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Minnesota Standardized Assessment Accommodations Guidelines

Todd Wagner, State ABE Director and Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting Specialist has given the following guidance to administering the tests: 

“Test accommodations must comply with publisher guidelines.  Beyond that, no special documentation or permission is required to provide accommodations on the TABE and CASAS tests. Test administrators need only to provide the same accommodations at the pre- and post-test in order to assure standardized testing conditions. Note that it may be helpful to document accommodations provided in the event that the folks involved in post-testing were not those initially involved in pre-testing.  However, it is up to local programs whether and how to keep such documentation."

TABE Standardized Assessment Accommodations Guidelines

Entrance Standardized Assessment/Pre-Test

  1. For students identified as having a disability and based on discussion between the adult student and ABE instructor or designated staff, determine necessary accommodations for either CASAS or TABE tests using the checklists provided. Note that accommodations used in testing should typically reflect/be-the-same-as accommodations used in instruction.
  2. Administer the appropriate level and form of the CASAS or TABE test in the subject area(s) of primary instruction.
  3. Maintain a record of the accommodations provided in the students records.

Exit Standardized Assessment/Post-Test

  1. Use the same test series used at pre-test, but an appropriate alternate form, i.e. do not use same test form used at pre-test.
  2. Refer to the record of accommodation(s) used when pre-testing and use the same accommodation(s) at post-test.

TABE Accommodations Provided


Date: ___________            Date: ___________

Test Series: ____            Test Series: ____

Test Form: ______            Test Form: ______

Check the appropriate box(es). These are changes suggested by CTB McGraw-Hill that do not decrease the validity of the assessment.

Category 1: The accommodations listed in Category 1 are not expected to influence learner performance in a way that alters the interpretation of either criterion- or norm-referenced test scores. Individual learner scores obtained using Category 1 accommodations should be interpreted in the same way as the scores of other learners who take the test under default conditions.

TABE Category 1: Presentation

  1. Visual magnifying equipment
  2. Large-print edition of the test
  3. Audio amplification equipment
  4. Use markers to maintain place
  5. Directions read aloud
  6. Tape recording of directions
  7. Directions presented through sign language
  8. Directions have been marked with highlighting

TABE Category 1: Response

  1. Mark responses in test booklet
  2. Mark responses on large-print answer document
  3. For selected-response items, indicate responses to a scribe
  4. Record responses on audio tape (except for constructed-response writing tests)
  5. For selected-response items, use sign language to indicate response
  6. Use a computer, typewriter, Braille writer, or other machine (e.g., communication board) to respond
  7. Use template to maintain place for responding
  8. Indicate response with other communication devices (e.g., speech synthesizer)
  9. Use a spelling checker except with a test for which spelling will be scored

TABE Category 1: Setting

  1. Test alone or in a study carrel
  2. Test with a small group or different class
  3. Test at home or in a care facility (e.g., hospital), with supervision
  4. Adaptive furniture
  5. Special lighting and/or acoustics 

TABE Category 1: Timing and Scheduling

  1. Take more breaks that do not result in extra time or opportunity to study information in a test already begun
  2. Flexible scheduling (e.g., time of day, days between sessions) that does not result in extra time or opportunity to study information in a test already begun.

TABE Category 1: ELL specific

  1. Spelling aids, such as spelling dictionaries (without definitions), spell/grammar checkers provided, for a test for which spelling and grammar conventions will not be scored
  2. Computer-based written response mode for constructed response items other than for a Writing test. For Writing test computer writing aids are disabled (e.g., grammar and spelling checks) that interfere with what is to be scored.
  3. Computer-based testing with glossary without content related definitions
  4. Bilingual word list, customized dictionaries (word-to-word translations), and glossary provided for words that are not content related
  5. Format clarification of test
  6. Directions clarified
  7. Directions explained or clarified in English
  8. Directions explained or clarified in native language
  9. Both oral and written directions in English provided
  10. Both oral and written directions in native language provided
  11. Directions translated into native language, including audio-taped directions

Category 2: Category 2 accommodations may have an effect on student performance that should be considered when interpreting individual criterion- and norm-referenced test scores. In the absence of research demonstrating otherwise, scores and any consequences or decisions associated with them should be interpreted in light of the accommodation(s) used.

TABE Category 2: Presentation

  1. Have stimulus material, questions, and/or answer choices read aloud, except for reading
  2. Use a tape recorder for stimulus material, questions, and/or answer choices, except for reading
  3. Have stimulus material, questions, and/or answer choices presented through sign language, except for a reading test
  4. Communication devices (e.g., text talk converter), except for a reading test
  5. Use a calculator or arithmetic tables, except for a mathematics computation test

TABE Category 2: Response

  1. Use graph paper to align work
  2. For constructed-response items, indicate responses to a scribe, except for a writing test

TABE Category 2: Timing and Scheduling

  1. Use extra time for any timed test
  2. Take more breaks that result in extra time for any timed test
  3. Extend the timed section of a test over more than one day, even if extra time does not result
  4. Have flexible scheduling that results in extra time

TABE Category 2: ELL specific

  1. Test items read aloud in linguistically clarified English** on a test other than reading
  2. Test items read aloud in native language on a test other than reading
  3. Test items read aloud in English on a test other than reading
  4. Audio-taped test items provided in English on a test other than reading
  5. Test that is linguistically clarified in English for words not related to content on non-reading (e.g. words defined, explained) in English
  6. Oral response in English using a scribe for tests other than writing*
  7. Written response in native language translated into English for tests other than writing*
  8. Audio taped test items provided in native language version provided for content other than reading and writing.
  9. Side-by-side bilingual test or translated version provided for content other than reading and writing.

*These may be appropriate, but not feasible for most ELL learners.

**Linguistic clarifications are developed and provided by test publisher, not by test administrator.

For additional information, please see:

Guidelines for Inclusive Test Administration 2005

Standardized Assessment Accommodations

The National Reporting System (NRS) for Adult Basic Education requires that participating students be pre-tested and post-tested with one or more state-approved, adult-appropriate standardized test. The purpose of assessment is to ensure consistent and accurate identification of students’ education functioning levels at intake and at program exit. That information is then used to measure improvement. Standardized assessment also plays a valuable role in providing quality services to students participating in Adult Education programs. Good standardized assessment information can help to determine appropriate placement, guide selection of instructional content and teaching strategies, monitor progress and evaluate program effectiveness.

Tests from the CASAS and TABE assessment systems can be used to satisfy NRS standardized testing requirements. CASAS tests are available for the content areas of reading, listening, writing and math, while TABE tests are available for reading, math and language.

Assessing Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities have the right to participate in educational programs without discrimination. With regard to assessment, this means that students should have the same opportunities to participate in and benefit from assessment activities, including required pre-testing and post-testing with standardized tests, as students who do not have disabilities. Students with disabilities also have the right to reasonable accommodations during an assessment.

Adult students with disabilities are responsible for providing evidence of their disability and for requesting necessary accommodations, if needed, in a timely fashion—ideally at intake. It is also the student’s responsibility to provide documentation concerning their disabilities and the need for accommodation.

Literacy programs, in turn, must provide “reasonable accommodations” to persons with disabilities. Not all students with disabilities will need accommodations during assessment. But accommodations should be used when needed to allow students with disabilities to participate in standardized assessment.

Test Accommodations

Accommodations are changes that are made in test administration that do not decrease the validity of the assessment. The publishers of the adult-appropriate standardized tests used in Minnesota provide guidelines for accommodations when using their assessments. Results for students who receive test accommodations can and should be used when appropriate to determine educational functioning level and to document level change.

Test Modifications

Modifications are changes made to standardized test administration that compromise the validity of the standardized scores. Tests administered using modified procedures can still yield valuable information regarding students’ knowledge and skills which can be used to provide feedback to the student regarding progress, aid in instructional decision-making, and contribute to program evaluation. Test results obtained under modified administration procedures, however, may not be used to determine entering educational levels for NRS purposes. 

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