Accommodation Vs. Modification

Do you know the difference between modifications and accommodations?

Accommodations are changes in courses, standards, test presentation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student response and/or other change which is deemed necessary to provide access for a student with a disability to participate fully, and which most critically DO NOT fundamentally alter or lower the standards or expectations for the course, standard or test.

Modifications are changes in courses, standards, test presentation, location, timing, scheduling, expectations, student response and/or other change which is deemed necessary to provide access for a student with a disability to participate in the course, standard or test, but which most critically DOES fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation for that student's participation in the course, standard or test.

Assessment Modifications

Technique: Assess ESL students according to what they can do rather than what they cannot do

Standardized tests or even teacher-created tests can’t always measure ESL students’ progress accurately or authentically. Instead, measure ESL students by what they can do at any point in time, keeping in mind what they could not do earlier. Have they shown progress? Have they sincerely made an effort to learn? Have they demonstrated their learning?

Technique: Modify the tests you give

  • Accept printing or cursive
  • Test key concepts or main ideas
  • Avoid test questions asking for discrete information
  • Make a simplified language version of the test
  • Simplify instructions and rewrite directions at an appropriate reading level
  • Provide word banks
  • Allow more time for student to respond if they process information more
    slowly in their second language
  • Give students extra time to complete tests
  • Provide shorter testing times to prevent exhaustion
  • Grade content vs. mechanics
  • Provide students with ideas on test-taking strategies and provide practice
    on various testing formats ahead of time
  • Use fill-in-the-blank procedures rather then essays
  • Do not place extra words in a matching activity
  • For multiple choice items, eliminate one or two of the possible answers; avoid "a, b, and c" or “none of the above”
  • Avoid "pop" quizzes
  • Make all or part of the exam oral if applicable
  • Reduce the number of problems on a page
  • Use a highlighter or marker to identify key words, phrases, or sentences
  • Outline reading material for the student at his/her reading level, emphasizing main ideas
  • Tape record directions/tests/quizzes for the student
  • Tape record material for the student to listen to as he/she reads along
  • Provide manipulative objects for the student to use when solving math problems

Technique: Use alternative assessment strategies for ESL students

1. Non-verbal

  • Physical demonstration (paint, gesture, act out, thumbs up/down, nod yes/no)
  • Pictorial products (manipulate or create drawings, diagrams, dioramas, models, graphs, charts; label pictures; keep a picture journal
  • KWL Charts using pictures or native language

2.Oral and Written Strategies

  • Interviews, oral reports, role plays using visual cues, gestures or physical activity
  • Describing, explaining, summarizing, retelling, paraphrasing
  • Thinking and learning logs
  • Reading response logs
  • Writing assignments
  • Dialogue journals
  • Audio or video recordings or students
  • Portfolios
  • Creative projects (posters, folded books, other fun ideas to lower anxiety while assessing comprehension and critical thinking)

Technique: Consult CAN DO Descriptors

See the CAN DO Descriptors for guidance to establish appropriate objectives for your ELL within the four domains: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
CLOSE