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Assessment Accommodations


Accommodations are practices and procedures that provide equitable access during instruction and assessment for students who have a documented need, including students with a disability.  They “level the playing field” for all students by providing an opportunity to access comprehensible material, without providing an unfair advantage to any student.  Providing an accommodation for the sole purpose of increasing test scores is not ethical.  Accommodations documented in a student’s current formal educational plan must be provided on all school and district assessments.  Furthermore, accommodations used for assessment must be used routinely in instruction and evaluated periodically for effectiveness.  

The stipulations for providing an accommodation are:

  • The determination of need for a student must be made on an individual basis

  • Accommodations are documented in a formal plan

  • Accommodations are reviewed and documentation of accommodations effectiveness  exists

  • The accommodation is routinely use for both instruction and assessment according to the guidelines set forth in CDE endorsed accommodation manuals

Formal plans include:

  • English Language Learner Plan (ELL) – developed for students who have a native or home language other than English

  • Individualized Educational Program (IEP) – developed for students eligible to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)

  • Section 504 Plan (504) – developed for students who are served under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Formal educational plans must be:

  • Based on what the student needs to access instruction and assessment

  • Formally documented in writing

  • Developed by an educational team

  • Revisited annually

  • Include signatures of the educational team and parent indicating attendance and agreement

Schools must ensure and monitor the appropriate use of accommodations.  School Assessment Coordinators in conjunction with School Accommodation Coordinators are required to keep a current list of accommodations used in their schools.  A district Building Assessment Accommodation spreadsheet is provided by the District Assessment Office to facilitate this process.  

The Colorado Department of Education provides guidelines for the use of student accommodations on state assessments.  As Colorado transitions to the new online assessments, new direction will be provided around appropriate accommodations for technology based assessments.  Accommodation manuals endorsed by CDE are posted on the PCS District Assessment Intranet site and should be referenced for specific details.