Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications

Accommodations and modifications are terms mostly used in both the education and workplace fields. They both refer to changes that are made to help people with disabilities to succeed. Regardless of their respective and specific characteristics and meanings, the terms have been interchanged for a long time.

To break the ice, the distinction lines need to be drawn. The differences can be brought out by exploring their respective meanings, examples, as well as other characteristics. Here are points of view of each from the education field.


What is Accommodation?

This refers to the change in the procedures applied or used in a certain area to attend to a task. However, what is being measured by the task or challenge is not changed in this case. In a classroom situation, for example, a student may be given additional time to finish an assessment test for them to minimize distractions.

In such a case, the procedures of the test will be modified or ‘accommodated’ to help the student to succeed. However, the way the test will be graded or how the student will be assessed after the test will not be changed.

Other Examples of Accommodation

  • Hands-on activities
  • Seating in front of a room for average or poorly performing students.
  • Allowing students to take a test in quieter environments.
  • Additional tutoring time.
  • Working in smaller groups
  • Giving a student study guides from the teachers.
  • Reducing the homework or assignment workload.
  • Establishing extra communication between the teacher, student, and involving their parents.
  • Applying positive reinforcement behavior strategies.
  • Getting sign language interpreters for students with hearing complications.
  • Offering large-print learning materials.


What is Modification?

Modification refers to a situation where what is being assessed or measured is changed, but the procedures are not modified. In a classroom setup, for example, a student may be given an oral spelling test instead of a written one. In this case, the actual test or assessment will have been changed, but the procedure of doing it will remain the same.

Other Examples of Modifications

  • Allowing a student to use a calculator during an exam assessment.
  • Reducing the number of similar questions in a test.
  • Reducing reading levels.
  • Simplifying the lessons that a student takes to increase their level of understanding.
  • Simplifying the vocabulary used.
  • Adjusting the grading level, for instance, to weighted grading.


Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications

The major differences between the two terms include:

Meaning of Accommodation Vs. Modification

Accommodations are procedures that alter how a student learns by changing the procedures. As such, it does not change what the student or pupil is supposed to learn or to be tested on and include altering the environment, format of the curriculum, or equipment used.

Modifications, on the other hand, refer to the process of altering what a student or pupil learns or is being tested on. In this case, it can refer to changes in curriculum changing the standard expectations for an assessment or course, shortening assignments, or coming up with easier-to-read materials.

Classroom Instructions in Accommodation Vs. Modification

Accommodation can be used to help a learner to use the same materials and meet the same expectations as others. Conversely, modification can be used to make changes to the curriculum where the learner is not expected to learn what others will learn.

Classroom Tests in Accommodation Vs. Modification

Accommodation may be applied to change the way a student handles an assessment while modification will be used to change the assessment or materials from the normal to less complex ones.

Testing in Accommodation Vs. Modification

While applying accommodation, a student may be allowed, for example, to take extra time or to use extra resources like a computer or calculator. On the other hand, while using modification, a student can take an alternate assessment or a modification of the regular one.

Accommodations Vs. Modifications: Comparison Table



The two methods are not a doubt dissimilar based on their characteristics: how and what is being learned respectively. One can tell their differences by understanding the common meaning of each word as a noun. While deciding what to use between accommodations and modifications, one needs to draw the differentiation based on the conditions behind each. Such conditions include the exact needs of the individuals in question. For example, accommodation is more preferred to modification when it comes to ADHD children.


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References :

[0]"The Difference Between Accommodations And Modifications". Understood.Org, 2019, https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/educational-strategies/the-difference-between-accommodations-and-modifications.

[1]Understood.org. Accommodations Vs Modifications. 2019, https://youtu.be/bkSvHF5Dj7U. Accessed 10 May 2019.

[2]"What Is The Difference Between Accommodation And Modification For A Student With A Disability? | DO-IT". Washington.Edu, 2019, https://www.washington.edu/doit/what-difference-between-accommodation-and-modification-student-disability.

[3]"What Is The Main Difference Between An Accommodation And A Modification?". Learning Disabilities Association Of America, 2019, https://ldaamerica.org/faq/what-is-the-main-difference-between-an-accommodation-and-a-modification/.

[4]Image credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2014/07/25/08/26/school-class-401519_960_720.jpg

[5]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Special-Education-Accommodations-Infographic-434x575.jpg

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