Carey, L. B., Stephan, C., & Pritchard, A. E. (2019). Preparing students for competent use of academic testing accommodations: Teachers’ belief, knowledge, and practice . Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal , 24 (1), 33–42.

Journal Article

Carey, L. B., Stephan, C., & Pritchard, A. E. (2019). Preparing students for competent use of academic testing accommodations: Teachers’ belief, knowledge, and practice. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 24(1), 33–42.


Educator survey; K-12; U.S. context




Accommodations were not specified; the focus was on teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, and practices in preparing students for using academic testing accommodations with competence.


Teacher survey respondents numbered 240 in all, comprising general educators (n=193) and special educators (n=47) of students in grades K–12. Additional demographic data including gender, and other information were also provided, and analyzed for their potential effects. These details included teachers' numbers of years of teaching experience, school levels (elementary, middle school, and high school) taught, and types of training—differentiated instruction (DI), universal design for learning (UDL), both DI & UDL, and neither DI or UDL.

Dependent Variable

The Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices around Student Testing Accommodations Survey was developed by the authors with feedback from special education and psychometrics experts. This survey had 17 items: 5 knowledge scale items, 4 items on beliefs, and 8 on practices. Ratings were made by respondents on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Data were also collected on demographics, training, and work experience details.


Educators overall demonstrated positive beliefs, knowledge, and practices regarding testing accommodations. The survey results indicated that for the domains of beliefs, knowledge, and practice, educators' scaled responses averaged higher than the neutral level.  Scores on the beliefs domain were higher than practice and knowledge, to a small but statistically significant degree. The practice domain had higher positive ratings than the knowledge domain. Beliefs and knowledge were found to be significantly associated with practice. When respondent subgroup scores were compared, high school special education teachers had the most positive beliefs about accommodations, while general education teachers held the lowest (yet still positive) beliefs. Elementary and middle school special and general education teachers did not demonstrate significant differences in their beliefs on testing accommodations. Despite believing that testing accommodations benefit students, teachers overall—and especially general education teachers—reported a lack of confidence in their knowledge and ability to appropriately provide accommodations and in their ability to instruct students on accommodation use. Special educators with training in both differentiated instruction (DI) and universal design for learning (UDL) had significantly higher knowledge ratings than special educators with DI training alone, while both general and special educators with only DI training rated lesser (but still positive) degrees of knowledge, and general educators with both types of training indicated no significant difference in knowledge. Special education teachers supported practices such as modeling and discussing student accommodations for students to benefit from their accommodations. In contrast, general education teachers tended not to do so, especially at the high school level. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.