Module 2: Audio 2.1

Modifications, if used inappropriately, can have unintended consequences and actually harm students by lowering expectations for those students who actually do have the ability to achieve the grade-level content standards.

Let's take Emma, for instance. It may take more time for Emma to learn new concepts than her peers. However, Emma's learning challenges should not be solved by using modifications that lower the expectations for what she can learn. For example, Emma should not be limited to learning only selected parts of the seventh grade math curriculum, or only doing the easiest math problems on assignments. That would limit Emma's opportunities to learn critical content that she is entirely capable of learning.

The use of modifications, and their consequences, can 'snowball.' Since Emma would not have had an opportunity to learn seventh-grade math content, she might miss out on important skills to prepare her for eighth grade math and beyond. She may even be at-risk for not meeting graduation requirements. Modifications could actually increase the achievement gap between Emma and her same-grade peers. It would be more beneficial to Emma if we all focused on ways to support her to learn the same grade-level content as her peers.