USNS Accommodations

Universal Screeners for Number Sense Accessibility Features and Recommendations for Accommodations

The USNS assessments include interviews and paper and pencil portions. The guidance provided here is broken into two sections for each of the assessment formats.


The interview assessments are designed to be accessible to students with diverse needs. The use of manipulatives, and contextualized tasks is especially helpful in supporting students in accessing and understanding the problems. When it is evident that the student does not understand the task, it is appropriate for the teacher to present the task again, paraphrase, or use the student’s home language (when possible.)

For all Students: Supporting students in understanding the tasks and what is being asked of them is appropriate and does not invalidate the assessments. This might include repeating the question, rephrasing the task, and/or giving a short example like, “Counting backward sounds like 3, 2, 1. Now you count back starting at 17.” Be careful not to go so far as to provide unnecessary support. Giving a student a running start, like “20, 19, 18” or “17, 16, 15,…” for this task would be too much support. Support should only be given to help the student understand, not to prompt them toward solutions.

For scoring the USNS, right answers should be counted as correct regardless of the language used. For example, if a kindergarten student is able to read all the numerals from 0-10, but knows some numbers in English and others in Spanish, it should be counted as correct. Careful notes should be taken to inform instruction and help the student achieve the goals of the instructional program.

The USNS are designed to be asset-based assessments. Some will find that it is helpful to pick and choose tasks from various assessments to determine the extent of the student’s abilities. If the district is using the USNS as a universal screener and are utilizing local norms, it is recommended to enter the data for the student’s grade level placement, even if they are unable to access the tasks, so that a true local norm can be established, but then to use the results of the chosen tasks to guide instruction and decision making.

Note: related to the finger tasks for students who are deaf: Because the sign for 3 and 5 are both also indicated by 3 and 5 fingers, this task requires special considerations to be made. If during the reading of the numerals, the teacher feels that they have enough information already collected, use that task to score the finger task. We also suggest asking the student to show 6 fingers, using the sign for 6 to gather this information.

Written Tasks

Accommodations for the administration of the written tasks of the USNS should align with modifications and accommodations that the student receives with other written tasks.

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