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Assessment Accommodations Glossary

Discover a glossary that will help you understand the words used concerning Assessment Accommodations.
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Assessment Accommodations Glossary

Accountability State assessments are the foundation of many accountability systems, both those directed toward schools andtheir staff and those directed toward students, such asdiplomas and promotion requirements. 
AlternateAssessment If the IEP team determines that a child will not participate in a particular state or district-wide assessment ofstudent achievement (or part of such assessment), theIEP must include a statement of why that assessment isnot appropriate for the child and how the child will beassessed. [34 CFR §300.347(a)(5)(i)] For students whoseIEPs specify that they should not participate in regularassessments, the state must ensure development ofguidelines for their participation in alternate assessmentsand develop and conduct alternate assessments by July I,2000. [20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(17)(A)(i)-(ii) and 34 CFR§300.138(b)] 
AssessmentAccommodation A change in how a test is presented or how the test takerresponds, which may include changes in the presentationformat, response format, test setting, timing, or scheduling. This term generally refers to changes that do notsignificantly alter what the test measures. It results froma student need; it is not intended to give the student anunfair advantage.
AssistiveTechnology Devices As defined by the Individuals with Disabilities EducationAct (IDEA), this term refers to a broad range of devicesdesigned to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. [20 U.S.C.§1401(1) and 34 CFR §300.5] Assistive technologydevices may include equipment or product systems.IDEA '97 requires that assistive technology devices andservices be considered for all students with disabilities inthe development of their IEPs. [20 U.S.C.§1414(d)(3)(B)(v) and 34 CFR §300.346(a)(2)(v)] 
AssistiveTechnology Service Students who use assistive technology devices may needa range of services that directly assist that student withthe selection, acquisition, or use of the device. Suchservices may include evaluation; the actual purchase,lease, or acquisition of assistive devices; as well as theservices needed to select, design, fit, customize, adapt,maintain, repair, or replace assistive technology devices.Assistive technology services also may include the coordination and use of other therapies, interventions, orservices with the assistive technology device, and training that may be needed for the student, the student'sfamily, professionals, employers, or other service providers involved in the student's major life functions. [20U.S.C. §1401(2) and 34 CFR §300.6] 
High StakesAssessment Increasingly, schools are administering state and/ordistrict-wide tests, often referred to as "high stakestests," that have important consequences for students,staff, or schools. For example, some states requirestudents to pass one or more state assessments in orderto be promoted or to receive a high school diploma.Some states base school accreditation on test results. 
Individuals withDisabilitiesEducation Act(IDEA) In 1997, IDEA was reauthorized (P.L. 105-17). TheIDEA Amendments of 1997 (IDEA '97) require statesreceiving IDEA funds to ensure that a free appropriatepublic education is made available to children withdisabilities in mandatory age ranges in the least restrictive environment. One of the major emphases in thereauthorization of IDEA is that students with disabilitiesmust have access to the general curriculum, that is, thesame curriculum as for nondisabled students and be heldto challenging performance standards. Thus, the provisions in IDEA '97 regarding the participation of studentswith disabilities in general state and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations andmodifications in administration, where necessary, promote these important statutory purposes. [20 U.S.C.§1412(a)(17)(A) and 34 CFR §300.138(a)] 
Large-scaleAssessment Many states and districts use large-scale, standards-basedassessments for all students in public schools. Large-scaleassessments are used to show how students are performing against state standards or national norms, and tohold school districts accountable for student performance. Assessments typically vary across states. Large-scale general assessments typically measure knowledge inbroad content areas, rather than specific skills usuallyrepresented by IEP goals. 
Modification The terms assessment accommodation or assessmentaccommodations and modifications are used to refer to a change in how a test is presented or how the test taker responds. These changes donot change the content of what is being measured.Although technically, the term accommodation often isused to describe a change in how the test taker respondsand the term modification is used to describe a change inhow the test is presented, CEC has chosen not to makethat distinction.

Excerpted from Assessment Accommodations Toolkit.

Related Resources

Types of Assessment Accommodations
Accommodation Objectives
Guiding Principles
Case Studies

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

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