Modifications: Everything You Need to Know

This term refers to the adjustments made to what a child is required to learn in school. Some common examples of modifications include reworded questions in easier language, pass/no pass grading option, less homework, daily feedback to a student, use of alternate books, etc.

While it’s true that modifications can make school life easier for students, including those who think and learn differently, they may have some serious consequences. Every public school has academic standards for what students are anticipated to learn in each grade. These standards apply to math, reading, and other subjects. For example, third graders are generally expected to learn multiplication. However, modifications may change these expectations. Consider a third-grader with math-related challenges who hasn’t fully learned addition. The school might offer a modification to keep the student working on addition while other students in the class move on to multiplication.

Despite the advantages offered by modifications, the result might be that a student learns less compared to their peers. They might fall behind on crucial skills, which, over time, may put them at a significant disadvantage. Some states require students to clear a high school exit exam to graduate. A student for whom modifications were applied might not be in a good position to clear this exam. Another downside is that in some states, students who receive modifications might not be eligible to earn a high school diploma. This might limit their future education or career options.

At the same time, some students might require modifications in particular academic areas. For instance, students with dyslexia can experience trouble with spelling. An IEP team might decide that spending a significant amount of time learning spelling isn’t a proper utilization of the student’s time. They might develop a modification that allows the student to learn a smaller number of spelling words and utilize spellcheck instead.

Additionally, students who’re far behind and cannot yet work at grade level might require modifications. For instance, if a kid is reading several grades below their grade level, their IEP might include modifications for reading. However, the IEP should still set goals to enable the kid to catch up and make progress toward their grade-level standard.

Because of the drawbacks, it’s wise to try other options before utilizing a modification. Many children only need to be taught using a different way. An enhanced teaching strategy might help a kid learn and keep up with their peers.

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