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Tips on Accommodating Tests for Students with Disabilities

written by: Bright Hub Education Writer • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/2/2012

Testing students with special needs is a little different than giving tests to regular education students. Read on to learn more about what you can do to accommodate the students in your class.

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    As more and more students are being included into the general education curriculum due to the inclusion movement, regular education teachers need to make sure that the proper testing takes place for students with special needs. In order to accommodate disabled students, school testing needs to follow several parameters in order to comply with the child’s Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. Let’s take a look at some common allowable accommodations that are given to almost every student with an IEP.

    Extended time for testing is given to just about all students. When planning to give tests, make sure you allow students with special needs extra time to complete their test. A common accommodation is to give them one extra class period, or double the amount of time the regular education students receive. Another common accommodation is to read the tests aloud to the students. The other common accommodation is to have the students take the test in the special education classroom, this allows for a smaller setting and provides the opportunity for the special education teacher to provide any other allowable accommodations.

    Depending on the severity of the disability, some students may need very little help, while others may need quite a bit. Here are some other ways to adapt your tests to meet the needs of the disabled students in your classroom:

    • Multiple choice answer selections reduced to 2 or 3
    • Instead of writing an essay, they can provide a bulleted list
    • Word banks for fill-in-the-blanks, with no extras
    • Matching questions set up in chunks so that there are less possibilities of answers
    • Directions may be read aloud if the whole test is not being read

    One important thing to note about disabled students’ school testing, is that a study guide should always be provided. Many students have a hard time when they have to study a whole chapter or unit of information. If teachers provide them with a study guide, they will feel less overwhelmed and will be able to do better on the test.

    For many students with special needs, taking a test comes with a lot of unneeded anxiety. Teachers try to do everything they can in order to take this anxiety away. One thing you can do is if the student does not do well; allow them to take a retest.

    As you are creating tests, ask yourself if it will meet the needs of every student in your classroom. This includes all students with special needs. Disabled students’ school testing experiences needs to be stress-free and as accommodating as possible. If you have questions, refer to the student’s IEP, or ask a special education teacher. There are so many ways to make tests appropriate for students with special needs.