Smith, G. W., & Riccomini, P. J. (2013). The effect of a noise reducing test accommodation on elementary students with learning disabilities . Learning Disabilities Research & Practice , 28 (2), 89–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/ldrp.12010

Journal Article

Smith, G. W., & Riccomini, P. J. (2013). The effect of a noise reducing test accommodation on elementary students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 28(2), 89–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/ldrp.12010

Tags

Attention problem; Autism; Elementary; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Learning disabilities; Multiple disabilities; No disability; Physical disability; Reading; Speech/Language disability; Technological aid; U.S. context

URL

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15405826

Summary

Accommodation

The accommodation investigated was the use of noise-reducing headphones, which had a noise-reduction rating of 25, indicating the amount of reduction in decibels.

Participants

Elementary students, in grades 3 through 5, totaling 254 students participated, from a school district in the Southeast (U.S.). Of these, 163 were general education students, 35 had learning disabilities, 39 were identified as "at-risk" for disabilities, and 17 participants had other disabilities (9 had other health impairments, 5 had speech/language disabilities, 2 had multiple disabilities, and 1 had emotional/behavioral disabilities.

Dependent Variable

Reading comprehension was assessed using the Qualitative Reading Inventory-5 (Leslie & Caldwell, 2011), in which study participants were required to read a short narrative passage and respond to eight items in short-answer formats.

Findings

Groupwise means for the four participant groups were compared for both the standard administration and accommodated condition. The average scores by group without accommodations were (in descending order): students without disabilities, at-risk students, students with other disabilities, and students with learning disabilities. When provided noise-reducing headphones, students without disabilities had the same average score as a group, at-risk students had a small effect size (improvement), students with other disabilities had a high-moderate effect size, and students with learning disabilities had a moderate effect size. Significance tests showed that students with other disabilities were the only group that scored significantly higher on average when using noise-reduction headphones. Measured another way, the largest proportion (57%) of students with learning disabilities improved their scores when using noise reduction, and the smallest proportion of students without disabilities (nearly 36%) improved their scores with the accommodation. Individual student comparisons showed that some students with disabilities using the headphones increased their scores by up to 60%. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.