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Instructional Accommodations

Instructional accommodations are one means by which schools can help students with disabilities access grade level standards. They are supports to help a student achieve a standard. Accommodations change how students learn within the framework of the CCSS, but do not change what students learn.

The Council of Chief State School Officers provides advice on the selection and use of instructional accommodations in their Accessibility Manual. In it, they delineate a 5 step decision making process to assist in developing frameworks that ensure accessibility. Additionally, the CCSSO provide the following student level questions that would be useful for IEP teams to consider in planning for accommodations (2016, p. 37):

  1. What accessibility supports are used by the student during instruction and assessments?
  2. What are the results of classroom assignments and assessments when accessibility supports are used versus when they are not used? If a student did not meet the expected level of performance, is it due to not having access to the necessary instruction, not receiving the accessibility supports, or using accessibility supports that were ineffective?
  3. What is the student’s perception of how well the accessibility support worked?
  4. What combinations of accessibility supports seem to be effective?
  5. What are the difficulties encountered in the use of accessibility supports?
  6. What are the perceptions of teachers and others about how the accessibility support appears to be working?
  7. How have the characteristics of the students changed over time to warrant a plan or accessibility support change?

It is important that the IEP team consider the instructional accommodations that are appropriate for a student at least annually. In that discussion, the team should plan for the accommodation's use, including:

  1. Any instruction that may need to be provided to the student to make effective use of the accommodation (e.g., does a student need to be taught to use an assistive device?);
  2. How the team can ensure the accommodation is provided as intended; and
  3. How the team can measure whether use of the accommodation is effective.

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