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CAPA Core Adaptations

How to adapt test tasks to address the unique needs of children with disabilities.

Students eligible for the California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) represent a diverse population. Without compromising the comparability of scores, adaptations are allowed on the CAPA to ensure the student’s optimal performance. The CAPA includes two types of adaptations:

  1. Suggested adaptations for particular tasks, as specified in the task preparation; and
  2. Core adaptations that are applicable for many of the tasks.

The list that follows includes the core adaptations that may be appropriate for students across many of the CAPA tasks, and is not specifically limited to the disability subcategory listed. The examiner should become familiar with these core adaptations and use them when appropriate. Unlisted adaptations (such as COLORING stimulus cards) are not allowed. If an adaptation is not listed, check with the CDE before beginning the administration of CAPA to the student.

General Adaptations:
  • The following are interchangeable: “Show me,” “Point to,” “Give me,” “Find.”
  • Position manipulatives and stimulus cards in the way that students can best perceive them.
  • Place materials on a surface with a boundary so they will not fall away or roll out of reach as a student uses them.
  • Structure the testing environment to eliminate distractions for students who are particularly distractible.
Visual Impairments:
  • As needed, enlarge stimulus cards.
  • Substitute Braille, textured, or auditory materials (such as a beeping ball) for visual stimulus materials if such materials are used regularly by the student.
  • Cut the actual outlines of shapes and figures from stimulus cards.
  • Change cues such as “Show me” to cues such as “Tell me.”
  • Describe pictures as needed.
  • Allow students to handle objects as needed.
  • If a student uses glasses, they should be worn during the assessment.
Auditory Impairments:
  • Allow the student to use an augmentative communication device.
  • Use American Sign Language (ASL) or manually coded English in place of oral speech when appropriate.
  • Allow nonverbal students to respond with gestures, movements, or vocalization in place of speech.
  • When appropriate, accept eye gaze as a way of indicating a response.
  • If a student uses hearing aids, they should be worn during the assessment. Check the aids daily to make sure they are functioning properly.
Sensorimotor Impairments:
  • Extend wait times if the student has difficulty initiating an activity.
  • Accept a change in muscle tone or a change in facial expression as an observed behavior.
  • Position and stabilize the student so that the most controlled movement is possible.
  • Allow students to direct another in performing physical tasks.
Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office | | 916-445-8765
Last Reviewed: Monday, April 27, 2015

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