Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations remove barriers to the test-taking process so that students with disabilities and Multilingual/English language learners (MLLs/ELLs) are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Testing accommodations do not change the content or skills that a test measures. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about testing accommodations.

Who receives testing accommodations?

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who have IEPs or 504 Plans may receive testing accommodations on all assessments, including New York State and New York City assessments, classroom assessments, and auditions. To receive testing accommodations, a student’s IEP or 504 Plan team must include the testing accommodations a student requires on the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. Work with your child’s IEP or 504 Plan team to review and update your child’s testing accommodations each year.

Students Who Have Been Declassified

A student who has been declassified from special education services will receive the testing accommodations listed on the Declassification from Special Education Services document until:

  • The student receives a Regents, Advanced Regents, or Local diploma; or
  • The student ages out of school at 21 years old.

Monitoring of appropriateness of the accommodations for the student is important although no formal annual meeting will occur. If a student’s needs or the type of assessments in which the student participates changes, a 504 plan should be developed to document the current accommodations the student requires.

Multilingual/English Language Learners (MLLs/ELLs)

MLLs/ELLs may receive the following testing accommodations on New York State and New York City assessments:

  • Flexible setting (1:1 or small group; separate location)
  • Bilingual glossary: direct word translations, not definitions
  • Test form: use of English and alternate language test forms at the same time
  • Oral translation: only available for New York State tests that do not have alternate language forms
  • Flexible response format: written responses in native language, if using alternate language test forms or receiving oral translations

MLLs/ELLs may not receive testing accommodations for the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSELAT) unless they have an IEP or a 504 Plan.

How do IEP and 504 teams determine eligibility for testing accommodations?

IEP and 504 teams consider the student’s individual needs when determining if a student is eligible for testing accommodations. IEP and 504 teams include parents and school staff who review a variety of data and information about the student, including the accommodations the student receives in the classroom, to identify the most appropriate testing accommodations. Testing accommodations are documented on students’ IEPs and 504 Plans.

Can students receive testing accommodations if they do not have an IEP or 504 Plan?

Yes, but only in emergencies. Students who have temporary impairments within 30 days of a New York State or New York City assessment may receive certain testing accommodations, if approved by the principal. Principals may only approve the following emergency testing accommodations:

  • Tests read (for visually impaired students only);
  • Alternate method of response (for students with an injury to their dominant hand);
  • Extended time; and
  • Separate location.

If students will continue to require testing accommodations, the school should begin the referral and evaluation process for an IEP or 504 Plan. as appropriate.

What are some examples of testing accommodations?

  • Changes to the format of the test: a test can be provided in large print or Braille; a test may also be read aloud via a human reader, audio or digital format
  • Changes to the way students record their answers: Answers may be typed rather than handwritten, or answers can be recorded in the test booklet, in which case the proctor transfers the answers from the test booklet to the answer sheet
  • Flexible timing or scheduling: extended time, breaks
  • Flexible location or setting: a separate location with a smaller group of students

Can students receive testing accommodations on New York State Assessments and Regents exams?

Yes, but there are some testing accommodations that are not necessary or allowed. Students with disabilities will not receive extended time on the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math assessments because these tests are untimed. However, students with disabilities who are eligible for breaks will receive this accommodation. Regents exams are timed, and students with disabilities will receive extended time if they have this testing accommodation on their IEPs or 504 Plans.

On the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts assessment, only test directions that are read aloud to all students may be read aloud to students with the accommodation “directions read.” Students are not allowed to use grammar-checking devices.

For students with disabilities whose testing accommodations include “tests read,” the IEP or 504 Plan will specify if this accommodation includes tests of reading comprehension. If it does, the student will receive this accommodation on the Grades 3-8 ELA assessment and the ELA Regents Exam.

On the Grades 3-8 Math assessment, students may use counting blocks, counters, or an abacus if they have this testing accommodation on their IEP or 504 Plan. Calculators are not allowed on the Grades 3-5 Math assessment and are permitted only in certain books on the Grades 6-8 Math assessment. Calculators are permitted on all Math Regents exams.

Can students receive testing accommodations on middle and high school admissions tests?

Yes. Some high schools have their own admissions tests or auditions. If students plan to apply to high schools that have their own admissions tests or auditions, families should contact the high school in advance to make sure the school is prepared to provide the testing accommodations.

The testing accommodations students receive on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Tests are the same as the testing accommodations they receive on other assessments. For students with disabilities, testing accommodations must be documented on the IEP or 504 Plan. Students must have a history of receiving the accommodations they are requesting for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. The New York City Department of Education will not approve testing accommodations for the Specialized High Schools Admission Test only, except in emergency situations.

Can students receive testing accommodations on College Board exams?

Students may receive testing accommodations on College Board exams, including the SAT School Day exam. Families must give their consent for the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Coordinator at their child’s school to apply for accommodations on their child’s behalf. You should discuss this process with the SSD Coordinator at your child’s high school during your child’s first year of high school. Any testing accommodations approved by the College Board will be in effect for all College Board exams your child takes.