Do We Over Accommodate? Teachers Debate Accommodations & Modifications

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December 4 , 2007

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 414
Subscribers: 54,873

In This Issue:

If Teachers Over Accommodate, Do Students Under Perform?

Must a Teacher Make Modifications?

How Does Differentiating Instruction Level the Playing Field?

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starMore Resources from Wrightslaw

School Accommodations & Modifications
Are Modifications Unfair to Other Children?
ADA: Accommodations & Modifications
What You Need to Know about IDEA 2004

Accommodations on High Stakes Tests


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Pete and Pam Wright
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Deltaville, VA 23043



Copyright 2007, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

A pretty hot topic for teachers, schools, and parents - providing accommodations and modifications for children with disabilities. We receive questions and differing opinions every week.

Some teachers say they don't favor modifications, because they are "unfair." Some feel if they let students get by with not doing homework or classwork, they will accept accommodations rather than working to their potential.

Others assert that teachers must modify instruction to meet individual needs.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate we let the teachers debate. We'll share their questions, opinions, and emails with you.

Please don't hesitate to share this issue with other families, teachers or professionals.
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If Teachers Over Accommodate, Do Students Under Perform?

"If the child would do his homework and classwork, he wouldn't need accommodations," says a charter school teacher.

When the Special Education Director asked her to modify lessons to accommodate students, read her response in Do We Over Accommodate? Teachers Debate Accommodations and Modifications.

Read this article and see if you agree that teachers are training children to under perform when they accommodate students based on their disabilities.

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Must Teachers Make Modifications?

Here's a different position in this teachers' debate.

Another teacher asks these questions...

  • Should a teacher modify instruction to meet individual needs?
  • Does each child have a right to achieve successful literacy and mathematical competency?
  • Does every teacher bear the burden of ensuring that no child is left behind?

This teacher answers with a resounding "Yes."

Of course teachers must make modifications.

"Not only is differentiated instruction the best way to meet a child's individual needs," she says it is also a right of that child, required by Department of Education regulations.

Where would you stand in this debate?

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How Does Differentiating Instruction Level the Playing Field?

"I'm not sure why some teachers believe that differentiating instruction to help a child learn is somehow "unfair" to other kids who don't need that particular assistance," says Pam Wright.

In Do We Over Accommodate? Teachers Debate Accommodations and Modifications, she answers these questions.

  • When may a child have accommodations?
  • What accommodations are appropriate?
  • Must a teacher always provide accommodations?
  • Are there circumstances when providing accommodations that may lead to problems?

When people with disabilities do not receive accommodations, the tests they take often measure the impact of their disabilities, not what they know.

Read Pete's answer to a teacher's question - and learn his "big gripe" about special education in Must Teachers Provide Accommodations & Modifications in the Child's IEP?

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