Smith, D. W., & Amato, S. (2012). Synthesis of available accommodations for students with visual impairments on standardized assessments . Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness , 106 (5), 299–304.

Journal Article

Smith, D. W., & Amato, S. (2012). Synthesis of available accommodations for students with visual impairments on standardized assessments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 106(5), 299–304.


Audio description (of visual images); Audio recording device/software (Response); Braille; Breaks during testing; Calculation device or software (interactive); Color contrast device or software; Dictated response; Dictated response (scribe); Electronic administration; Electronic administration; Electronic administration; Elementary; Enlarged print (on paper); Extra blank or specialized paper; High school; Lighting; Line reading device or software; Magnification device or software; Manipulatives; Mark answer in test booklet; Middle school; Multiple day; Oral delivery; Oral delivery of directions only; Oral delivery, live/in-person; Recorded delivery (audio or video); Screen display; Small group; Tactile graphics; Technological aid; Templates or organizers; Text-to-speech device/software; U.S. context; Visual cues; Visual impairment (including blindness)




A list of several accommodations was developed based on literature for best practices for the education of children with visual impairments. Then state (U.S.) testing policy and procedures manuals were reviewed to see if each accommodation was allowed, allowed in individual circumstances, or not allowed.


Not applicable for this policy review and description of incidence rate of accommodations.

Dependent Variable

Not applicable.


Only two of five timing and scheduling accommodations were specific to students with visual impairments, though it was not often stated explicitly that these students may need such accommodations. Most states provided small group and lighting adjustment accommodations, though these were not unique for students with disabilities. Most states allow scribes or other necessary response modifications, though it was surprising that electronic note-takers or PDAs are not more widely used. All states provided braille and large-print accommodations for students with visual impairments, but fewer allow an abacus or talking calculator even when other students are allowed to use scratch paper. Other presentation accommodations are allowed even less frequently. The authors conclude that there is some lack of vision-specific accommodations in state manuals, which may present challenges for students with visual impairments. More documentation from teachers, parents, and professionals arguing for the appropriateness of certain accommodations for individual students is needed. Limitations of the study were reported.