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By Candace Cortiella, The Advocacy Institute
A: The greatest barriers include:
The accommodations that a student will need to participate in a state- or district-wide assessment should be determined by the student's IEP team (or Section 504 team) and clearly detailed within the IEP document. Parents should understand the implications of each accommodation, being sure that an accommodation will not invalidate the purpose of the assessment.
Students should have access to the same accommodations on high-stakes tests that they routinely use in classroom instruction and testing. States should not limit accommodations to some predetermined "list." In fact, research shows that increasing unrestricted accommodations increases students with disabilities' participation in state reading and math tests. Still, accommodations for students with learning disabilities continue to be a source of both confusion and contention. Development of policies and procedures regarding accommodations is uneven across states, and legal challenges continue to be brought on behalf of students who are being denied reasonable accommodations on high-stakes tests.
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