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Standardized Testing: Accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Test Takers Ruth Loew, Ph.D. ETS John Hosterman, Ph.D. Pearson VUE & GEDTS.

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Presentation on theme: "Standardized Testing: Accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Test Takers Ruth Loew, Ph.D. ETS John Hosterman, Ph.D. Pearson VUE & GEDTS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Standardized Testing: Accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Test Takers Ruth Loew, Ph.D. ETS John Hosterman, Ph.D. Pearson VUE & GEDTS

2 Session Overview  Assumptions  What are accommodations?  What is different about standardized testing?  Making sure the test measures what it is intended to measure  Documentation for accommodations requests  Questions to consider when preparing an accommodations request  Q&A

3 Assumptions [That may not be true…]  Students who are D/HoH will always need accommodations, for all tasks, in all settings.  Students who are D/HoH are always poor readers.  Students who are D/HoH are generally slow processors of information and usually need extra time.  Deaf students will always need an interpreter, for all tasks, in all settings.

4 What are testing accommodations? Accommodations enhance access to the test. – Accommodations change HOW something is learned or assessed. Usually either the INPUT or OUTPUT changes. Examples: braille, captions, writing answers in test book rather than on answer sheet – Modifications change WHAT is learned or assessed Example: multiple-choice instead of essay An accommodation is not a guarantee of better performance, finishing the test, or any other specific outcome.

5 The accommodation must fit the setting Accommodations that may be appropriate in instructional or classroom settings may NOT be appropriate on a standardized test: – “Provide clarification.” – “Check for understanding.” – “Let him discuss the essay with the TA instead of writing it.” – “Reduce the number of answer choices to give him a better chance.” – “Provide praise and encouragement.” – “Let her use her notes and study guides during the test.”

6 The ins and outs of interpreting tests Generally, interpreting is more appropriate as an instructional accommodation than as a testing accommodation. Interpreters are allowed for check-in procedures and other communication with test center staff. Interpreting test content can change what the test is measuring:  Different interpreters will interpret differently.  Interpretation may give away the answer or change the difficulty of the question. We don’t provide on-the-fly translation into any language other than the language of the test (usually English).

7 What Is the Test Intended to Measure? The accommodation cannot fundamentally alter the test. Examples: Standardized math test: Does it assess computation skills? If so, should a calculator permitted as an accommodation? Test with a speaking section: Does it test general English communication skills? Or does it assess speech ability, for an employment test? Test with a Practical Skills component, such as a nursing licensure exam: Can some of the test measuring essential practical skills be waived as an accommodation?

8 Documentation Guidelines for D/HoH Test-takers 1. Evidence of the disability Audiogram or audiometric report Letter from doctor or audiologist 2. History & Relevant Background information (directly related to the current request) History of the use of accommodations in various settings (testing vs. classroom vs. clinical) Comorbid conditions, other extenuating circumstances Information about the person’s reading and writing skills, if these are claimed to be impaired Information about age of onset of hearing loss, history of amplification use (aids and/or or implants) 3. Rationale for the requested accommodations

9 Questions to consider Is listening and/or speaking required for the check-in process? Will the person need to communicate with the proctor during the test? If the test requires listening through headphones, is the person’s hearing aid and/or cochlear implant compatible with the headphones? Will background noise be an issue? Is the person’s reading slow, and if so, is this documented? Does the person need assistive technology (e.g., FM loop, amplified stethoscope, digital readout blood pressure monitor)?

10 Discussion Question and Answer

11 John A. Hosterman, Ph.D. Director, Global Accessibility Pearson VUE and GED Testing Service Ruth C. Loew, Ph.D. Assistant Director, Office of Disability Policy ETS


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