Providing a Calculator During Testing is an Unreasonable Accommodation for Student with a Specific Learning Disability

By April 9, 2015 Michelle Todd, News No Comments

The requested accommodation of a calculator for a student with a specific learning disability is not “reasonable” nor required under federal law according to the federal district court in Chicago. The court further denied the parent’s motion for injunctive relief.

In the case of K.P. v. City of Chicago School District #299, the school district provided an IEP for K.P. that allowed for the use of a calculator as a classroom mathematics accommodation with the explicit limitation that it be an “allowable non-standard accommodation.”

K.P. participated in a district-wide math assessment administered for the purpose of determining entrance into a competitive high school. While the assessment’s creator had specifically provided that identified calculators were to be considered a “nonstandard accommodation” that could result in the invalidation of a student’s results, they did not preclude districts from making non-standard accommodations during assessments should an IEP require it. They did note, however, that with the use of non-standard accommodations, the validity of the student’s score would be weakened.

The district court considered several factors in coming to its determination. To begin, the court found there was a fundamental unfairness to nondisabled students who would likely encounter errors as a result of having to do mental calculations. Additionally, the court viewed there to be a strong likelihood that the test scores would be invalidated due to use of the calculator.

Contact Michelle Todd with your student accommodation inquiries.

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