for internationally adopted children with disabilities
Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001,
all public school students must participate in annual testing in academic
areas outlined in the law. According to NCLB, students with disabilities
who have educational handicapping conditions, are protected by the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act and must be provided with appropriate accommodations necessary
to participate in these tests.
This provision of the federal law has specific value for
children who not only have an educational handicapping condition, but
also have "atypical" educational background being internationally
adopted pos-institutionalized children. For those of them who were adopted
at the school age (6 years and older), test taking is a culturally unknown
territory: there was no such phenomenon in their native country. In
this domain they compete with peers who grew up taking tests practically
from kindergarten. Along with test accommodations, they have to be specifically
taught how to perform, feel, and think during test taking activities.
Even some children who were adopted as infants and toddlers and entered
our school system at the appropriate age, these children along with
educational disabilities may have elevated performance-related anxiety,
limited self-regulation of goal-directed behavior, minimal tolerance
to frustration in academic activities, and low self-esteem. The emotional
component of their learning disabilities is particularly evident during
test taking activities and is to be addressed by the appropriate testing
Determination of the appropriate accommodations, which
students with disabilities need in order to fully and equally participate
in state-wide testing, is an important component of these students'
Individualized Education Programs (IEP) or Sections 504 Plan.
Accommodations are the procedures, which provide equal
access to testing for students with disabilities. They are provided
to "level the playing field." Without accommodations, students
with disabilities may not be able to participate fully in tests. Accommodations
can be divided into four categories:
- Presentation (e.g.:
repeating the directions, reading aloud, using answer sheets). Presentation
accommodations allow students to access information in ways that do
not require them to visually read standard print. These alternate
modes of access are auditory, multi-sensory, tactile and visual.
- Response (e.g.: marking answers in the book,
using reference aids, pointing, using computer). Response accommodations
allow students to complete activities, assignments and tests in different
ways to solve or organize problems using some type of assistive device
- Timing/Scheduling (e.g.: extended time, frequent
breaks). Timing/scheduling accommodations increase the allowable length
of time to complete a test or assignment and may also change the way
the time is organized.
- Setting (e.g.: study carrel, special lighting,
separate room). Setting Accommodations change the location in which
a test or assignment is given or the conditions of the assessment