Test Accommodations

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Tennessee’s approach to assessment is rooted in the core belief that all students are capable of making progress toward grade-level expectations.

Federal and state laws require students who attend public schools, including students with disabilities, to participate in annual testing in specific academic areas and grades. This requirement helps ensure that schools, districts, and states are held accountable for the achievement of all students. These laws also require students with disabilities (those individuals covered under an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504) to be provided with appropriate accommodations necessary to participate in these tests.

Typically, students should use the same or similar accommodations during state or districts tests as they would during classroom instruction and classroom tests. However, it is important to note that some accommodations are only for instruction and cannot be used on state or district assessments. All IEP/504 team members need to be familiar with state policies and guidelines regarding the use of accommodations on state assessments. Please see the Accommodations Guidebook for more information.

For guidance regarding alternate assessments for students with the most serve cognitive disabilities (represents about one percent of the public school student population), please visit the Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities webpage.


What is an accommodation?

Accommodations are provided to "level the playing field" in order to allow a student with a disability the same access to the material as a student without a disability. For example, many people wear contacts or eyeglasses to correct their vision. Eyeglasses and contacts are an accommodation that allows people with imperfect vision to accomplish many everyday activities. Simply because an individual wears eyeglasses or contacts doesn’t mean that he or she will perform perfectly on any given task. However, wearing eyeglasses or contacts  provides an individual with imperfect vision the same access to everyday tasks as those with perfect vision. Once the accommodations are in place for those who need it, we can assess how well a person does on the task (how proficient they are).

Accommodations do not change or modify the skill that is being tested. For example, using a calculator on items designed to measure math fluency would not be permitted for state or district testing because it would not result in a true measure of the student’s math fluency. The use of accommodations that invalidate the intended measurement does not give an accurate measure of the student’s skills and could result in an invalidation of test scores, which would count the student as non-proficient.

Accommodations are available only to students with a disability served under an Individual Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, or students classified as EL and only when the student requires the accommodation(s) to participate in the assessment meaningfully and appropriately. Accommodations are also available for students who have had a physical injury (e.g., broken hand or arm) that impairs their ability to independently respond


Administering TNReady Assessments with Testing Accommodations

Prior to the test, test administrators must know what accommodations each student will be using and how to administer them properly. Testing accommodations provided for one student may not impede or impact other students in the testing room. It is the responsibility of the test administrator to see that each student who qualifies for testing accommodations receive them while also ensuring that other students who do not receive accommodations are not affected.

Accommodations for Students with an Injury

Students with an injury (e.g., broken arm or hand), which would make it difficult to participate in an assessment, may use, as appropriate, any of the following accommodations.

Accommodation Description
Adult Transcription (A) An adult marks selected response items based on student answers provided orally or using gestures. An adult transfers student responses to the answer document
Assistive Technology (B)

Use of assistive technology for the writing response and/or other open response items. An adult must transfer the student’s responses exactly as written to the answer document. Any print copy must be shredded. Any electronic copy must be deleted. This accommodation also requires Adult Transcription.

Students may use the same assistive technologies to respond as they do during daily instruction.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities may use any of the accessibility features identified in advance and any of the following accommodations, as designated in their IEP or 504 Plan.

Accommodation Description
Adult Transcription (A) An adult transfers student responses to an answer document.
Assistive Technology (B)

Use of assistive technology for the writing response and/or other open response items. An adult must transfer the student’s responses exactly as written to the answer document. Any print copy must be shredded. Any electronic copy must be deleted. This accommodation also requires Adult Transcription.

Students may use the same assistive technologies to respond as they do during daily instruction.

Braille/Large Print Test Booklet Not available for field test.
Extended Time (C) Not to exceed double time. If a student has a need to exceed double time, please submit a Unique Accommodation Request.
Human Reader/Human Signer for ELA/Science (D)

The purpose of the human reader/human signer accommodation for the ELA/Literacy assessment is to provide access to printed or written texts for a very small number of students with print-related disabilities who would other be unable to participate in the assessment because their disability severely limits or prevents their ability to access printed text. Human Reader or Human Signer can be provided to students who have a severe deficit in vision, hearing or a print disability based on accommodation selection guidance.

Human Reader or Human Signer for the content area of science is an IEP team decision.

Visual Representations for Math (E) This accommodation may be used in place of scratch paper for students who typically use an abacus or manipulative such as cubes, tiles, rods, blocks, etc. This accommodation may not be used on the non-calculator sections of the assessment and is only applicable for students with a visual impairment.
Rest/Breaks (F) This allows for the student to take additional rest/breaks based on a need as outlined in a behavior plan, IEP, EL or medical plan at any time during the subpart. Each subpart must be completed within one test day. Required testing times may not be exceeded.
Unique Accommodation Request (G) This request process is provided to review any accommodation not listed for a student with an identified need. The accommodation may not invalidate or modify any intended test construct.
Accommodations for English Learners

Students who are not proficient in English, as determined by ACCESS for ELLs, may use, as appropriate, any of the accessibility features and any of the following accommodations. Students who are also in the T1 and T2 years are eligible to continue to receive EL accommodations.  Students whose parents have waived services are eligible to receive accommodations for ELs. As ELs gain English proficiency, their need for support may decrease. The language proficiency of the student should be taken into consideration when determining appropriate EL accommodations.

Accommodation Description
Extended Time (R) Not to exceed double time
Word-to-Word Dictionary (S) The student may use an approved bilingual, word-to-word dictionary. Dictionaries that include definitions, phrases, sentences, or pictures are not allowed. The student should be familiar with the dictionary they will use during testing. Students should be given ample time to complete the test using the accommodation. If no hard copy word-to-word dictionary can be found for a specific language, contact the Tennessee Department of Assessment for additional guidance.
Rest/Breaks (T) This allows for the student to take additional rest/breaks based on a need as outlined in a behavior plan, IEP, EL or medical plan at any time during the subpart. Each subpart must be completed within one test day. Required testing times may not be exceeded.
EL Excluded (U) EL students who are in their first year of enrollment in a U.S. school may be excluded from participation in the ELA and Social Studies/U.S. History assessments. First-year EL students are still required to participate in math and science assessments, however their math scores may be excluded from accountability.
Human Reader/Human Signer for Science (V) Any student identified as EL, T1 or T2 may have the Science content assessment read aloud per recommendations by the ESL team.

Note: Students may not be excluded from accountability calculations for more than one year.