Feldman, E., Kim, J., & Elliott, S. N. (2011). The effects of accommodations on adolescents’ self-efficacy and test performance . The Journal of Special Education , 45 (2), 77–88. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022466909353791

Journal Article

Feldman, E., Kim, J., & Elliott, S. N. (2011). The effects of accommodations on adolescents’ self-efficacy and test performance. The Journal of Special Education, 45(2), 77–88. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022466909353791


Accommodation/s not specified; Emotional/Behavioral disability; K-12; Language arts; Learning disabilities; Middle school; Multiple content; No disability; Reading; Speech/Language disability; Student survey; U.S. context





Students with disabilities received accommodations matched to their individual needs. Teachers assisted with this step by reviewing students' IEPs, then filling out the assessment accommodations checklist (AAC).


A total of 48 grade 8 students from two middle schools in an urban school district in Wisconsin (U.S.) participated. Half of the sample was male, half female; half the sample were students with an identified disability; half were students without a disability). Students with disabilities included: 18 with a learning disability, 3 with an emotional behavior disorder, 1 with a language impairment, and 2 with other health impairment. Some additional demographic information was provided.

Dependent Variable

The dependent variables were test performance (on items derived from the TerraNova Achievement Test reading/language arts subtest), test-related anxiety, test-related self-efficacy, motivation to work hard on tests, and positive regard for large-scale achievement tests in general. The final four dependent variables were measured using a pre- and a post-test questionnaire.


Results revealed that no significant differences existed between students with disabilities and students without disabilities in motivation, positive regard, and anxiety. Students with disabilities displayed significantly lower mean scores for self-efficacy on the pretest questionnaire than students without disabilities. Results also showed that students with disabilities performed significantly worse than students without disabilities on the test. All students performed better when given testing accommodations, and no interactions were found between groups and conditions (suggesting that students with and without disabilities benefitted equally from accommodations). Finally, results indicated that accommodations had an effect on test-related thoughts and attitudes, regardless of disability status. For example, students who received accommodations showed larger increases between the pre- and post-test on measures of self-efficacy than students who did not receive accommodations. For students with disabilities, receiving accommodations appeared to increase motivation to work hard, whereas for students without disabilities this was not the case. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.