Test Aides

The Intervention

Test aides are materials a student can use during an exam to help their performance. Aides may be used for assistance on exam content (e.g., open book, open notes), adjacent skills (e.g., calculator, graph paper, dictionary), or the surrounding environment (e.g., white noise machine; head phones; card board “offices”). Some students become overwhelmed or frustrated on exams for reasons other than their knowledge of the material. Providing test aides may reduce test stress and distractions so the student can attend to the relevant academic material. Although this strategy may lead to higher grades on exams, 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 interventions (Notetaking Training; Self-Monitoring; Daily Report Card; Student Choice) that facilitate skill development.

  1. Identify subject areas that are particularly difficult for the student. For example, consider exams with low grades, low completion rates, and/or exams that tend to lead to student frustration or distraction.
  2. In collaboration with the student and/or their parents, identify appropriate test aides for this student (e.g., spelling aides, calculator, open book, dictionary).
  3. Describe the aide 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 for which exams this aide will be allowed.
  4. Just prior to the exam, review the expectations for utilizing the test aide during exams (e.g., no sharing with classmates). Discuss the consequence of not following this expectation.
  5. Use Beacon progress monitoring tools to evaluate the extent to which this strategy is improving the target behaviors as intended.

  • The goal with this strategy is to reduce stress or distraction during exams. Some aides may inadvertently create more stress if they require extra time to utilize (e.g., flipping through notes to find the needed information). Thus, you should discuss this possible impact with students before the exam (e.g., if using notes, suggest they prepare by highlighting key information) .
  • You may need to explain to other students why this student is allowed use an aide during exams. Teachers can talk to their class about how all students learn in different ways and may need different things to maximize success. You could also allow the student to take the exam privately to reduce negative perceptions by peers.
  • Consider using this strategy as a short-term solution. To help the student meet age-appropriate expectations with regard to exams, gradually decrease the modifications given. See Peer Tutoring, Notetaking Training, Self-Monitoring, Student Choice or Daily Report Card interventions for details.

Because providing or allowing test aides does not effectively build the skills students need to independently meet age-appropriate expectations, it cannot be evaluated for effectiveness. The goal of test aids is to allow a student to have materials that will help them compensate for challenges they may have in order to pass a test. 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 tests without having to rely on aids.

Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

Select an age group:


Other suitable presenting problems