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What is an accommodation?

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  1. What is an accommodation? • Accommodation: • Lang, Elliot, Bolt, and Kratochwill (2008) stated that testing accommodations are changes made to the administration of tests to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the constructs measured by the tests without the interference of their disability. • Elbaum (2007) stated there is a general consensus that to be considered a valid accommodation, a modification in test administration should remove disability-related variance. For example, allowing students with motor difficulties to dictate their solutions to mathematics problems to a scribe addresses the students’ specific disability without affecting their mathematics skills.

  2. Most commonly allowed accommodations • Thurlow and Bolt (2001) found the following accommodation to be the most often allowed in state policy • Individual administration • Dictated response • Small group administration • Large print • Braille • Extended time • Interpreter for instructions • Read/reread/simplify/clarify directions • Computer machine response • Read aloud • Writing in test booklets • Testing with breaks

  3. Accommodations allowed in Wisconsin General considerations for the use of accommodations on state and district assessments: • Accommodations for a student with a disability must be documented on a current IEP or 504 plan. • Accommodations should be consistent with day-to-day instructional methods. • Accommodations should not be first introduced during testing; students should be comfortable using accommodations. • Accommodations should enhance access without changing the skill or construct measured. • Districts should monitor appropriate use of accommodations by comparing actual assessment accommodations received with those stated in the student’s IEP or 504 plan. • Found on Wisconsin Dept of Instruction website http://dpi.wi.gov/oea/pdf/accom09.pdf

  4. Accommodations allowed in Wisconsin • Test Directions • Read directions aloud and reread as needed • Use an audio recording of directions • Use directions that have been marked or highlighted by teacher or student • Simplify, explain, clarify, or translate language in directions • Have student reread and/or restate directions in his/her own words • Use sign language or oral interpreters for directions • Content Presentation • Use visual magnification • Use audio amplification • Use a colored overlay • Use page markers to maintain place • Allow students to mark in test book • Turn pages for student • Provide Braille or large print edition of test • Provide extra test book for student to view • Sign questions and content to student (not allowed on Reading test) • Student uses a text-talker converter (not allowed on Reading test) • Read questions and content to student (not allowed on Reading test)

  5. Accommodations allowed in Wisconsin • Content Presentation Continued • Read aloud the Reading test to students with visual impairments • Provide translator to translate questions • Provide bilingual word lists • Simplify words not allowed on Read and Language Arts test • Response • Use of calculator or multiplication table for students in grades 3 or 4 on Mathematics test • Use graph/lined/grid paper, template, or graphic organizer • For selected response items, student indicates responses to a scribe orally, by pointing, or by using a communication device. • For constructed response items, student indicates responses orally to a scribe • Student responds orally or in writing in his/her native language and a translator records/translates student responses into regular test book in English. (Not allowed on Writing test. )

  6. Accommodations allowed in Wisconsin • Response • Student uses sign language to indicate responses to a scribe. (Not allowed on Writing test ) • Student reads out loud to him/herself in an individual setting. • Student records responses using an audio or video device • Student uses computer or word processor for recording responses that are then transcribed into regular test book. • Provide spelling assistance or a spell-check device, where appropriate. (Not allowed on Language Arts or Writing tests. ) • Setting • Provide distraction-free space or alternative location for student • Student takes test in an individualized and supervised setting • Student takes test with a small group or a different class • Homebound or hospitalized student takes test at home or in a care facility (e.g., hospital) with district supervision. • Student uses adaptive furniture. • Student uses special lighting and/or acoustics • Allow student to move, stand, or pace during individual administration

  7. Accommodations allowed in Wisconsin • Time and Scheduling • Breaks: allow student to take breaks without exceeding total testing time • Extra time: provide extra time for any timed test, as long as a test session is completed within the same day the student started the session • Scheduling: allow student to test across multiple days, as long as a test session is completed within the same day the student started the session. • Other • Any accommodation not on this list must be submitted to DPI for approval, as it may represent a modification which changes the skill or construct being measured

  8. Effectiveness of Accommodations • As of 2004, Bolt and Thurlow found that very little research had been done to show whether accommodations allow for appropriate assessment • Cawthon, Ho, Patel, Potvin, and Trundt (2009) noted that the research on the effects of accommodated test scores continues to grow, but offers few conclusive findings.

  9. EFFECTS OF THE READ ALOUD ACCOMMODATION ONSTUDENT SCORES AND PERCEPTIONS OF TEST A Field Project Report By Steve Schoen January 15th, 2011

  10. Relevance • Reading is a prerequisite skill for demonstrating knowledge in many academic areas. Questions in science, social studies, math, and reading all require reading skills to correctly answer. (Thurlow and Bolt 2001). • Only after removing the obstacle of the reading can the students’ true abilities to answer the question be demonstrated and the possibility of error based solely on the reading aspect removed (Thurlow and Bolt 2001).

  11. Previous Literature • Fuchs(2000), Rieck(2005) and Phillips(1994) noted that high-stakes testing is growing in use. • Ketterlin-Gellar (2007) found the read aloud accommodation does help low fluency readers on math assessments. • Elbaum (2007) found that the read aloud accommodation helped both student with and without disabilities. The latter twice as much. • Meloy(2002) found that the read aloud accommodation helped both students with and without disabilities resulting in an unfair advantage for those that receive it.

  12. Data Collection • Population n =30 high school students ages 14-18 • Subpopulations • Students with SLD n = 9 • Students without SLD n =21 • Random assignment to two test groups • Two test forms • Math and reading comprehension • Equal number of questions • Similar difficulty • Procedure • Students took an accommodated test and a non-accommodated test. • Students responded to a survey about testing and the accommodation

  13. Examination for form effect • The difference in mean scores was 0.30 • A P-value of 0.301 demonstrates no significant difference in scores obtained on different forms. • A Cohen’s d of 0.05 shows virtually no effect.

  14. Examination for form effect on reading subtest • The difference in mean score was 0.27 • A P-value of 0.290 demonstrates no significant difference in scores obtained on the reading subtest by form. • A Cohen’s d of 0.08 shows virtually no effect.

  15. Examination for form effect on math subtest • A P-value of 0.464 demonstrates no significant difference in test scores on the math subtest by form. • A Cohen’s d of 0.01 shows virtually no effect. • The difference in mean scores 0.34

  16. Comparison of total test scores between ability groups Students with disabilities Students without disabilities • Students without SLD • P = 0.023 significant • Cohen’s d = 0.28 small effect • Students with SLD • P = 0.448 not significant • Cohen’s d = 0.03 virtually no effect

  17. Comparison of math test scores between ability groups Students with disabilities Students without disabilities • Students without SLD • P = 0.410 not significant • Cohen’s d = 0.03 virtually no effect • Students with SLD • P = 0.446 not significant • Cohen’s d = 0.04 virtually no effect

  18. Comparison of reading test scores between ability groups Students with disabilities Students without disabilities • Students without SLD • P = 0.011 significant • Cohen’s d = 0.48 approaching medium effect • Students with SLD • P = 0.5 significant • Cohen’s d = 0.0 no effect

  19. Differential Boost • There is a large difference in mean scores between ability groups on the over all test scores • This large difference is not due to students with SLD substantially increasing their scores. • There is no boost due to low increase by students with SLD and decrease of scores for students without SLD.

  20. Differential Boost Continued • An examination of individual students showed that few students increased their scores on either subtest. • Students without SLD • Math: One student increased score by more than 2 • Reading: Two students increased score by more than 1 • Students with SLD • Math: One student increased score by more than 2 • Reading: Two students increased score by more than 2 • The final analysis is that there was no boost for either population even when considering individual students.

  21. Differential Decay • The mean scores of the students without SLD decreased on both the reading and math tests when read aloud. • Reading -1.33 • Math -0.09 • When comparing mean differences of the ability group there is a small difference in math and a large difference in reading. • Reading 1.35 • Math 0.20 • Individual students without SLD displayed large negative score changes • Reading: Seven students decreased by score more than 1. Some by as much as 3, 4 or 7. • Math: Five students decrease score by more than 1 • The final analysis shows a decay in reading scores for students with disabilities.

  22. Results of Survey:How do you rate your test taking skills? Student without disabilities Student with disabilities 1 = very poor, 2 = poor, 3 = strong, 4 = very strong

  23. Were the tests you took during the study difficult? Students without disabilities Students with disabilities 1 = very difficult, 2 = difficult, 3 = easy, 4 = very easy

  24. Do you think a test would be easier or more difficult if it was read aloud? Students without disabilities Students with disabilities 1 = much more difficult, 2 = more difficult, 3 = easier, 4 = much easier

  25. How do you feel about a test being read aloud? Students without disabilities Students with disabilities 1 = hated it, 2 = did not like it, 3 = liked it, 4 = loved it

  26. Did having a test read aloud make you believe that you did better or worse on the test? Students without disabilities Students with disabilities 1 = much worse, 2 = worse, 3 = better, 4 = much better

  27. Limitations of Study • Small sample size 30 participants • Small number of participants with SLD, 9 • Data was prone to be skewed by outlying scores • Not much demographic variation in the sample • Setting and sample size made generalization difficult • The design and data could not answer all 5 sub-questions of the overall research question.

  28. Strength of Study • The design of the study mitigated outside effects • The test instruments used were measured to be similar in difficult for both subtests • Same administrator for all tests

  29. Research Question How did the read aloud accommodation effect test scores in the content areas of mathematics and reading comprehension for students with and without disabilities? • Results of data analysis show little effect in regards to positive score shifts. • By answering the 5 sub-questions a better understanding of the effect can be attained.

  30. Sub-question #1 Does the accommodation work to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding? • Very small difference in mean scores on subtests for student with SLD. Large P-values • Reading 0.11 • P = 0.5 • Math 0.02 • P = 0.446 • Data indicates no benefit or additional opportunity to demonstrate knowledge for students with SLD

  31. Sub-question #2 Is the accommodation useful on all types of tests and across content? • Type of test: • The instrument of the current study was exclusively multiple choice in format. • The current study was not designed to examine the effect of the accommodation on different types of tests. • Content of test: • 2 sections comprised of math and reading comprehension • Provided no benefit for students with SLD in either content area • Math P = 0.446 • Reading P = 0.5 • Provided no benefit for students without SLD in either content area • Math P = 0.410, • Reading P = 0.011* *This is a significant difference but it was in a negative direction • No other content areas studied

  32. Sub-question #3 Is the accommodation only useful to those with specific learning disabilities and if not does it at least help those with specific learning disabilities more? • Students without SLD were negatively impacted • Math test scores were lower but not significantly • Reading test scores were significantly lower • P = 0.011 • Students with SLD scores were higher but only by a small amount • The accommodation was more useful to students with SLD, but only marginally

  33. Sub-question #4 If it is found that the accommodation is a benefit to all who receive it, would giving the accommodation only to students with specific learning disabilities be unfair? • The current study cannot answer this question • This study’s results indicate that it would be unfair to read the test aloud to students without SLD. • Survey results indicate that many of the students without SLD recognize the need for accommodation

  34. Sub-question #5 Does the accommodation relieve test stress and increase the students’ beliefs in their skills? Do the students believe the accommodation works? • All student with SLD thought accommodation increased test taking ability • Majority of students without SLD, 80%, thought accommodation increased test taking ability • Majority of both groups liked the test accommodation • 10% of students without SLD strongly disliked the accommodation

  35. Results Related to Previous Research • Results contradict those of previous research • All students benefit from having reading tests read aloud. McKevittand Elliot (2003) • All students benefit from having math tests read aloud. Meloy, Deville, and Frisbie (2002). • In the current study neither group benefitted from having the test read aloud on either subtest.

  36. Relation to previous research continued • Survey Results fall in the middle of previous research • Nelson, Jayanthi, Epstein, and Bursuck (2000) found that the read aloud accommodation was the least liked by students. • Majority of students with disabilities and the majority without disabilities preferred the accommodated test. McKevitt and Elliot (2003) • In the current study a majority of both groups preferred the accommodated version

  37. Implications for Use of the Read Aloud Accommodation • No clear indication as to when to use accommodation • Test administrators, including classroom instructors, need to be careful • Should not base decision on solely whether a student have a specific learning disability • Should not base decision solely on the students’ beliefs that the accommodation will help. • Need to assess each student and make case by case decisions • Potential for harm

  38. Implications for Further Research • Results don’t support prior research on the effect on test scores. • A replication on a larger scale to examine the negative effect of the accommodation. • Further examination of the reasons behind the students’ beliefs that the accommodation allowed them to perform better despite the actual results. • Further examination of the stress relieving aspects of the accommodation.

  39. Summary • The read aloud accommodation did not provide any positive effect for either subpopulation on either subtest. • The read aloud accommodation negatively impacted scores of student without SLD on the reading comprehension test. • Both groups liked having the test read aloud. The reading more than the math. • Both groups believed they did better on the read aloud test though they did not.

  40. What does this tell us • This research indicated that the use of some accommodations may be harmful to student performance • We need to be carefulwith applying accommodations indiscriminately • Checklist boxes are easy to check • We need to develop accommodation plans based on each individual student • We cannot depend on student perceptions when determining effectiveness or even benefit

  41. Determining appropriate accommodations • Need for a comprehensive, individualized approach • Specific accommodation may only be effective on certain tests at certain times • Others are effective at all times i.e. extended time, Braille, scribe • Data, data, data to drive decisions • Accommodation plans develop over time

  42. Reference Thurlow, M., & Bolt, S. (2001). Empirical support for accommodations most often allowed in state policy (Synthesis Report 41). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://education.umn.edu.NCEO/OnlinePubs/Synthesis41.html Fuch, L, Fuchs, D., Eaton, S., Hamlett, C., & Karns, K. (2000). Supplementing teacher judgments of mathematics test accommodations with objective source data. School Psychology Review,29(1), 65-85. Elbaum, B. (2007). Effects of an oral testing accommodation on the mathematics performance of secondary students with and without learning disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 40(4), 218-229. Meloy, L., Deville, C., & Frisbie, D. (2002). The effect of a read aloud accommodation on test scores of students with and without a learning disability in reading. Remedial and Special Education,23(4), 248-255.

  43. References Continued Phillips, S. (1994). High-stakes testing accommodations: validity versus disabled rights. AppliedMeasurement in Education, 7(2) 92-120 Rieck, W., & Wadsworth, D. (2005). Assessment accommodations: Helping students with exceptional learning needs. Intervention in School and Clinic,41(2), 105-109. Ketterlin-Gellar, L., Yovanoff, P., & Tindal, G. (2007). Developing a new paradigm for conducting research on accommodations in mathematics testing. Council for Exceptional Children, 73(3), 331-347. McKevitt, B., & Elliot, S. (2003). Effects and perceived consequences of using read aloud and teacher-recommended testing accommodations on a reading achievement test. School Psychology Review,12(4), 583-600. Nelson, J., Jayanthi, M., Epstein, M., & Bursuck, W. (2000). Student preferences for adaptations in classroom testing. Remedial and Special Education,21(1), 41-52.

  44. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Accommodation Matrix, retrieved from the web at http://dpi.wi.gov/oea/pdf/accom09.pdf Lang, S., Elliot, S., Bolt, D., & Kratochwill, T. (2008). The effects of testing accommodations on students’ performance and reactions to testing. School Psychology Quarterly,23(1), 107-124. Bolt, S., & Thurlow, M. (2004). Five of the most frequently allowed testing accommodations in state policy. Remedial and Special Education,25(3), 141-152. Cawthon, S., Ho, E., Patel, P., Potvin, D., & Trundt, K. (2009). Multiple constructs for effective accommodations on accommodated test scores for students with disabilities. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 14(18), 1-9. Retrieved from http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=14n=18