About Teresa

Teresa Cooper is a 30-something divorced mom and teacher from North Carolina. She has a Masters of Science in Education for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University and a BA in Psychology with a minor in Creative from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having struggled with anxiety and depression most of her life and later having birthed a child with autism, she is passionate about spreading awareness and acceptance of mental illness and autism. After 13 years in education, she has a wealth of knowledge to share on education and bonding with children.

When it comes to accommodations and modifications, very few educators have a solid grasp of the differences between the two. What’s the difference between accommodations and modifications? Here’s how to tell them apart!

Accommodations vs. Modifications

An accommodation helps a student with learning gaps experience the same curriculum as his or her peers. For an accommodation, you will give strategies, but you don’t alter the curriculum and the learning outcomes remain the same.

A modification helps a student with a more significant learning need to experience the same curriculum as his or her peers, but with the different learning outcomes.

For both an accommodation and a modification, this all happens in the general education classroom.

While accommodations use tools, materials, technology, visual aids, and timing to help the student access the curriculum to learn the same content as his or her peers, a modification’s intent is to help the student experience the curriculum, but not necessarily learn the same content as his or her peers.

With an accommodation, the grading will remain the same, but with a modification, grading may change.

Things like extra time on tests, shortened assignments, mark in book, preferential seating, dictate to scribe, and read aloud would fall under the category of accommodations. Changing assignments to simplify vocabulary, lowering the reading level of a test, and grading based on different standards than general education peers all fall under the area of modifications.

In short, we use accommodations to allow students with less serious disabilities to access the same curriculum and meet the same learning goals as their peers. We use modifications to allow students with more serious achievement gaps or disabilities to experience the same curriculum as their peers but not necessarily meet the same learning goals as their peers.

You may want to think of education like running a race when you think about using accommodations and modifications. Accommodations level the playing field and modifications change the field you’re playing on.


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