Accommodations are changes to assessments that allow ELs to "show what they know."

Examples of Accommodations include:

  • Giving students extra time to complete an assignment
  • Reading aloud directions, test items, or
  • Chunking assignments or directions
  • Allowing students to show understanding in an alternate way, such as drawing, pointing, or labeling
  • Providing a word bank or sentence stems
  • Simplifying the language of an assignment
  • Using native language support
  • Highlighting key words and phrases

Accommodations available on state tests include:


The Five Pillars of Equitably Grading ELLs

SupportEd - Free Tools


Modifications are changes to instruction that allow ELs to access the content you teach. Assessments can also be modified to support a student's language progress if they are changed to assess something different than the original assessment

Examples of Modifications include:

  • Using a lower reading level
  • Providing remediation of previously taught skills
  • Using sentence frames or word banks
  • Including scaffolded opportunities to talk about content using academic language
  • Providing alternate assignments based on EL student progress in acquiring English
  • Using cognates
  • Using visuals
  • Modeling
  • Using hands-on learning or manipulatives


Colorin Colorado

EdWeek Article by Larry Ferlazzo

MDE - Accommodations and Modifications for ELs