Helwig, R., & Tindal, G. (2003). An experimental analysis of accommodation decisions on large-scale mathematics tests . Exceptional Children , 69 (2), 211–225. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440290306900206

Journal Article

Helwig, R., & Tindal, G. (2003). An experimental analysis of accommodation decisions on large-scale mathematics tests. Exceptional Children, 69(2), 211–225. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440290306900206


Elementary; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Intellectual disabilities; Learning disabilities; Math; Middle school; Multiple ages; Multiple content; No disability; Oral delivery; Reading; Speech/Language disability; Teacher survey; U.S. context





This study tested the accuracy with which special education teachers determine which students need read-aloud accommodations. An additional goal of this study was to develop a profile of students who benefit from this type of accommodation by contrasting their achievement levels in reading and basic math skills.


Participants included 1,218 students in grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 from eight U.S. states. Twenty percent (n=245) were special education students. Of those in special education, 70% were described as having learning disabilities, 8% had language impairments, 5% had severe emotional disabilities, and 5% had intellectual disabilities.

Dependent Variable

For each student, the appropriate teacher completed a survey that rated the student's skill level in both reading and mathematics on a 5-point Likert scale. The teacher also predicted which students would benefit most from a read-aloud accommodation. The students were also tested with a standardized reading and basic math skills test.


The teachers in the study were not effective in their recommendations of which students would, and would not, benefit from having math tests items read aloud. Teachers' ratings of their students' needs for testing accommodations coincided with actual students' performance only half the time. The study found no connection between performance on reading and basic math skills tests and the need for accommodations.