The Validity of Oral Accommodation in Testing

In recent years, educators and others responsible for large-scale assessments have sought to include more disabled students in testing programs. Fuller inclusion of students with disabilities in large-scale assessments is viewed as a necessary and positive move, not
only for the sake of equity and accessibility, but also as a means of improving the comparability of assessments among units, and over time. Accommodations—and alternative assessments for severely disabled students—are practices that encourage participation of students with disabilities in assessment and accountability systems. Test accommodations are already provided for some students taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and other large-scale state assessments.

This study examines the impact of oral presentation of a mathematics test on the performance of disabled and non-disabled students. It is an example of empirical research providing evidence for evaluating the validity and fairness of accommodations use. Both learning disabled and non-disabled students improved their performance under the accommodated conditions, although learning disabled students had greater gains. The presence of an effect for the regular classroom students suggests the possibility that irrelevant variance in the non-accommodated scores is overcome by the use of the accommodation for both groups of students.