What is a District Curriculum Accommodation Plan?

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Section 38Q require the adoption and implementation
of a District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP). Such plan is intended to guide principals
and teachers in ensuring that all possible efforts are made to meet student needs in general
education classrooms and to support teachers in analyzing and accommodating the wide range of
student learning styles and needs that exist in any school. The statute also encourages teacher
collaboration and parent involvement.

This District Curriculum Accommodation Plan is written to summarize resources and procedures
that are available to teachers and principals to meet students’ needs in regular education.

Overview of Accommodations

Accommodations are changes in how a student gains access to information and demonstrates
his/her learning. Such changes are made to provide a student with equal access to learning along
with an equal opportunity to be able to show what he/she knows or can do. Accommodations do
NOT change the instructional level, content, or performance criteria. (These latter changes are
called modifications.)

For many, the suggested list of accommodations would simply be thought of as best educational
practices. Accommodations and other strategies are organized under the following headings or

  • Environmental/Physical/Structural
  • Instructional/Curricular
  • Testing/Assessment
  • Social/Behavioral
  • Staff and Parent Supports/Collaboration

Preschool/Elementary Curriculum Accommodations


  • Provide strategic seating
  • Alter physical room arrangement
  • Reduce/minimize distractions
  • Allow for movement or sensory breaks
  • Define work and play areas, e.g., study carrels, etc.

Behavioral/Social Emotional

  • Use of transitional cues
  • Access to guidance counselor
  • Access to Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Provide behavior plans, e.g., positive reinforcement, rewards and incentives
  • Create consistent limits for behavioral expectations


  • Allow additional time for organization/packing
  • Provide organizational strategies, e.g., timers, verbal and/or visual cues, transition cues
  • Use of check list/cues

Instructional/Assistive Technology

  • Practice wait time
  • Share and review exemplars
  • Provide graphic organizers
  • Allow buddy checks
  • Provide reference guides, e.g., word walls, charts
  • Allow access to low assistive technology tools, e.g., line markers, highlighter, alternate lined paper, slant boards, alternate pencil grips
  • Use alpha smarts/word processing software, computational aides
  • Use manipulatives
  • Highlight visually and orally critical material
  • Provide opportunities to dictate to teacher or recorder/scribe


  • Use alternate setting for assessments
  • Allow extra time if needed

Middle/High School Curriculum Accommodations


  • Provide strategic seating
  • Use visual, auditory and transitional aides
  • Allow alternate workspace, such as study carrel or dividers
  • Experiment with use of space
  • Limit distractions
  • Allow for movement and sensory breaks
  • Offer flexible student groupings


  • Cue student for change of behavior and/or venue
  • Develop strategies for behavior modification, e.g., charts, contracts, check lists, behavior plans incentives, rewards
  • Establish clear routines/expectations
  • Use diverse classroom management strategies
  • Provide breaks as needed
  • Set clearly defined standards
  • School counseling services
  • Allow access to other professional personnel, e.g. nurse


  • Establish clear routines
  • Use time management tools, e.g. daily planner, assignment sheet, calendar, timers

Instructional/Assistive Technology

  • Offer after-school support
  • Provide assistance with note taking
  • Provide manipulatives
  • Vary teaching strategies (i.e. visual and transition cues, study guides, graphic organizers,
  • Provide wait time
  • Incorporate reading strategies
  • Include study skill strategies
  • Provide copy of class notes, enlarged copies of handouts, copy of projected material, etc.
  • Assistive technology e.g., word processor, alphasmarts, software
  • Accept computer-processed or typed assignments
  • Offer calculators when appropriate
  • Models or examples of end products


  • Use of alternate setting for assessments
  • Allow limited oral testing
  • Teach test taking strategies
  • Provide varied assignments
  • Provide alternate forms of assessments e.g., oral, project based, performance based, etc.