Posted by Christy Williams on May 24th, 2016
There are a number of accommodations that can be made for students with Learning Disabilities (LD) in the classroom. The accommodations are slight adjustments that help minimize the impact of LD on the student’s learning and performance potential. Likewise, the same or similar accommodations can be applied to assist students during high school equivalency (HSE) tests. Some accommodations require LD diagnosis documentation and prior approval, while others are acceptable with inspection upon arrival.
As similar LD students experience similar symptoms, there are some accommodations that are more frequently recommended than others. The most common accommodations include:
- Audio format or reader
- Braille format
- Calculator (Some talking calculators are approved)
- Extended time
- Frequent breaks (supervised)
- Large-print format or screen magnification
- Private, or small group, testing area
- Use of a scribe or keyboard assistant
Computer based accommodations also include: click to enlarge, color contrast and zoom.
Some accommodations do not require documentation. However, they may require the student to provide his own approved resources. Students should check with the test site in advance to see which items are provided and which they will need to supply themselves. Some additional accommodations include:
- Earplugs – Can be used provided they are not attached to anything.
- Graph paper – Allowed for usage to solve math problems, but must be returned to the test administrator following the exam.
- Handheld magnifying device – Permitted for use provided the device does not have recording capabilities.
- Highlighter – Permissible on scratch paper and test booklets only; not for answer key.
- One test per day – Requires prior arrangement with exam administrator.
- Priority seating – Students can request to sit closer to the instructor to better hear instructions or in another part of the room to minimize distractions.
- Scrap paper – Must be returned at the end of test period; can be colored or plain white.
- Transparent overlays – Often tinted pages to assist in tracking while reading.
- Unmarked Straightedge – Scrap paper can also be used in the same capacity for tracking.
Students should work with their Adult Education Program to identify the appropriate pathway for applying to receive HSE testing accommodations. Accommodations for HSE tests are granted on an individual basis. Arrangements should be made well in advance for requested accommodations, as documentation review for eligibility can take up to 6 weeks in some cases. The program leaders will also have access to accommodations that can be administered without documentation.
As LD students are diagnosed, accommodations should become a part of their instructional and study delivery. Students and teachers work together to find the combination of accommodations that best drive individual performance. Once these methods are adopted, the student can then apply to use the same tools during their HSE testing, providing an equal opportunity for successful completion. From non-documented assistance such as ear-plugs and priority seating to approval for the use of a calculator or extended time, accommodations level the learning and testing playing field for LD students.