Horvath, L. S., Kampfer-Bohach, S., & Kearns, J. F. (2005). The use of accommodations among students with deafblindness in large-scale assessment systems . Journal of Disability Policy Studies , 16 (3), 177–187. https://doi.org/10.1177/10442073050160030501

Journal Article

Horvath, L. S., Kampfer-Bohach, S., & Kearns, J. F. (2005). The use of accommodations among students with deafblindness in large-scale assessment systems. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 16(3), 177–187. https://doi.org/10.1177/10442073050160030501


Braille; Breaks during testing; Calculation device or software (interactive); Dictated response; Dictated response (scribe); Educator survey; Elementary; Enlarged print (on paper); Extended time; Extra blank or specialized paper; High school; Individual; Lighting; Magnification device or software; Middle school; Multiple accommodations; Multiple ages; Multiple disabilities; Oral delivery; Oral delivery, live/in-person; Paraphrasing; Physical supports; Recorded delivery (audio or video); Seat location/proximity; Signed administration; Small group; Student survey; Technological aid; U.S. context; Visual impairment (including blindness)



This study sought to describe the use of accommodations by students with deaf blindness, both in the general curriculum and during statewide assessments, in order to illustrate how policy affects practice. Both high frequency and low frequency accommodations used by students were reported as part of the findings.


Nine students with deafblindness in grade 4, grade 7, grade 8, and grade 9 who attended school in three states in the Southeast (U.S.) participated. Additional demographic and other data, including age, gender, vision and hearing conditions, and academic placement, were reported for each participant.

Dependent Variable

Researchers interviewed the students, their parents, and relevant school personnel. The participants were also observed on two occasions and accommodations use data were recorded. State policies were also examined as a point of comparison.


Seven (7) frequently-used accommodations by student participants included: large print, preferential seating, extended time, additional explanation/paraphrasing, signed administration, individual and small group administration, and oral delivery by a reader. Thirteen (13) infrequently-used accommodations included: assistive technology, audiotapes/recorded delivery, braille, CCTV, FM system, frequent breaks, lighting, magnifying equipment, slant board, special paper, scribe/dictated response, seat cushion, and talking calculation device. Three major findings to emerge were that (a) students were provided accommodations that were not specifically tailored to their needs; (b) self-determination among students with deaf-blindness was not actively observed in the classroom; and (c) there was a lack of congruence among accommodations used in class, during assessment, and among those documented on the IEP or 504 Plan.