommodations used during

    state assessments?



  • Observed 66 students in 9 schools during classroom instruction and state assessments.

  • Gathered data from 107 IEPs, including those of observed students.

  • Interviewed assessment proctors, monitors, administrators.

Major findings

Major Findings

  • Location was the better predictor of accommodations during tests, rather than IEPs.

  • Students testing together received same “package” of accommodations, regardless of IEPs.

Major findings1

Major Findings

  • Test accommodations were not individualized or developed from students’ instructional accommodations.

  • Seeming lack of awareness how to tailor assessment accommodations to individual students’ testing needs.

Institutional capacity a zero sum game

Institutional Capacity: a zero-sum game?

  • Condensed testing schedule (March to May in 2002; March only in 2003)

  • Growing numbers of students needing accommodations

  • Increased number of high-stakes assessments added to the schedule (ex., NAEP added to RI in 2003)

  • No additional resources

Decision making resources

Decision Making Resources

  • State assessment guidance 40%

  • Feedback of students’ teachers 11%

  • Students’ IEPs 7%

  • Individual student need4%

  • Supervisor’s guidelines3%

  • Classroom accommodations2%

General educators not full partners

General Educators: Not Full Partners

  • I have very little involvement as an IEP team member. My input is rarely sought.

  • I am asked to sit in on IEP meetings infrequently. To be honest, most decisions on accommodations are made without my input.

  • I do not have a part in this process. I don’t have the training or the knowledge. I don’t make decisions.

  • I have never been given information on how to assess a special education student, but I have requested it.

Special educators

Special Educators

  • Accommodations were determined by students’ prior teachers and staff.

  • Follow-through on assessment accommodations was almost always the job of the Special Education department.

  • State trainings: test facilitation only

Special educators1

Special Educators

  • Elementary special educators preferred to proctor/implement for their own students.

  • High school students could decline their accommodations; often proctored by staff who did not know the students at all.

Instruction and assessment

Instruction and Assessment

  • Significant difference between the level of support received during instruction and assessment

  • Students may benefit from instructional accommodations but do not receive assessment accommodations in any way comparable.

  • Respondents reported basing all accommodations on “individual need of student” yet few had individualized accommodations during tests (e.g., scribing, readers, flexible schedule).

2002 assessments

2002 Assessments

  • Alternative settings – anywhere from 7 to 15 students, each with different IEPs but all receiving the same accommodations

  • Regular setting – students on IEPs in cafeteria but none of the monitors could identify

  • Proctor with one or two students – settings were not quiet (e.g., library where class is being held)

2003 follow up

2003 Follow Up

  • Greater agreement between recommended and implemented assessment accommodations for this year’s smaller sample of students (N=39)

  • Similar to 2002, 2003’s 5 most commonly recommended assessment accommodations were also the most frequently implemented and most generic.

  • Students had on average more instructional accommodations (5), compared to test accommodations (3).

  • Instructional accommodations were more specific and based on individual student needs.

High school students

High school students

  • 2003 sample had fewer assessment supports both recommended and implemented than lower grades.

  • Consistently had 2 recommended accommodations, alternate location and extended time.

  • Often given oral administration of directions, though rarely recommended on their IEPs.

  • Students rarely took extended time.

Comparison of accommodations

Comparison of Accommodations

Comparison of accommodations1

Comparison of Accommodations

11 students oral administration of math tests 28 of the 2003 sample

11 STUDENTS oral administration of math tests (28% of the 2003 sample)

  • Teacher reading math test to student if needed (3 middle school students)

  • Oral administration of math assessment (3 elementary students)

  • Key words highlighted in math directions (1 elementary student)

11 students oral administration of math tests

11 STUDENTS Oral administration of math tests

  • Reader (2 high school students)

  • Tests read orally (1 high school student)

  • Should be read to (1 high school student)

But was it implemented

But was it implemented …?

  • Few proctors had the math read-aloud listed on their accommodations sheets.

  • Proctors occasionally re-read problems to students during the math assessments in the middle and elementary grades.

But was it implemented1

But was it implemented …?

  • IF the proctor/aide was familiar with the student’s needs or IEP, the student was more likely to receive an IEP recommended accommodation.

  • In most cases, proctors did not know the students.

Other unusual accommodations

Other “Unusual” Accommodations

  • Check for comprehension

  • Use of calculator

  • Access to computer

  • Flexible schedule for testing

  • “Keywords highlighted in directions”

  • Preferential seating

  • Alternative setting free of distractions

And the implementation

And the implementation…

  • Monitors did not noticeably check more frequently.

  • Many students allowed calculators.

  • Student decided not to use a computer.

  • Classroom teacher/proctor decided “flexible scheduling” was not necessary.

And the implementation1

And the implementation…

  • Keywords highlighted – translated as “read-aloud.”

  • Preferential seating – students choose their own seats.

  • Alternative settings were too full to be quiet.



Student-centered assessment accommodations – scribing, reading assistance, 1-on-1 support – required resources and preparation that schools did not produce.



  • Proctors not sure how to implement accommodations such as scribing or support.

  • Assessment accommodations that parallel instructional accommodations not available to students during state assessments.

School level basics

School-level basics …

  • Proper training for proctors

  • Clear guidelines on individualized accommodations to increase confidence in discretionary decision making

  • Appropriate rooms for testing

  • Use of computers and other AT

Other possible changes in practice

Other Possible Changes in Practice

  • Provide additional state-sponsored training for proctoring staff, not just administration (test security, etc.)

  • Hold school-based sessions with leadership personnel to clarify “what is permitted.”

Other possible changes in practice1

Other Possible Changes in Practice

  • Develop IEPs during same school year in which student will participate in state assessments.

  • Insure that both classroom and assessment personnel participate.

  • Promote individualized accommodations that approximate instructional support during assessments.

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