Presentation: Clarification

How to incorporate clarification into your assessment accommodations.

Presentation: Clarification

Related References
Types of Assessment


Guiding Principles
Case Studies

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

  • Explain the directions. Students are allowed to ask for clarification of the testdirections or instructions. In some cases this may mean simplifying the languagein 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 notanswer 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 forstudents who require them.


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


There is some controversy about simplifying oral or written directions because suchchanges may reduce the comparability of the test. Furthermore, the changes mayinterfere 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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