One of the most important parts of providing an education to students is ensuring that everyone is able to learn in the least restrictive possible environment. In many cases, this means altering the way that a student experiences his or her classes. If you’ve ever been to an IEP meeting, you may have heard the terms ‘accommodation’ and ‘modification’ thrown around – and it’s important that you understand the difference between the two.
Accommodations are adaptations used to ensure that students can learn the same materials as their peers. A common accommodation is, for example, ensuring that a student with poor eyesight is able to sit at the front of the classroom. It’s important to remember that accommodations won’t actually impact any of the material in the classroom – just the way that a student might interact with that material. Other examples include allowing students to record their notes instead of writing them down, allowing students extra time on standardized tests, or even allowing a student to leave class a few minutes early to get to his or her next class on time.
If an accommodation modifies how a student learns, a modification will alter what the student learns. Modifications are often used for students with specific learning abilities to help them keep pace with their peers while still remaining in an appropriate educational environment. A common modification might be cutting down the number of questions on a quiz for a student or having a lower page count requirement for a paper.