Setting: Preferential Seating

How to use preferential seating to accommodate assessment.
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Updated on: December 11, 2000

Setting: Preferential Seating

Related References
Types of Assessment


Guiding Principles
Case Studies
DescriptionPreferential seating may include placement in the classroom (e.g., up front by theteacher, away from a distracting doorway or fan, facing the wall) or in a separatedefined area such as a study carrel. Preferential seating may be implemented in thesame room as other classmates, or it may be located in a separate setting.


  1. Review the room and identify all areas that may create distractions or provide bestplacements for individual students.
  2. Before asking a student to test in a location,make sure that both you and the student have tried to work in the space for anextended period of time.
  3. While a student may work well in a studycarrel during regular instructional activities, he or she may not do as well during anassessment.
  4. While a student may work well in the front row during instruction,your presence at the desk may prove distracting for the student during a test situa-tion.


Students should be comfortable in special placements during assessments. Take careto ensure that the preferential seating is not perceived as punishment.

Excerpted from Assessment Accommodations Toolkit.

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