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An intervention is a combination of program elements or strategies designed to improve the educational performance of students. Interventions may include educational programs, materials, or improvements in the classroom environment. Interventions that include multiple strategies are typically the most effective in producing desired and lasting change. The following offers information about the differences between accommodations and modifications and ways they may help students access the general education curriculum and increase their learning potential.

click for a list of deficit-linked accommodations



Accommodations are instructional or test adaptations. They allow the student to demonstrate what he or she knows without fundamentally changing the target skill that’s being taught in the classroom or measured in testing situations. Accommodations do not reduce learning or performance expectations that we might hold for students. More specifically, they change the manner or setting in which information is presented or the manner in which students respond. But they do not change the target skill or the testing construct.


  • Generally, a large number of accommodations can be grouped into five categories:

  • 1) Timing. For example, giving a student extended time to complete a task or a test item.

  • 2) Flexible scheduling. For example, giving a student two days instead of one day to complete a project.

  • 3) Accommodated presentation of the material, meaning material is presented to the student in a fashion that’s different from a more traditional fashion.

  • 4) Setting, which includes things like completing the task or test in a quiet room or in a small group with other students.

  • 5) Response accommodation, which means having the student respond perhaps orally or through a scribe.












A Modification is a change in the course, standard, test preparation, location, timing, scheduling,
expectations, student response and/or other attribute which provide access for a student with a disability to participate in a course, standard or test, which does fundamentally alter or lower the standard or expectation of the course, standard or test. Modifications involve deliberate intellectual lowering in the level of materials presented.



The following can be ways to deliberately change the level of materials for students:

1) Presentation of curriculum is modified using a specialized curriculum which is written at a lower level
of understanding.

2) Materials are adapted, texts are simplified by modifying the content areas—simplifying vocabulary,
concepts and principals.

3) Grading is subject to different standards than general education, such as basing on IEP goals.

4) Assignments are changed using lower level reading levels, worksheets and simplified vocabulary.
5) Testing Adaptations are used, such as lowering the reading level of the test.