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ERIC Number: ED495886
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 75
Abstractor: ERIC
A Summary of Research on the Effects of Test Accommodations: 2002 through 2004. Technical Report 45
Johnstone, Christopher J.; Altman, Jason; Thurlow, Martha L.; Thompson, Sandra J.
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) requires the reporting of participation in assessments overall and by subgroup, including students with disabilities. As states and school districts strive to meet the goals for adequate yearly progress required by NCLB, the use of individual accommodations continues to be scrutinized for effectiveness, threats to test validity, and score comparability. This report summarizes 49 empirical research studies completed on test accommodations between 2002 and 2004, and provides direction in the design of critically needed future research on accommodations. NCEO found that studies during this three-year period had the following characteristics: (1) Purpose: The primary purpose of the 2002-2004 accommodations research was to determine the effects of accommodations use on the large-scale test scores of students with disabilities; (2) Types of assessment, content areas, and accommodations: The majority of the studies tested students using norm-referenced or criterion-referenced tests, on math or reading/language arts; (3) Participants: Equal numbers of research studies involved between 1-100 participants, 100-1,000 participants, and more than 1,000 participants of multiple age categories. Participants were varying percentages of students without disabilities and students with disabilities. Students with learning disabilities were studied most frequently among students who receive special education services; (4) Findings: Findings shared no common theme, with various accommodations shown to have both a positive and non-positive effect on scores. Individual accommodations showed either differential item functioning or no differential item functioning depending on the study. The lack of consistent findings points to a need for further research; and (5) Limitations: Most often, authors noted that studies were too narrow in scope, involved a small sample size, or provided confounding factors. These limitations and other considerations led researchers to recommend investigating the characteristics of accommodations in further detail. Important overall observations from the NCEO analysis include a need in future research for a clear definition of the constructs tested, a reduction in confounding factors, increased study of institutional factors affecting accommodations judgment, and exploration of the desirability and perceived usefulness of accommodations by students themselves. Future research should focus on improvement in these areas but also on the positive effects of field-testing potential items in accommodated formats in addition to standard formats. The following are appended: (1) Summary of Research Purpose; (2) Summary of Type of Assessment; (3) Subject Area Studied (by Author); (4) Type of Accommodation Studied (by Author); (5) Summary of Participants; (6) Summary of Research Results; (7) Summary of Limitations Cited by Researchers; and (8) Summary of Suggestions for Future Research (as recommended by authors). (Contains 13 tables.)
National Center on Educational Outcomes. University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.; Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC.; National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Alexandria, VA.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A