Presentation: Clarification

Related References
Types of Assessment


Guiding Principles
Case Studies

When students require a clarification accommodation, the teacher is expected to provide some additional explanation, either of the directions or the actual test items. Common examples of clarification include:

  • Explain the directions. Students are allowed to ask for clarification of the test directions or instructions. In some cases this may mean simplifying the language in the directions.
  • Answer questions without giving answers. During the test, students are permitted to ask questions. Teachers are allowed to respond as long as they do not answer the question for the student or provide information the test is measuring (e.g., showing the student the formula for completing a math problem).
  • Provide extra examples. Some tests will provide an example as part of the directions. This accommodation allows teachers to provide additional examples for students who require them.


  1. Review the directions and test items.
  2. Note particular places where the student may have difficulty and prepare clarifications.
  3. Some teachers suggest that it is helpful to have a contingency plan in place should the student not understand after repeated attempts at clarification.


There is some controversy about simplifying oral or written directions because such changes may reduce the comparability of the test. Furthermore, the changes may interfere with the student's ability to complete the test items successfully (e.g., critical information is left out of the new directions).

Excerpted from Assessment Accommodations Toolkit.

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