Accommodation Breakdown: Limited Time Testing

This accommodation addresses the amount of time a student will be tested.

As always, the needs of the student dictate the accommodation, so this accommodation in particular will look different from student to student.

For example, a student who has convergence insufficiency might struggle with headaches and eye fatigue, which are symptoms of convergence insufficiency. This student might have any of the following accommodations:

  • Student will not test more the 1.5 hours at a time. If there are multiple assessments in one day, a break of 1.5 hours must occur between each assessment.
  • Student will not test more than 1.5 hours a day.
  • Student will receive 15-minute break between every 45 minutes of testing.

In this example, because slow reading is a well-known partner of convergence insufficiency, the accommodation may need to address types of tests, too. Assessments that are heavy on reading will be more difficult than shorter multiple- choice tests. The slow reading will eat up the time afforded, which will make the testing even longer that day or over a period of days. An accommodation that takes the test format into consideration might be:

  • For assessments requiring long passages of reading (at least one full page), student will take 15-minute breaks after reading each passage and answering the related questions. Teacher will limit the number of questions per passage to 3 questions that assess mastery of knowledge.

When developing this accommodation, remember to define each term, specifically "testing". In the article "Accommodation Breakdown: Testing to Completion", I touched base on the importance of this, while pulling from personal experiences that led to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) finding Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in noncompliance.

In your world, the word testing, might be defined as when your child is evaluated on any assessment, whether it is graded or not graded.

This would include end-of-chapter tests, quizzes, semester exams, end-of-year state evaluations, and so on.

After all, we don’t say a student is quizzing or examining or evaluating or assessmenting.

We say a student is testing.

Therefore, testing applies to whatever assessment is being provided.

Yet, two years in a row I ran into teachers who didn’t think quizzes or ungraded assessments were included in this accommodation, which led to the accommodation of Testing to Completion and Small Group Testing not being provided. (Please read “The Language of IEPs & 504s: Just When You Thought You Knew the Definition of “Assessment”, Wrong Again” for more on this.

If your child needs this accommodation, make sure it is applied to state exams, too.

When your child reaches high school, you'll want to ensure this accommodation is written and documented well in advance, so your child can access it during college entrance and any other exams your child will face after high school (but for which the child needs to apply for and/or take during high school).

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