• Does your child find learning at school too easy?
  • Does your child find learning at school to be a challenge?
  • Have the teachers used the words accommodations or modifications?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then this is the article for you!

What’s the difference between accommodations and modifications?  Let’s find out.

Here are basic definitions of each:

  • An accommodation changes HOW a student learns.  They learn and are evaluated on the same material as the rest of the class.  However, the teacher may use different materials/equipment, change the environment, or change the format of the curriculum.
  • A modification changes WHAT is being taught and/or WHAT is expected to be learned. 

If a student receives modifications, they may experience the same curriculum as everyone else, but the expectations of what is to be learned and what they will be evaluated on may be different.

Scroll down for some examples of each.

Listen to an audio version of the same book the rest of the class is reading Shorten the amount of text or use a different book 
Use of a keyboard rather than writing by hand Create different projects/assignments to demonstrate learning
Have the student dictate answers and someone else writes them; or record answers Test on 10 spelling/vocabulary words rather than twenty
Provide worksheets with larger print Learn different content.  For example, continue working on multiplication while the rest of the class moves on to fractions.
Teacher provides a study guide Allow the use of a calculator
Break tasks into smaller steps Grading is done with a different standard than the rest of the class
Take tests orally  Use material at a different grade level
Allow tests to be taken elsewhere so there is less distraction or the student could take more time to complete the test Use a more structured system of rewards to encourage appropriate behavior

People may think accommodations and modifications are only for exceptional education students.  This is not true.  All teachers should be using these strategies, when needed, to help all students be successful in the classroom.

The following websites provide more information about accommodations and modifications.

The Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications 

Common Classroom Accommodations and Modifications 

Accommodations and Modifications for 10 Common Classroom Activities      —–In my opinion, this website contains a great list of accommodations, not modifications.