Test taking poses challenges for many students. However, for individuals with disabilities, test taking can present insurmountable obstacles. Student needs vary greatly and depend on specific disabilities and types of tests. Besides traditional tests and papers, instructors should consider group work, demonstrations, portfolios, and presentations as options for demonstrating knowledge. Another possible alternative for taking a math test, for example, might be to require the student to write a test covering the specified material and provide a key showing the work done to solve each problem.
Providing multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge uses the strategy of universal design to allow most students to be able to demonstrate knowledge without specific accommodations. Employing universal design principles in instruction does not eliminate the need for specific accommodations for students with disabilities. If an alternate form of a test is called for, instructors should take steps to ensure that the alternate form measures the same content as the standard test in use.