Testers often ask the BJU Press Testing & Evaluation team how they can accommodate a student’s special needs. Here are some suggestions for educators who are working with children who have special needs.
There are several types of dyslexia, so it is wise to ask the child’s parents detailed questions. How severe is the child’s dyslexia? Has a physician or psychologist given any instructions? A diagnosis from a physician or psychologist should include instructions for testing and help you know how to accommodate that child’s dyslexia.
A good rule of thumb for children with ADD/ADHD would be “less is more.” The shorter the amount of time they are sitting, the longer their concentration will be. If a subtest is generally thirty minutes, split it into two fifteen-minute segments instead. This allows them a break to refocus before finishing the test. But be sure to let them know in advance that they will not be able return to questions they attempt before the break.
Other Accommodations & Tips
The more a student reads on his own, the better it reflects on his ability. Consider extending the time limits or allowing the student to read aloud.
Reading comprehension and vocabulary tests may not be administered orally since doing so changes them from a measure of reading ability to a measure of listening ability. When you return the test for scoring, please be sure to note any sections where reading assistance was given and specify the type/degree of assistance.
Extend Test Times
Test times may sometimes be extended by up to 50 percent. For example, a thirty-minute test may be given with a forty-five-minute testing time. Extending the testing time allows children to become accustomed to being timed while still having their needs accommodated. If you extend the testing time by more than 50 percent though, it is considered untimed and should be noted as such.
Keep in mind that the Stanford (10th edition) is already untimed. The math computation portion of the Iowa Tests® is designed as a speed drill. If time is an issue, it’s best to skip this optional section. Skipping it will not affect math totals or overall scores.
Choose the Right Level
Choose the test level that best matches the child’s actual curriculum level. Do not choose the test level for the grade level that the child should be working at. And if a child is working at multiple levels, you can match the test and grade levels by looking at his levels in the core subjects (reading, language, and math).
Select the Right Type
Achievement tests measure a student’s knowledge. Abilities tests measure a student’s reasoning skills for subjects. A combination test (combining achievement and abilities testing) can help you determine if a student is working to his potential. So select the type of test based on what you want to know about the child—his knowledge, his reasoning skills, or whether he’s reaching his potential.
You can also special order tests for visually or hearing-impaired children. If you’re interested in learning more about special needs testing, contact our Testing & Evaluation team at 800.845.5731.
What have you found to be helpful for testing children with special needs?