Elliott, S. N., Kettler, R. J., Beddow, P. A., Kurz, A., Compton, E., McGrath, D., Bruen, C., Hinton, K., Palmer, P., Rodriguez, M. C., Bolt, D., & Roach, A. T. (2010). Effects of using modified items to test students with persistent academic difficulties . Exceptional Children , 76 (4), 475–495. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440291007600406
Elliott, S. N., Kettler, R. J., Beddow, P. A., Kurz, A., Compton, E., McGrath, D., Bruen, C., Hinton, K., Palmer, P., Rodriguez, M. C., Bolt, D., & Roach, A. T. (2010). Effects of using modified items to test students with persistent academic difficulties. Exceptional Children, 76(4), 475–495. https://doi.org/10.1177/001440291007600406
Modifications, defined as different than accommodations, included modifications to items to reduce unnecessary language load, such as text segmentation; modifications to answer choices, such as removing the least plausible distractor; and other general modifications, such as bolding important words.
Three groups of grade 8 students (N=755) from four U.S. states—Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana—participated. More specifically, comparison was completed using 250 students without disabilities, 236 students with disabilities who were not eligible for the alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS), and 250 students with disabilities who were eligible for the AA-MAS. Demographics included that 69% were European American, 12% were Latino American, and 11% African American, among other ethnicities. The two largest groups of students with disabilities were those with learning disabilities and those with intellectual disabilities.
Students completed reading and mathematics assessments drawing 39 computer-based items from Discovery Education Assessment national item pool. The reading test included vocabulary and comprehension items, and the math test included decoding symbols, performing basic operations, and performing basic data analysis tasks. Other measures used include one based on AA-MAS participation decision criteria, as well as the Test Accessibility and Modification Inventory as an analysis of the test items.
The group of students without disabilities scored higher on both reading and math than the students with disabilities not eligible for the AA-MAS, whose scores were higher than the scores of the students with disabilities eligible for the AA-MAS. All three groups scored higher in the modified condition than in the non-modified condition. Further, no group, as a whole, differentially benefited from the modifications; however, slightly more students eligible for AA-MAS scored better in the modified condition.