Click on a main topic to search for your question:
- What is an accommodation?
- Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
- Accommodations for English Language Learners (ELL)
- Accommodations for ELLs with Disabilities
- Allowable Test Practices for ALL students
- Accommodations for Students in Unique Circumstances
This accommodations web page should be useful and informative when making decisions about assessment accommodations for students. Although the accommodations allowed on assessments have not changed much, there is a new format to the assessment accommodations matrix. There are now three separate assessment matrices: Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Accommodations for English Language Learners, and Allowable Test Practices for ALL Students. Please review these carefully when making accommodations decisions. The matrices posted on this page are the most current versions and should replace any previous versions. These matrices will not change for the school year 2013-14. New accommodations in the matrices are denoted by this symbol:
DPI has developed two draft documents that are intended to provide support in selecting, administering, and evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations used by students with disabilities and/or students who are English language learners. The Wisconsin Accommodations Guide for Students with Disabilities is available at: http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_hmnew and the Wisconsin Accommodations Guide for English Language Learners can be found at: http://ell.dpi.wi.gov/ell_documents-at-a-glance.
What is an Accommodation?
Accommodations are practices and procedures that provide equitable access to grade-level content. Accommodations are intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of a student’s disability or level of language acquisition; they do not reduce learning expectations. The accommodations provided to a student must be the same for classroom instruction, classroom assessments, and district and state assessments. It is critical to note, that although some accommodations may be appropriate for instructional use, they may not be appropriate for use on a standardized assessment. Please note the following distinctions:
- Accommodations are for students with disabilities and English Language Learners; they do not change the content being assessed or the skill level. Examples of accommodations include a large-print test or using a scribe to record student answers.
- Allowable test practices are for all students, as needed, and are now described in a separate matrix; they do not alter the content being tested. Examples of allowable test practices include using color overlays or testing in a distraction-free location.
- Modifications do change what is being assessed and are not allowed for any student during Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) testing. Examples of modifications include reducing the number of answer choices or shortening the length of the test.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
All students are required to participate in WSAS in either all of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) or the all of the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD), not parts of both. There are no exemptions or waivers for students with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan teams determine the appropriate manner for student with disabilities to participate in statewide assessment; teams must document which test each student will participate in and which accommodations (if any) the student should be given. Accommodations for students with disabilities are provided in the following areas:
- Test direction accommodations are for clarification of directions and are separate from accommodations for test items. (Examples: Sign language for directions, explain or clarify directions, etc.)
- Presentation accommodations allow an assessment to be given to a student in a different format or mode of access that may be auditory, multi-sensory, tactile, or visual. (Examples: Large-print, audio recording, Braille, etc.)
- Response accommodations allow a student to respond to each test item or organize work using an assistive device. (Examples: Student responds orally to a scribe who documents the student’s answers, use of a graphic organizer, etc.)
- Setting accommodations allow a student to take an assessment in a different location or environment than the rest of his or her class. (Examples: Individual testing, student stands or moves during testing, etc.)
- Timing and scheduling accommodations increase the allowable length of time to complete an assessment or change the way the time is organized. (Examples: Extra time, testing across multiple days, etc.)
Note: Students with disabilities may also use the allowable test practices. When these test practices are used by a student with a disability, they must be documented in the section for statewide testing on the student’s IEP or 504 Plan.
Accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs)
Students identified as ELL must take the accountability assessments (WKCE or WAA-SwD) required under Title I. An exception to this rule applies to ELLs who recently arrived to the US. Recently arrived refers to a student that has attended a U.S. school for less than 12 months and has a language proficiency level of 1 or 2 as determined by ACCESS for ELLs® or the W-APT screener. A recently arrived ELL may be exempt from one required administration of the state’s reading assessment as the ACCESS for ELL® serves as meeting the test participation requirement for that first year. Recently arrived students must participate in all other content areasand are eligible to receive accommodations. Newly arrive status should be coded on the inside front cover of the student's test book and there is information on this in the Test Administration Manuals, Step 7, Special Status (Page 12-13). Accommodations must be entered on the back cover of the students test book.
ELLs are in the process of acquiring English, therefore ELLs are eligible to receive accommodations that enable students to demonstrate what they know and can do to meet content area standards. Effective accommodations for ELLs address the unique linguistics and socio-cultural needs of the students without altering the measurement properties of the test. Accommodations do not lower expectations for student learning or change the content or skill level being assessed. For more information on language assessments for ELLs see http://oea.dpi.wi.gov/oea_ells
A collaborative dialogue between ESL teachers, general education teachers and parents and families can help determine what is best for the individual student based upon the guidelines listed below and the instruction that that student is receiving at the classroom level. When making decisions about the appropriate accommodations for an individual student, the following criteria should be considered:
- Current English language proficiency level as determined by ACCESS for ELLs®
- Literacy in the home language and in English
- Opportunity to learn the content areas assessed
- The primary language of instruction in the content areas
- Experience or length of time in U.S. schools
- Degree of familiarity with using the accommodation in instruction and assessment
- Grade level
- Other school or district-level related data
Based upon the work of the Center for Equity and Excellence in Education at George Washington University (GW-CEEE), the accommodations matrix for English language learners is organized into categories that identify accommodations for direct linguistic support in English, direct linguistic support in the student’s native language, and indirect linguistic support.
- Direct Linguistic Support in English
- English Language Reference Material: English support materials, not intended to define words or to provide correct response for student (Example: Provide spelling assistance).
- Scripted Oral English: Reading aloud and repeating test items or directions verbatim from test book (Example: Read mathematics items to student in English).
- Clarification in English: Unscripted oral explanation of test considered potentially difficult for ELLs to access (Example: Simplify, explain, or clarify directions).
- Oral Response: Student answers test items orally in English (Example: Student indicates response in English orally to a scribe).
- Direct Linguistic Support in the Student’s Native Language
- Dual Language Reference Material: Support material in English and native language, not intended to define words or provide answers for student (Example: Bilingual word-to-word—no definition—translation on mathematics test).
- Written Translation: Professionally translated written accommodation scripts provided to student (Example: Qualified translator provided written translation of test items into student’s native language on mathematics test).
- Scripted Oral Translation—Only DPI-Provided Scripts: Reading aloud professionally translated, DPI-provided scripts of test items and/or directions (Example: Read mathematics test items loud using DPI-provided Spanish script).
- Sight Translation—Languages other than Spanish: Unscripted oral translation of test items and/or directions into student’s native language (Example: Interpret test passages and questions into student’s native language).
- Student Response in Native Language: Student responds in his/her native language (Example: Student responds orally in his/her native language; translator translates student response into English, and then scribes into scorable test book for reading test).
- Indirect Linguistic Support
- Extra Time
Note: ELLs may also use the allowable test practices, as needed.
Accommodations for ELLs with Disabilities
Accommodations providing linguistic support may be combined with accommodations for students with disabilities. Please refer to both matrices; accommodations must be documented in the IEP or 504 Plan in the section for statewide assessments.
Allowable Test Practices for ALL Students
General test taking practices are such as adaptive furniture, small group testing, and breaks may be provided to all students who need them, including general education students. For student with disabilities, these test practices must be documented in a current IEP or 504 Plan in the section for statewide assessment.
Accommodations for Students in Unique Circumstances
Some students who do not have an IEP or 504 plan, due to unique circumstances at the time of testing, may be able to demonstrate their learning more accurately through the use of accommodations on an as needed basis only. In these unique cases, please follow the guidelines outlined in the matrix for Students with Disabilities; call DPI’s Office of Educational Accountability with any questions at (608) 267-1072. Examples of unique circumstances:
- A student with a broken arm may need a scribe or be able to use a word processor to record responses.
- A student who forgot to wear eyeglasses may need a visual magnification device.
Request for Accommodations
Any accommodation not listed on a matrix must be submitted to DPI for approval, as it may represent a modification which changes the skill being measured.
- All requests for an additional accommodation must be made to DPI at least two weeks before the test administration window begins, by completing and submitting the Request for Accommodation Form located at http://oea.dpi.wi.gov/oea_dacforms.
- Requests will be reviewed by a committee to determine whether the request can be approved; approval or non-approval will be returned via fax or email.