What’s the Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications?

Inclusive education aims to ensure every student’s learning needs are met. For some students, this might require glasses and a seat near the board. For others, this might be extra time on tests or the use of a calculator.

These educational adaptations are known as accommodations and modifications. The two terms sound similar, but actually refer to different strategies in the inclusive teacher’s toolbox.

Accommodations and modifications are decided and recorded by the school support team, which includes the classroom teacher, the parents, the student, and any learning specialists. Their goal is to provide the student in question with fair learning opportunities.

But which arrangements are modifications and which are accommodations? Essentially, accommodations are about a student’s ability to access information, while modifications are about a student’s ability to experience the information. Examples of accommodations include being given additional time or listening to a story rather than reading it. The content and expectations remain constant; only the engagement style changes.

Modifications, however, change a student’s learning outcome, and adaptations are made to the curriculum requirements. Modified work is often graded differently. Examples of modifications include changing short answer questions to yes/nos or being assigned a story with a different reading level

You can visit educator Nicole Eredic’s blog The Inclusive Classroom, where she shares a handy chart, complete with examples, to explain the different approaches here