Testing Accommodations

Students with Individualized Education Programs and students with 504 Plans may be eligible to receive testing accommodations. English Language Learners are eligible to receive testing accommodations, as well. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about testing accommodations.

What Are Testing Accommodations?

Testing accommodations remove barriers to the test-taking process so that students with disabilities and English Language Learners are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Testing accommodations do not change the content or skills that tests measure. 

Examples of testing accommodations include:

  1. Changes to the format of the test: Some students may use large print, Braille, audio, or digital versions of the test.
  2. Changes to the way students record their answers: Some students may type rather than hand write their answers, or they may answer questions in their test booklet and have the proctor transfer their answers from the test booklet to the answer sheet.
  3. Flexible timing or scheduling: Some students may receive extended time, breaks, or both.
  4. Flexible location or setting: Some students may take the test in a separate location with a smaller group of students. 

Who Receives Testing Accommodations?

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who have Individualized Education Programs or 504 Plans may receive testing accommodations on New York State and New York City assessments, including auditions. To receive testing accommodations, a student’s Individualized Education Program team or 504 team must determine the student’s eligibility and document the testing accommodations on the student’s  Individualized Education Program or 504 Plan. Parents should work with their child’s Individualized Education Program or 504 team to review and update their child’s testing accommodations as needed. 

Note that 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.

English Language Learners

English Language Learners 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: writing responses in the native language, if using alternate language test forms or receiving oral translations; and
  • Test content read aloud: having the listening section of the New York State English Language Arts and Regents Comprehensive Examination in English read aloud three times.

English Language Learners may not receive testing accommodations for the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test unless they have an  Individualized Education Program or a 504 Plan.

Can Students without  Individualized Education Programs  or 504 Plans or Non-ELLs Receive Testing Accommodations?

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 initiate an Individualized Education Programs or 504 referral and evaluation process, as appropriate.

How Do  Individualized Education Programs and 504 Teams Determine Students’ Eligibility for Testing Accommodations?

 Individualized Education Programs and 504 teams consider the student’s individual needs when determining if the student is eligible for testing accommodations.  Individualized Education Programs and 504 teams include parents and school staff who are knowledgeable about the student. Teams review a variety of data and information about the student before making a decision. Testing accommodations are consistent with the supports students receive in the classroom and are documented on students’  Individualized Education Programs and 504 Plans.

Can Students Receive Testing Accommodations on the New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math Assessments and Regents Exams?

Yes, but there are some testing accommodations that are not necessary, or they are not allowed because they change the content or skills that the tests measure.

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  Individualized Education Programs  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  Individualized Education Programs or 504 Plan will specify if this accommodation includes tests of reading comprehension. If it does, they 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  Individualized Education Programs or 504 Plans. 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 the NYC Gifted & Talented Test?

Yes. Parents should review the New York City Gifted & Talented Handbook or contact GTHelp@schools.nyc.gov with questions about testing accommodations.

Can Students Receive Testing Accommodations on New York City Middle and High School Admissions Tests, Including the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test and School-Based Auditions?

Yes. Testing and applying for Specialized High Schools is a centralized process managed by the New York City Department of Education. Students and families should carefully review the Specialized High Schools Student Handbook to learn about the Specialized High Schools Admissions Tests. The testing accommodations students receive on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Tests correspond with the testing accommodations that they already receive on other assessments. For students with disabilities, testing accommodations must be documented on the  Individualized Education Programs or 504 Plan, and students must have a history of receiving the accommodations. The New York City Department of Education will not approve testing accommodations for the Specialized High Schools Admission Test only, except in emergency situations. 

Some high schools have their own admissions tests or auditions. If students plan on applying to high schools that have their own admissions tests or auditions, families should contact the high schools in advance of the test or audition to make sure the school is aware of the student’s testing accommodations and is prepared to provide them to the student. 

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 to apply for accommodations on their child’s behalf. Families should discuss this process with the SSD Coordinator at their child’s school.

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