Should Technology Be Used As A Test Accommodation? Answered
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Yes! When taking and passing the tests necessary to participate in the general education curriculum, people with disabilities frequently need testing accommodations. They need to be given accommodations, some of which include extra time, a quiet place, adaptive technology, readers, scribes, or different test formats. Continue reading if you want to know more about Should Technology Be Used As A Test Accommodation?
Should Technology Be Used As A Test Accommodation?
Several difficulties arise during the evaluation season. Organizing the practicalities of testing accommodations for students with impairments is not the least. Accessing accommodations can be difficult for staff members who provide accommodations for testing.
Students traverse systems different from the accommodations they regularly use daily; these procedures can be frustrating for them and frequently increase their cognitive burden.
Additionally, it may be challenging to pinpoint the best way to increase test-taker accessibility. The Public Schools of Brookline in Brookline, Massachusetts, employs Paul Auger as an assistive technology specialist. He recalls problems with earlier procedures.
The Brookline staff would set up two separate PCs, one with the assessment itself and the other where the student could input responses to test questions into a Google Doc using their word prediction if a student had a word prediction accommodation. An administrator had to type the student’s response verbatim into the test once they had finished responding to a question.
What Are Testing Accommodations?
Testing accommodations, to put it simply, are procedures implemented to make sure a student can successfully demonstrate their understanding of the material being tested on. They are intended to remove obstacles that prevent students from demonstrating their knowledge.
For instance, a dyslexic student taking a reading comprehension test might employ text-to-speech to overcome fluency and decoding difficulties. This is so that their comprehension of the offered reading content can be tested rather than their ability to decode, which may be hampered by dyslexia.
In this instance, listening to passages read aloud aids in separating the skill being assessed (reading comprehension) from fluency or decoding, which could otherwise negatively impact the testing construct.
To accommodate students with disabilities during testing, common accommodations include extra time, speech-to-text, word prediction, and screen-reading software. Access to testing accommodations generally gets better all the time, which is quite encouraging. For instance, state-mandated tests are now digital, and most provide various accommodations, such as read-aloud options.
Other varieties of integrated lodging are also gaining popularity. For instance, because of a recent regulation change in Massachusetts, school districts like Brookline are no longer required to provide kids with word prediction accommodations with two different devices. The staff will no longer need to enter a student’s responses into the test manually, and children with impairments can now take their assessments with their peers.
This is so that students eligible for a word-prediction accommodation can use Co:word-prediction Writer’s embedded right into the test in kiosk mode in Massachusetts and many other states. Want to make testing accommodations for your students and employees more convenient and accessible? Try the following, perhaps:
Be A Mythbuster
Unfortunately, there is a pervasive misconception that accommodations cheat or provide unfair benefits. However, making adjustments for students who need them is just as crucial to their academic success as wearing glasses is for a student who is blind.
With the use of glasses, visually impaired students may read what they are reading and writing, see the board, and participate completely in class. Using specialist word prediction tools like Co: Writer to complete assignments is common among students with learning disabilities that affect their writing ability, such as dysgraphia.
Dysgraphia affects not only handwriting but also the mental processes that enable people to convert their ideas into written words. Thanks to specialized word prediction technology, their ideas are better connected to the page. Children who require accommodations in their daily lives must access the same resources during assessments.
Text-to-speech programs like Snap&Read enable kids with reading difficulties like dyslexia to access instructional material. According to data from the uPAR accommodations screening tool, 60% of pupils who read below grade level can still grasp at or above grade level with an accommodation.
Consider Physical Needs & The Environment
Studying on a laptop while wearing a pink shirt Setting up students for a great test-taking experience and ensuring they can do their best work with their accommodations requires putting their physical needs first. It can be helpful to lessen noisy distractions, consider all the tools and equipment that assist each kid regularly, and ensure that pupils aren’t too hot or cold.
Establish Continuity Of Tools
What specific technological tools does each of your students utilize every day? Is it possible to provide those same tools for the evaluation while adhering to your particular state’s regulations?
Is it possible to use the same technology a student is accustomed to on the test if necessary? For instance, in jurisdictions where the law permits it, both Co: Writer and Read&Write offer word prediction in Pearson’s TestNav and other state exams. State regulations automatically constrain features.
Share Stories With Policymakers
Jan points out that it can be beneficial to tell legislators’ personal experiences regarding students with disabilities. It’s tough to comprehend the distinction that various accommodations can make without first-hand experience.
Practice Test Taking With Accommodations In Place
Practice exams allow students to get comfortable using their accommodations in a setting they may not be as familiar with. Doing the same can be advantageous for your kids; Test-taking is made easier with embedded accommodations, and test results more properly represent student understanding.
Most students now use one-to-one Chromebooks for tests, and several accommodations including text-to-speech are now included. We don’t take away students’ glasses when they take a test, so test-taking with accommodations in hand better depicts how students utilize accommodations to access learning throughout the year.
Now that more states are introducing further accommodations, Illinois has joined Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Mexico in 2022 as the newest state to provide embedded word prediction, facilitating writing accommodations for test-takers.
According to Paul from Brookline, implementing embedded word prediction simplified things for both staff and students. The day when embedded accommodations for students with disabilities are the norm is drawing closer, but it will require all of our voices to get us there.
What Are Examples Of Accommodations?
Here are a few examples of accommodations:
- sign language interpreters for deaf students;
- computer-based text-to-speech systems for children with dyslexia or visual impairments;
- more time for kids who have difficulties with their fine motor skills, vision, or learning.
Let’s conclude all about Should Technology Be Used As A Test Accommodation? Nearly all states are creating new tests due to the adoption of NCLB. Since many children currently learn using computers, several states are exploring using computer-based testing as part of this process. Computer-based testing has already started to be designed and implemented in several states.
Without the need for further special accommodations, the validity of test results can be increased for many students, including pupils who are learning English and those who have disabilities, by including numerous accessibility elements in computer-based examinations.
However, even though most students can access the items on globally designed exams, some unique accommodations will still be necessary, and computer-based testing must be compatible with these accommodations.
If paper/pencil tests are merely reproduced on screen without any flexibility, students with disabilities will be at a significant disadvantage. Many students will still be required to take exams on paper and pencil until the issues surrounding graphic user interfaces versus text-based ones are thought through and resolved.
This may reduce the comparability of results, increase administrative time, and increase the risk of mistakes when the test administrator transfers paper and pencil responses to a computer for scoring.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Accommodation test?
Testing accommodations are modifications to the typical testing setting and supplementary aids and services2 that enable people with disabilities to exhibit their genuine aptitude or accomplishment level on standardized tests or other high-stakes assessments.
What are the four types of accommodations?
The four common areas for accommodations are presentation, reaction, setting, timing, and scheduling.
What are some examples of modifications?
Typically, a modification entails altering the student’s instruction or expectations. An example of a change is making an assignment simpler so that the student does not put in the same effort as other students. A modification known as an accommodation aids a student in overcoming or navigating their impairment.
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