Accommodations are supports that are provided to a child throughout the school day (for both instruction and assessment) that do not significantly alter what is being taught or how he/she participates in school activities. Accommodations are intended to “level the playing field” by reducing or even eliminating the effects of a student's disability. They are not designed to confer any unfair advantage to the student who uses and/or receives them.
Like other types of services provided to students with disabilities, the type, frequency, duration, and settings in which a child’s accommodations are delivered are individual determinations made by the IEP team or 504 team. Teams must think critically about selecting accommodations based on the student's individual needs and should also evaluate the effectiveness of accommodations provided.
Accommodations and modifications are not synonymous: accommodations do not alter the construct of what is being taught or measured during school activities. Modifications, on the other hand, actually change the amount or complexity of information the student is expected to learn or demonstrate during an assignment or assessment. Any modifications required by a student must also be discussed and documented by his/her IEP team.