Modified Assignments /Instructions

The Strategy

Modified assignments/instructions is a strategy in which the teacher alters the assignment or instructions given to a student. Modifying classroom assignments or instructions is a way to make the assignment easier or better matched to the student’s developmental level to increase the likelihood that the student completes the assignment. Modified assignments may increase student motivation which in turn may help the student complete the task. Although this strategy may lead to higher rates of classwork completion, it will not provide the student with skills that allow them to meet typical classroom expectations. Thus, this strategy should be used in conjunction with other strategies (notetaking training; self-monitoring; daily report card; student choice) that facilitate skill development.

  1. Identify assignment types or content areas that are particularly difficult for the student. For example, consider subjects with low completion rates and/or assignment types that tend to lead to student frustration or restlessness after a period of time.
  2. Discuss these difficulties with the student’s educational and mental health support team to identify appropriate modifications for this student (e.g., give a word bank for fill in the blank questions, allow student to type or orally present their responses, when the task typically includes providing the word and the student must write the definition, modify by giving the student the definition and asking them to write the word to allow for less writing).
  3. Describe the modification and its purpose to the student (the level of detail provided can be based on the student’s developmental level) and the student’s parents. Be specific about which assignments this modification will be applied.
  4. Determine when the team will meet again to assess the impact of this strategy on academic and behavioral performance.
  5. Use Beacon progress monitoring tools to evaluate the extent to which this strategy is improving the target behaviors as intended.

  • Expectations for modified assignments and instructions should be clear and enforced. Make sure that the student knows exactly what is expected of them to receive credit for assignment completion each day.
  • To reduce negative perceptions by peers, remind students privately about their modified instructions or assignment after providing the whole class instruction.
  • Consider using this strategy as a short-term solution. To help the student meet age-appropriate expectations with regard to assignments, gradually decrease the modifications given. See Peer Tutoring or Daily Report Card interventions for details.

Because modifying assignments does not effectively build the skills students need to independently meet age-appropriate expectations, it cannot be evaluated for effectiveness. The goal of modified assignments is to help a student keep up with classwork or homework and prevent them from falling behind in the class. If this strategy is selected for use in the short term, it is recommended that it be replaced at some point with an intervention to help the student develop the skills needed to independently meet age-appropriate expectations for completing and submitting homework and classwork on time.

Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

Select an age group:


Other suitable presenting problems