Accommodations vs. Modifications

Robert clarifies the difference between two key words in education. We would all do well to have these terms ready in our minds for administrators/parents or whoever else wants to know. Thank you Robert:

I’m not a resource specialist, but our staff has done a good job of working with us to be able to work with students and parents in making accommodations and modifications for our special ed students.

As they explained it to us, an accommodation does not change the standard but helps the student achieve it. A modification changes the standard. So, if mom is asking that her son not be graded according to the class rubric, she is asking for a modification, not an accommodation. The consequences of that are more far reaching. Since an accommodation does not change the standard, the student gets credit for level of mastery. Because a modification changes the standard, that may result in the student’s not receiving college prep credit for the course (at least in California). Does mom really want to jeopardize her son’s college prep work by asking for a modification?

In addition to the signal, another accommodation might be to allow the student to have something in his hands to write on. Whenever he feels the need to blurt, he writes the comment on a white board or piece of paper instead. My suggestion would be a white board that he could then erase. Somehow that seems more substantive than a sheet of paper. You would have to know the student to know if this would be appropriate and workable. (After all, this is an individualized plan.)

The point is, these accommodations help him meet the standard; they do not change the standard.

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1 thought on “Accommodations vs. Modifications”

  1. On accomodations, Robert says, “In addition to the signal, another accommodation might be to allow the student to have something in his hands to write on. Whenever he feels the need to blurt, he writes the comment on a white board or piece of paper instead. My suggestion would be a white board that he could then erase.”

    Yes! I need to do this. Thanks Robert.

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