Bolt, S. E., Decker, D. M., Lloyd, M., & Morlock, L. (2011). Students’ perceptions of accommodations in high school and college . Career Development for Exceptional Individuals , 34 (3), 165–175.

Journal Article

Bolt, S. E., Decker, D. M., Lloyd, M., & Morlock, L. (2011). Students’ perceptions of accommodations in high school and college. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 34(3), 165–175.


Audio recording device/software (Response); Breaks during testing; Dictated response; Dictated response (scribe); Dictionary/glossary; Enlarged print (on paper); Extended time; Individual; Learning disabilities; Oral delivery; Oral delivery of directions only; Oral delivery, live/in-person; Postsecondary; Recorded delivery (audio or video); Small group; Speech/Language disability; Spelling checker; Student survey; Text-to-speech device/software; U.S. context; Word processing (for writing)



The 14 accommodations examined include 5 forms of read-aloud (including in-person and via various media), dictionary, large print, extended time, more frequent breaks, individual setting, small-group setting, dictated response (to scribe or to recording), and word-processor with spell-check.


Fifty-five postsecondary students with reading and writing disabilities from a university in an unspecified state in the Midwest (U.S.) reported about their experiences with accommodations during high school and college.

Dependent Variable

Participants completed the Instructional and Testing Accommodations Survey, a researcher-created online survey, which explicitly inquired about use of and perception about each category of accommodations, identifying the 14 accommodations of researchers' interest. The survey also asked about what hindered and facilitated students' use of accommodations.


About half of the participants (N=30) received accommodations through special education and/or Section 504 services in high school, as well as in college, with the remainder accessing accommodations only at the postsecondary level. In both the high school and postsecondary levels, the rank order of commonality of accommodation category was: scheduling accommodations, setting accommodations, presentation accommodations, and response accommodations. The most common single accommodation used at both levels was extended-time, followed by individual setting. It was more common to be provided read-aloud in-person in high school, and more common via computer in college. In terms of degree of helpfulness, participants using certain accommodations indicated that these were most helpful: in high school, extended-time, dictionary use, and dictated response to a scribe; in college, dictated response to a scribe, and word processor with spell-check. In terms of barriers to accommodations use, the largest proportion (36%) of participants indicated that underlying reasons were system-level issues, such as accessing support, specifying appropriate accommodations, and documentation of diagnosis, among others. Other barrier categories (besides systems issues) were oneself (19%)—embarrassment and failing to advocate, and others (17%)—lack of knowledge or negative attitudes. Facilitators of accommodations use, in order of proportion of participants endorsing them, included: other individuals (34%), system-level issues (32%), and self (7%). Recommendations were offered such as improving systemic accommodations selection procedures and documentation of need. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.