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The Passport to Higher Education: Disability Documentation That Students Need Addressing Achievement Gaps: Students with Learning Disabilities Transitioning.

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Presentation on theme: "The Passport to Higher Education: Disability Documentation That Students Need Addressing Achievement Gaps: Students with Learning Disabilities Transitioning."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Passport to Higher Education: Disability Documentation That Students Need Addressing Achievement Gaps: Students with Learning Disabilities Transitioning from High School to College The Passport to Higher Education: Disability Documentation That Students Need Addressing Achievement Gaps: Students with Learning Disabilities Transitioning from High School to College Princeton, NJ October 4, 2006 Loring C. Brinckerhoff, Ph.D. Director, Office of Disability Policy Educational Testing Service

2 ETS Confidential & Proprietary ETS Web Page

3 ETS Confidential & Proprietary ETS Policy Statements for LD, ADHD, Psychiatric and Physical Disabilities ETS mission Confidentiality statement Qualified professional must conduct the evaluation Documentation must be current Documentation to support the diagnosis must be comprehensive Documentation must include a specific diagnosis

4 ETS Confidential & Proprietary ETS Policy Statements for LD, ADHD, Psychiatric and Physical Disabilities Documentation must include a description of the current functional limitations Actual test scores from standardized instruments must be provided Each accommodation recommended by the evaluator must include a rationale Alternative diagnoses or explanations should be ruled out

5 ETS Confidential & Proprietary “a relative performance deficit” “a glitch” “a learning problem” “a functional limitation that substantially limits” Keep this Continuum in mind

6 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Eligibility Considerations Does the test taker have a disability that necessitates testing accommodations? Does the test taker receive accommodations in school or the workplace…based on the disability? Does the documentation meet the criteria outlined inthe ETS Policy Statements?

7 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Writing Quality Reports: 12 Pitfalls to Consider Pitfall #1 - Documentation should be typed or printed on letterhead, dated, signed, and be legible with the name, title and professional credentials of the evaluator. Pitfall #2 - Documentation should be recent. Documentation should be no more than 5 years old for LD; 3 years for ADHD and 6 months for psychiatric disabilities. Pitfall #3 - Documentation should include the reason for referral.

8 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Writing Quality Reports: 12 Pitfalls to Consider (cont.) Pitfall #4 - Documentation should include a listing of all the tests that were used to establish the disability and to support the accommodation requests. Evaluation measures selected for the assessment battery should be reliable, valid, and age appropriate. Pitfall #5 - Documentation should include developmental, educational, and medical histories. Pitfall #6 - The diagnostic report should have a clear statement of the disability.

9 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Writing Quality Reports: 12 Pitfalls to Consider (cont.) Pitfall #7 - It is important that the report includes a “rule-out” statement. Pitfall #8 - The report should provide appropriate measures of achievement. Pitfall #9 - Test results should be clearly stated with all subtests noted.

10 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Writing Quality Reports: 12 Pitfalls to Consider (cont.) Pitfall #10 - The clinical summary should recap the high points, rule out alternative explanations, and summarize how the findings support any “substantial limitation” to a major life activity. Pitfall #11 - Support for the requested accommodations must be tied to specific test results. Pitfall #12 - Support for extended testing time should be specifically addressed by the evaluator.

11 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Accommodation Trends in High Stakes Testing Accommodation requests for licensure and high stakes exams are receiving greater scrutiny Co-morbid diagnoses mean accommodation decisions are more complex More documentation is being received from foreign countries More requests by test takers to use the latest technology with the test SOPs become part of documentation “Relative performance deficits” aren’t cutting it for accommodations

12 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Determining Accommodations Section 504 requires “individualized determination” of accommodations requested Blanket policies for any one disability group should be avoided Past history of an accommodation may be relevant in making an accommodation decision Testing agencies and disability service providers do not have to change their standards; or provide accommodations that are an undue hardship

13 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Reasonable Accommodations Additional time (1.5 or double time, typically) Additional rest breaks Larger font size, larger monitor; non-glare screen Large print answer sheet Audio tapes, or a reader

14 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Reasonable Accommodations (cont.) Scribe or keyboard entry aide Quiet room with “a few others” or a separate room Basic 4-function calculator ETS Spell-checker Other accommodations/courtesies considered –Colored overlays –Additional scratch paper –Multi-day testing

15 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Sources of Accommodation Conflicts 1.Accommodation requests are too sweeping and include student’s learning preferences 2.Accommodations may be presented as a menu of options for students to try out and may not be supported by data 3.Evaluators often recommend multiple accommodations (i.e., a laundry list) for a specific functional limitation

16 ETS Confidential & Proprietary Sources of Accommodation Conflicts (cont.) 4.Evaluators typically do not distinguish between study skills, remedial strategies, counseling, and ADA accommodations 5.Accommodation requests are couched in disability jargon and may not be warranted 6.Students often request accommodations they have used in the classroom for test- taking situations

17 ETS Confidential & Proprietary New ETS policy on LD and LD/ADHD Documentation Shelf Life A complete diagnostic reevaluation is no longer necessary for basic accommodations (time and one half and/or additional rest breaks) if ALL of the following apply: Test taker has a longstanding learning disability, or learning disability with ADHD (LD/ADHD); and Test taker has provided ETS with a signed Certification of Eligibility (COE) that attests that the documentation is written in accordance with the ETS Documentation Criteria using adult measures (e.g., WAIS-III, Woodcock-Johnson III, etc.); and Test taker has a history of receiving accommodations on campus or on the job. Source:


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