First of all, everyone on your IEP team needs to understand that you will be participating in school–wide assessments, and will need to work with you to focus on the question of how you will participate. It's your responsibility, with the help and support of your IEP team, to decide whether you need assessment accommodations and, if you do, which ones will be most helpful for you. This is a really important responsibility and involves more than just checking off a couple of lines on your IEP!
Everyone on your team needs enough information about assessment participation and accommodations to help you make good decisions. Some people on your IEP team may encourage you to use too many accommodations, while keeping their fingers crossed that something will help. But this can be difficult and confusing, and you may do better if you can identify those accommodations that you really think will make a difference, and trying those first. You need to advocate for trying out a variety of accommodations when you are in a class, BEFORE you have to take a test. Figure out what works best for you and share that information with your teacher and your IEP Case Manager.
Once you've tried out different accommodations, choose the ones you think will be most helpful to you on tests and make sure these are listed on your IEP. On some exams, use of certain accommodations could make your score not valid, so It is important for your IEP team to pay attention to this.
On the day of a test, make sure the person giving the test whether it is a teacher or a test administrator (sometimes called a “proctor”) knows what accommodations you will be using. For example, that person needs to know whether you will be allowed extra time to complete the test. If your IEP says you can have extra time on tests, sometimes the hardest thing of all is to make sure you actually get the extra time. When the person giving the test says, “Time is up, put your pencils down and leave the room,” you need to have a plan for how you can continue working.
The goal is for you and your IEP team to be in charge of your assessment participation by choosing and using accommodations that are most helpful to you.
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