Accommodations for High Stakes Tests

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The Americans with Disabilities Act, A.D.A. allows students with a qualifying learning disability diagnosis to receive special accommodations when taking an exam. The documentation is extensive and must show that the learning disorder significantly interferes with the ability to take the test under regular conditions.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with learning disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights to equal access to programs and services. In order to access these rights, an individual must present documentation indicating that the disability substantially limits some major life activity, including learning. Documentation requirements are provided in the interest of assuring that LD documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids.  

While proper documentation can not guarantee a specific outcome, we have a thorough understanding of the laws and process by which students can receive accommodations for their disability.   Requirements for documentation are presented in four important areas:
(1) qualifications of the evaluator; (2) recency of documentation; (3) appropriate clinical documentation to substantiate the disability; and (4) evidence to establish a rationale
supporting the need for accommodations.

What are accommodations?

Accommodations are alterations in the way tasks are presented or taken that allow the student with learning disabilities to complete the same assignments as other students. Accommodations do not give students an unfair advantage or change what a test measures. They do make it possible for students with LD to show what they know without being impeded by their disability.

How does a student receive accommodations?

Two words... Neuropsychological Testing.  Once a student has been formally evaluated and a learning disability has been documented, the student or parent may request accommodations.   The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that a child's IEP (Individualized Education Program) team which both parent and child are a part of – must decide which accommodations are appropriate for him/her.  Appropriate accommodations should be written into a student's IEP.  Contact Us to ask questions or set up an evaluation. We can make referrals to a local tester.

Examples of Accommodations 

  • Timing: 
    • Extended Time 
    • Breaks during Test that do not count against the time
  • Presentation: 
    • Audio tape
    • Large print
    • Reduceed items per page 
    • Provide a reader
    • Present instructions orally
  • Response: 
    • Allow for verbal responses
    • Allow for answers to be dictated to a scribe
    • Allow the use of a tape recorder to capture responses
    • Permit responses to be given via computer
    • Permit answers to be recorded directly into test booklet
  • Setting: 
    • Administer a test in small group setting
    • Administer a test in private room or alternative test site
    • Provide preferential seating
    • Provide special lighting or acoustics
    • Provide a space with minimal distractions
  • Test Scheduling 
    • Administer a test in several timed sessions or over several days
    • Allow subtests to be taken in a different order
    • Administer a test at a specific time of day
  • Other 
    • Provide special test preparation
    • Provide on-task/focusing prompts
    • Provide any reasonable accommodation that a student needs that does not fit under the existing categories

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