Accommodations for Learning Differences

As many CTE teachers can attest, there often seems to be a disproportionate number of students in their classes who are from special populations. Whether they choose CTE because alternative strategies are often used in these classes, or because of the real-world experience that students get, these classes typically have more students from special populations than other, more traditional classes have.

Individuals with Disabilities

An individual with a disability means any disability as defined in Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This means they must have one of the following:

A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or
more of the major life activities, or a record of impairment, or
being regarded as having impairment.

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The CTE teacher will have a broad variety of individuals with disabilities in their program over their career. In making sure that these individuals receive the services they to learn on a level playing field, it is important to know how students can receive services under the various Federal laws

Categories of Accommodation

Accommodations can be categorized in four ways: presentation, response and setting, timing, and scheduling. Each of these categories is explained here along with specific examples of how
they can be used. The accommodations that the CTE teacher uses can fall across several of these categories, but the key is to address the needs of the individual student and level the playing field
so they have the same opportunities to learn as other students. When grading student work, it should be done for students with disabilities, the same as for students without since the accommodations have allowed the student to meet the same criteria.

Presentation Accommodations

Is there a problem with the way in which the student can see, hear, or read the lesson? 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. Example of presentation accommodations include:

  • Provide on audio tape
  • Provide in large print
  • Reduce number of items per page or line
  • Provide a designated reader
  • Present instructions orally

Response Accommodations

Does the student have problems manipulating items, or is there something that might pose a problem with the student due to the way in which a response is required? If possible, change the response. By changing the response, you can allow students to complete activities, assignments, and assessments in different ways or to solve or organize problems using some type of assistive device or organizer.

  • Allow for verbal responses
  • Allow for answers to be dictated to a scribe
  • Allow the use of a tape recorder to capture responses
  • Permit responses to be given via computer
  • Permit answers to be recorded directly into a test booklet

Settings Accommodations

If the student has a problem focusing on work when there are a large number of students in the class, this may be a possible choice. These students can be easily distracted by others or have behaviors that are distracting to others. Change the location in which a
test or assignment is given or the conditions of the assessment setting.

  • Provide preferential seating
  • Provide special lighting or acoustics
  • Provide a space with minimal distractions
  • Administer a test in small group setting
  • Administer a test in private room or alternative test site

Timing and Schedule Accommodations

Increase the allowable length of time to complete an assessment or assignment and perhaps change the way that time is organized.

  • Allow frequent breaks
  • Extend allotted time for a test Scheduling
  • Administer a test in several timed sessions or over several days
  • Allow subtests to be taken in a different order
  • Administer a test at a specific time of day

Accommodations should fall under one of these categories and may cut across several. Understanding how each works in helping the student learner will assist the CTE teacher in providing them with the tools to learn with other students.