Effects of Testing Accommodations on Math and Reading Scores: An Experimental Analysis of the Performance of Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Students With and Without Disabilities

WCER Working Paper No. 2003-7

Ryan J. Kettler, Bradley C. Niebling, Andrew A. Mroch, Elizabeth S. Feldman, and Markeda L. Newell

June 2003, 19 pp.

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of testing accommodations on the mathematics and reading test scores of a sample of 119 fourth graders and 78 eighth graders. The sample included 49 fourth-grade students diagnosed with a disability and 39 eighth-grade students diagnosed with a disability. This study featured a 2 (Disability Status) x 2 (Testing Condition) x 2 (Grade) x 2 (Test Content Area) x 2 (Order) mixed design. All students were tested under two conditions (i.e., accommodated or nonaccommodated) on equivalent forms of research editions of mathematics and reading tests from a popular achievement test used in many statewide assessment systems. Testing conditions were randomized to control for potential order effects. Results indicate that fourth-grade students with disabilities (SWD) benefited from testing accommodations more than students without disabilities (SWOD), and this benefit was greater on the reading tests (effect size for SWD = .42, effect size for SWOD = .13) than on the mathematics tests (effect size for SWD = .46, effect size for SWOD = .27). Furthermore, a higher percentage of SWDs moved up at least one proficiency level than SWODs. Both SWDs and SWODs in eighth grade gained slight benefits from the testing accommodations. More eighth-grade SWDs moved up at least one proficiency level on the reading tests, but more SWODs moved up at least one proficiency level on the math tests. The article discusses implications of these results, limitations of the current study, and directions for future research on testing accommodations.

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keywords: Accommodation; Disability; Test; Validity; Standard