New Jersey Department of Education

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Special Education

Accommodations and Modifications of Test Administration Procedures for Statewide Assessments

In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), students who are receiving special education services must participate in the statewide assessment system.  Students must participate in the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge in grades three through eight (NJ ASK 3-8), the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), New Jersey Biology Competency Test (NJBCT), and the Alternative High School Assessment (AHSA) in each subject area of the age-appropriate assessment with the following exception:

"Students with disabilities shall participate in the Alternate Proficiency Assessment in each content area where the nature of the student’s disability is so severe that the student is not receiving instruction in any of the knowledge and skills measured by the general statewide assessment and the student cannot complete any of the types of questions on the assessment in the content area(s) even with accommodations and modifications. (New Jersey Administrative Code Chapter 6A:14-4.11[a]2)."

Students with disabilities eligible for special education and related services and those students eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act may have accommodations and/or modifications during the administration of the statewide assessments. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 team makes decisions about accommodations/modifications. Information about test content and item types from the directories of test specifications can be used to make these decisions.

The following list addresses the accommodations/modifications that may be used during the administration of the NJ ASK 3-8, HSPA, NJBCT, and the AHSA.

Accommodations that will be utilized during statewide assessments for a student must be listed in the IEP or 504 plans. Accommodations used during statewide testing should be consistent with instructional and assessment procedures used in the classroom.

These accommodations also appear in the test coordinator and/or examiner manuals distributed to districts prior to each test cycle using terminology that applies to the specific test. Please refer to the specific test manual for additional instructions regarding the use of accommodations and for logistical considerations. The use of accommodations must be recorded on the student’s test booklet* or answer folder** according to the instructions in the test coordinator’s manuals.

Advanced planning is integral to implementing accommodations/modifications effectively and ensuring that the security of test materials is maintained. If a student requires an accommodation or modification that is not listed below, contact the Office of Student Learning Assessments.

Please refer to the Test Examiner Manual and the Test Coordinator Manual of each specific test administration for further guidance.

*A scannable test booklet is used with the NJ ASK 3-4 only.

**An answer folder is used with the NJ ASK 5-8, HSPA, NJBCT, and the AHSA.



A. Setting Accommodations

1. Administering the assessment:

a. individually in a separate room
b. in a small group in a separate room
c. in the resource room
d. in a special education classroom
e. at home or in a hospital (this will depend on the nature of the assessment task)

2. Seating the student in the front of the room near the examiner or proctor

3. Seating the student facing the examiner or proctor

4. Providing special lighting

5. Providing special furniture e.g., desks, trays, carrels

B.  Scheduling Accommodations

1. Adding time as needed

2. Providing frequent breaks

3. Terminating a section of the test when a student has indicated that he/she has completed all the items he/she can. The examiner must ensure that the student has attempted all items in a section since items are not ordered by difficulty. When this accommodation is used, the test must be administered in a small group or individually to avoid distraction.

C. Test Materials Modifications

1. Administering the large-print version of the test

2. Administering the Braille version of the test

D. Test Procedure Modifications

1. Administration modifications

a. reading directions aloud

b. reading test items aloud (do not read aloud or sign the reading passages in Language Arts Literacy –the reading items may be read or signed); ONLY the teacher who must read the test items aloud or sign is permitted to have a test booklet assigned to him/her for this task

c. providing and ensuring that amplification (hearing aid and/or FM system) is in working order

d. using a sign language or cued speech interpreter to sign or cue the directions or test items but NOT the reading passages

e. masking a portion of the test booklet and/or answer folder to eliminate visual distractors or providing reading windows

f. repeating, clarifying, or rewording directions ONLY

g. providing written directions on a separate sheet or transparency

h. using an examiner who is familiar with the student

i. using an examiner who can communicate fluently in sign language (American Sign Language or a form of Manually Coded English)

j. providing manipulatives for math items e.g., number line, counting chips, abacus (for NJ ASK 3-8 ONLY)

k. using graph paper for HSPA Mathematics (all students are permitted graph paper for NJ ASK 3-8)

l. using a Braille ruler and talking calculator or large-face calculator

m. using tactile or visual cues for deaf or hard of hearing students to indicate time to begin, time remaining, and time to end a particular part of the test

n. using calculators for NJ ASK 3-8 Mathematics (all students are permitted calculators for HSPA)           

2. Response modifications

a. having an examiner record the student’s identification information on the test booklet and/or answer folder

b. dictating oral responses to a scribe (examiner or proctor who writes from dictation)

c. using a Braille writer to record responses

d. signing responses to a sign language interpreter (student must indicate all punctuation and must spell all key words)

e. recording responses on a word processor (all editorial functions MUST be disabled)

f. providing an augmentative communication device

g. using a larger diameter or modified special grip # 2 pencil

h. circling answers in the test booklet (the examiner subsequently transfer the answers to the answer folder); for the NJ ASK 3-4, the examiner bubbles the student’s answer choice in the scannable test booklet

i. allowing separate additional continuation pages for writing tasks


Ensure that:

  1. any medication has been appropriately adjusted so it will not interfere with the student’s functioning.

  2. eyeglasses are used, if needed.

  3. hearing aids, FM systems, augmentative communication devices, word processors, or other types of equipment are functioning properly.

  4. source and strength of light are appropriate.

  5. all students can clearly see and hear the examiner.

  6. all deaf or hard of hearing students who communicate aurally/orally are watching the examiner when instructions are given.