are entitled, and the more vulnerable the assessment is to legal challenge (National Research Council, 1997:186–187).

The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association et al., 1985) state that any claims made for a test cannot be generalized to a version of the test that has been altered significantly. The Standards continue: "When tests are administered to people with handicapping conditions, particularly those handicaps that affect cognitive functioning, a relevant question is whether the modified test measures the same constructs" (cited in Phillips, 1993:381).

Scarcity of Research Evidence

The committee that wrote Educating One and All concluded that "research on the validity of scores from accommodated assessments is limited, and little of it is directly applicable to the assessments that are central to standards-based reform. Much of the available evidence pertains to college admissions tests and other postsecondary tests (e.g., Wightman, 1993; Willingham et al., 1988)" (National Research Council, 1997:179). From the research reviewed, that committee went on to conclude:

  • Different disabilities can cause different distortions in test scores. Predicting how the type of disability will affect test scores is difficult, in part because of the ambiguity of the disability classifications. Research is needed about the relationship of specific disabilities to test score performance in different subject areas (pp. 177–178).
  • Some accommodations may inflate scores for some students. Raising scores, however, is not the purpose of accommodations and it is inappropriate to use them merely to raise scores (pp. 179–182).
  • A need for additional testing time should not be assumed. The effects on test scores of providing additional time warrant empirical investigation (pp. 180–181).
  • Although individuals with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations that do not alter the content being tested, current knowledge and testing technology are not sufficient to allow the design of such accommodations (p. 193).

Recent studies have examined teachers' perceptions of accommodations and their likelihood of use. Gajria et al. (1994) found that teachers were more likely to use modifications involving changes in test design

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