Response: Verbal Response

Related References
Types of Assessment


Guiding Principles
Case Studies

This accommodation allows the student to respond verbally to the written test items. The most common ways a student may respond are:

  • The student speaks to an adult, who records the answer.
  • The student speaks into a tape recorder and an adult marks the answer sheet at a later time.


  1. This accommodation usually requires a separate setting for the student.
  2. If a tape recorder is used, it is important to make sure the equipment is available and working properly.
  3. Adult listeners should become familiar with the test so they can record students' responses easily.
  4. If a tape recorder is used, the student should be taught a routine for recording answers.


With verbal responses, it is difficult for the student to return to an item to recheck an answer. It also may be difficult to return to an item that was skipped. In cases where the student is speaking into a tape recorder, there also is a possibility that the student may confuse answers (i.e., forget to state that he or she skipped an item). The transcriber may not keep up with the student's speed of talking when transcribing a long answer. Asking the student to talk slowly may cause the student to become distracted.

Transcribing audiotapes also can be difficult if the student speaks quietly, or if a noise interferes with an answer (e.g., when external sounds such as a lawn mower or siren are louder than the student's voice).

Excerpted from Assessment Accommodations Toolkit.

Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

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