Are Testing Accommodations Unjust?
In Testing Accommodations for Students With Disabilities: Research-Based Practice, Benjamin J. Lovett and Lawrence J. Lewandowski review current theory and research and offer guidelines for deciding when testing accommodations are appropriate for a student with disabilities. Reviewers Robert Furey and Colleen Furey point out that although there is general consensus on the idea of academic testing accommodations for students with disabilities, there is ample complexity in implementing accommodations fairly. Examples offered by the reviewers include nondisabled students intent on “gaming the system” (Hinshaw & Scheffler, 2014, p. 96) seeking accommodations; accommodations that actually “overaccommodate” (Lovett & Lewandowski, 2015, p. 113) thereby giving disabled students unfair advantage; accommodations with little scientific evidence of validity; and, lack of equal access to needed accommodations among lower socioeconomic students. An alternative solution would be a systemic strategy—altering the testing environment to reduce the need for accommodations. This would involve establishing testing systems that accommodate the widest range of students, thus decreasing the need for individual testing modifications.
Do you agree that testing accommodations are difficult to implement fairly? How has the current culture of “high-stakes testing” contributed to the complexity of implementing accommodations fairly? Is a systemic strategy that attempts to reduce the need for accommodations a realistic solution?
By Robert Furey and Colleen Furey
PsycCRITIQUES, 2015 Vol 60(7)