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Anne:  Hi, I have been reeling about this for weeks. WHERE can I find what constitutes as a modification vs. accommodation when it comes to A – G coursework. I was told by one school district that allowing retakes on exams is NOT a modification. However, I was also informed by a more prestigious district that any retakes would in fact, YES, be considered a modification and therefore inappropriate. Which one is it?? I need help because I am fighting to write appropriate and supportive IEP’s for my students and do not feel I am getting backed by those in charge.

  1. Can I also ask for clarification along this same line??
    I just got this email regarding modifications, that my child has had since 1st grade, NOW in 6th at new school. I asked for decreased number of problems for math assignments / testing.

    Hi XXX,

    I spoke with our Director of Counseling, XXXX, and reducing the number of problems on assignments or assessments is not an option for a 504 plan because it becomes a modification of work rather than an accommodation. This is only an option for students on IEPs. We would be able to add an accommodation for 50% extra time on math tests, which should give her enough time to finish.


    Is this true?? Thank you so much!!

  2. A modification changes WHAT the student is expected to learn. An accommodation keeps the standard of what the student is supposed to learn, but changes HOW a student demonstrates their knowledge on the same standards applied to everyone else.

    So, by giving a student additional tries to take an exam you are not altering WHAT they are required to know–so allowing retakes is not a modification.

    Allowing retakes on the same exam that everyone else takes (and requiring the student to demonstrate knowledge of all the same content) would be an accommodation.Search the Wrightslaw website for “accommodations and modifications” and you’ll find much information on this topic. To start you off, here is one document that can be found on the website:

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