Development of the IAP:
Too often, teachers and diagnosticians choose accommodations for disabled learners in an arbitrary fashion. Student assessment data is only superficially considered, if at all. Yet in a recent article published in CEC Today, special educators were reminded once more of the integral role that assessment should play in the selection of accommodations. Unfortunately, research to date has produced few tools and procedures that help teachers reliably identify those accommodations which more effectively bridge students' learning barriers.
The Individualized Accommodation Plan (IAP) Generator, developed by Dr. Joe Sutton and programmed by Dr. James Knisely, is an instrument that assists diagnosticians and teachers in systematically identifying the most appropriate instructional accommodations, modifications, and adaptations that relate directly to a student's assessed cognitive and academic deficits. The IAP Generator can be used with students in special or general education settings who have been classified as disabled (e.g., learning disability, attention deficit disorder, etc.) and for other struggling learners who have cognitive or academic deficits identified through assessment, but who fall short of classification.
From the available literature on instructional modifications and accommodations, the IAP includes three types of accommodations: (1) test-taking; (2) assignment-project completion; and (3) study-class preparation. The IAP was validated in the winter of 1999 by a panel of 24 special education experts (21 professors; 1 district supervisor; and 2 classroom teachers), all with advanced degrees (18 doctorates; 4 masters +30; 2 masters) from ten universities and three local school districts in South Carolina. On average, the panel had more than 20 years of experience. Each panel member was asked to link the cognitive and academic deficits typically assessed by leading IQ and achievement tests with the many different instructional accommodations available. The recommended accommodations represent a majority agreement among the panel members that a student's cognitive (e.g., processing speed) or academic (e.g., math computation) deficits should be compensated by implementing the corresponding accommodation.