From elementary school all the way through university, high pressure, test-taking time is looming upon us again. For the student receiving accommodations, that pressure is often multiplied and complicated, both by remarks by others and from doubts within themselves.

Testing sign“It’s not fair.” Students with accommodations hear this from classmates over and over and over, directly, by overhearing and by others’ standoffish behavior. The thing is, it IS fair. Would it be fair for someone in need of glasses, leg braces or vital medication to be deprived of them in the name of fairness? Of course not. These accommodations are merely to even out the playing field.

Some parents and teachers are still Old School, and while this is certainly a legitimate way of going about things, it is vital that all parties involved understand that having extra time, verbal answers, etc. is as much a necessity to students that need it as glasses are to an individual with low vision or a hearing aid is to someone hard of hearing. This is not unfair in anyway. Quite the opposite – it is unfair to leave these students without their vital tools to success.

Accommodations fall into a few main categories, but circumstances are individual, as per the testing each student has gone through to determine individual needs and eligibility.

HourglassTime This can be either a longer time in which to finish the test, permission to take breaks during the test, or a combination of both.

Assistance Assistance comes in the form of a reader, a scribe and/or an interpreter.

Computer equipment Some tests are given by computer. For these, a trackball, special keyboard and screen magnification are all accommodations that may be available.

Again, the test-taker will be well aware of what will be available to him or her ahead of time, as per prior evaluations. If you feel the accommodations you or your student are to receive are not appropriate, there is an appeals process to go through.

Wishing you the greatest of success!

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