Accommodation changes how the student learns, such as changing the setting or the time allowed. Modification changes what the student learns, so they will be held to different expectations than the rest of the students in their class.
You will likely hear these terms if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan.
In the context of classroom instruction, accommodations can help students learn the same material as their peers but just with some extra assistance. Examples include audio recordings of text and sitting in the front of the classroom. Modifications, on the other hand, are for students who would benefit from changes in the curriculum. They may receive shorter or lower level reading assignments.
Students who have special plans will have different test experiences as well. Students with accommodations will likely have more time to take their test, but they will not be allowed to use the same tools that help them during instruction. Modifications will usually allow students to take a different test entirely. If the test is modified it can also mean that they are only tested on half of the information that the rest of the students are tested on.
Standardized testing essentially follows the same rules as normal classroom testing but may have different implications regarding how much the test is modified. The state can allow students with modifications to take a different test, but the results may be interpreted differently and have certain implications attached to the performance. As in, if the test was some kind of entry exam, the institution may throw their test out because it was modified.
Although accommodations or modifications can be helpful for your child’s education and performance it is not a solution to their problems. To address your child’s learning disability they need to be taught in a way that their brain is wired to learn. Consider Structured Literacy therapy to address your child’s reading, writing and learning struggles at the root of the cause.
Taylor is a senior studying communication at NC State University. As the Blog and PR intern for lexercise she utilizes her passion for writing to help inform parents of struggling readers, writers and spellers. She feels a connection to Lexercise through her love for children and their well-being.