REACH - Reaching to educate all children for heaven

Our Mission — To foster an enriched ECE-12 system where learners of varying abilities thrive according to their unique strengths.


The terms accommodation and modification can be confusing, although they are different.


Accommodations provide different ways for students to take in information or communicate their knowledge to the teacher. Accommodations do not alter or lower the standards or expectations for the curriculum covered or material to be tested on. Students are expected to meet the same standards set for all the other students. Accommodations do not change the measurement of work completed.


Modifications refer to changes in the classroom curriculum or test’s delivery, content, quantity, or instructional level. Modifications create a different standard for children whose learning differences require more intense adjustments than simply making accommodations. In effect, modifications result in lowering or raising the expectations and standards so that the students with learning differences are not expected to master the same academic content as the other students in the classroom. This could entail changing the material from what the rest of the class is learning, changing what the student will be tested on, or changing how the student will be graded. The material is adjusted to the academic level and ability of the student.


  • For example, in Math, an accommodation would be to adjust the homework only to assign every other problem. A modification would allow the student always to use a calculator or multiplication chart.
  • In Spelling, an accommodation allows the student to use an electronic speller, while a modification uses a spelling list on the student’s level.
    • For Science, including a word bank with the test is an accommodation, while an open-book test is a modification.
    • In Testing, accommodations include giving the student extended time or reading the test orally. In addition, a modification is using a modified grading scale to lower the percentages for letter grades.


A   80 – 100%

B   70-79%

C   60-69%

D   50-59%


Many questions have arisen on how to report the progress of students learning with accommodations or modifications. The answers to these questions for U.S. schools differ between elementary and secondary. In all cases, using accommodations does not affect the reporting of grades and credits on report cards or transcripts. Modifications, however, must be treated differently.

Please note that in Canada, protocols are clearly outlined for recording any modifications and accommodations made to a student’s academic program. In addition, schools must adhere to the reporting requirements outlined by the Provincial Ministry of Education. Classroom teachers are advised to contact their conference REACH representative if they have questions or need assistance understanding the provincial requirements.


  • Accommodations may be indicated on progress reports or the accommodation form for use by subsequent teachers
  • Modifications should be described in the progress report comment box or by attaching a Modified Action Plan (MAP) to the progress report. For example, a fifth-grade student working at a third-grade math level could receive a “B” for his third-grade work. The grade level would be indicated in the comment box or on the MAP.
  • Disabilities should not be indicated on progress reports.
  • MAPs should be included in a student’s cumulative folder.


  • Accommodations can be indicated on progress reports to show what support the student is receiving.
  • The use of modifications requires parental permission and should be incorporated in a Modified Action Plan (MAP).
  • It is recommended that modifications be identified as “A.L.” alternative learning, for example, “A.L.—U.S. History” or “Introduction to U.S. History.” Just as “A.P. History” indicates a different curriculum, “A.L. History” or “Introduction to History” shows a curriculum based on the ability of the student.
  • The registrar must change the course name to reflect the alternative course name on their report card and transcript for the student with modifications. This indicates that the content of the course or the grading has been modified. Therefore, in secondary schools, ongoing communication with the registrar is imperative.