chapter  16
27 Pages

Determining When Test Alterations Are Valid Accommodations or Modifications for Large-Scale Assessment: Keith Hollenbeck

The 1997 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’97)

contain powerful declarations pertaining to the participation of students with disabilities

in large-scale testing. The reauthorized legislation mandated that “Children with

disabilities are included in general state and district-wide assessment programs with

appropriate accommodations where necessary” (IDEA, Section 612 (a)(17)(A). Although

IDEA ’97 requires participation, the “IDEA legislation and regulations provide little

guidance on the particulars of assessment accommodations for students with disabilities”

(Henry, 1999, p. 32). Henry concluded that “the IDEA legislation and regulations contain

a key word when referencing accommodation and modification: appropriate. But

language defining just what is or is not appropriate is absent and we are left to use

professional judgment as to what constitutes good practice” (p. 33). Besides IDEA ‘97,

multiple legal mandates exist that decree participation of students with disabilities in

standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment with appropriate

accommodations and modifications. For an elegant discussion of those legal mandates,

see Phillips’ chapter (chap. 6) in this volume.