The purpose of IEP accommodations/modifications is to provide supports in relation to a student’s disability in order to promote student success in appropriately selected courses. An appropriately selected course is one that a student has the entry level thinking skills and language skills but may not have all the performance skills necessary to complete the course successfully.
Teachers and parents are often unclear about the difference between an accommodation and a modification. The general rule is this: If a student is being held to and assessed on the same number and level of curricula standards, an accommodation can be made. If the level of assistance provided changes the standards assessed via evaluation or homework completion, it is a modification.
Students with accommodations written in their IEP are encouraged to use them in their courses. However, students do not always take full advantage of their accommodations and occasionally choose not to use them. This may adversely affect their academic success in some courses. Contact the case manager if there are questions about how to effectively implement these supports. Students who receive accommodations are graded the same as other students in the course.
If students receive modifications; a modified grade will be issued. Necessary paperwork has to be signed by parents, teachers, a supervisor and guidance counselor in order to change to a modified grade. Each modified grade is student specific. The team will develop a grading system that is best for the student. Modified grades are recorded on the transcript and it is important to note that some colleges do not accept modified grades.
Despite the efforts of the student’s case manager, a student may fail a course. This may happen for a variety of reasons:
- The student may not fully utilize IEP accommodations
- The student may not utilize their tutorial period productively, apply effective study skills, and/or complete homework
- The course itself may be challenging for the student, or the student may have taken the course against the advice of his/her guidance counselor
Many special education students have testing accommodations written in their IEP. These accommodations may require an arrangement of a separate classroom or for another teacher to proctor the exam. Students are directed to give their general education teacher and case manager, at least, one day notice before a test so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Many general education teachers will provide testing accommodations, especially extended time, in their own classrooms. This is preferable to students taking their tests in an alternate location because the teacher is available to answer any questions. General education teachers providing testing accommodations in their classroom are in compliance with the IEP.
Many students who have accommodations on their IEP apply to receive accommodations on standardized testing such as the ACT or SAT. This application process begins many months in advance; therefore, if your child is signing up to take a state test, please notify the case manager if you wish to apply for accommodations.
A great deal of time is necessary to coordinate classrooms, teachers, tests, and accommodations during the final exam period. In order to meet the requirements of administering many different exams to students who are eligible for testing accommodations within the resource room, students will be directed two weeks prior to final exams to sign up for a time in the Tutorial room to take each of their exams.