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Seven Accommodations for the Test Environment

>Here's a list of simple classroom accommodations you and your child's teacher can work together to put in place.

1. Time Extensions. This accommodation is pretty self-explanatory. Kids get up to time-and-a-half on tests, and in some cases, they get unlimited time. This is great for kids who need more time to process information, have a slower reading rate, or who need time to go back over and edit their writing. One warning: This accommodation is not right for every student. Many ADHD students find that extended time is counterproductive -- the time pressure actually helps them to focus.

2. Readers. Many students who are slow readers or auditory processors have their tests read to them. A teacher may read the exam to them, or the student works with a Kurzweil machine that reads text. Many colleges and university provide both of these accommodations.

3. Technical Assistance. The use of computers, spell-checkers, reading machines, or voice-activated software are good accommodations for kids whose minds are quicker than their pens.

4. Oral Exams. With this accommodation, both the questions and the answers are given orally. This accommodation works well for highly verbal kids.

5. Quiet Room. This accommodation is for students who spend the first 20 minutes of a test watching the pens click and listening to the other kids shuffle their papers before they even glance at their exam. However, this will not work for all kids -- some find that they need white noise in the background to focus. In that event, try placing a fan or a white noise machine in the room.

6. Breaks. This accommodation should be used in tandem with a time extension. If a kid is going to sit through a test that takes her twice as long, then she deserves a few breaks.

7. Portfolio-Based Assessment. Many parents and students are asking schools to drop their standardized testing methods in favor of a model that embraces the student as a whole. Rather than taking traditional tests, your child creates a portfolio of his work throughout the semester or school year, representing different mediums like writing, art work, and oral presentations.

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