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Eligibility Assessment Requirements at the Postsecondary Level for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Disconnect with Secondary Schools?* Name, Buffalo.

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Presentation on theme: "Eligibility Assessment Requirements at the Postsecondary Level for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Disconnect with Secondary Schools?* Name, Buffalo."— Presentation transcript:

1 Eligibility Assessment Requirements at the Postsecondary Level for Students with Learning Disabilities: A Disconnect with Secondary Schools?* Name, Buffalo State Abstract In order to gain access to services at universities and colleges, students with learning disabilities (LD) must provide documentation of their disability. However, secondary schools are not required by law to provide the documentation often required at the postsecondary level. Too, it appears that secondary schools may collect even less psychometric data if proposed changes to IDEA are adopted during the current reauthorization process. This ‘disconnect’ between what is provided and what is needed in terms of eligibility requirements has become a ‘hot’ topic in the field. Recently, the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) held a discussion on this issue and it was decided that an initial piece of information needed for examining this issue was data about what postsecondary institutions of higher education are requiring for eligibility. Accordingly, this study presents findings about the eligibility requirements of 104 colleges and universities in 36 states. Results show several variables that highlight the discontinuity between evaluation data collected in high school and what is required at the university level. These variables include currency of evaluation, examiner qualifications, areas of diagnosis (e.g., aptitude, processing), use of adult-normed tests, use of discrepancy, and establishing functional impact. Results General consistency among policies and practices for determining eligibility and accommodation provision: Assessment Findings:  Evaluation data must be recent (e.g., 3-5 years) & administered by qualified examiner (e.g., adult experience)  Must use standardized, norm-referenced measures of aptitude, achievement, and information processing.  Must report scores as standard scores and/or percentiles. Eligibility Findings:  Eligibility decisions based on ADA/Section 504 guidelines with emphasis on establishing functional limitations of major life activity. Accommodation Findings:  Accommodations require a clear rationale and history of use along with data from psycho educational evaluations.  Grace periods rarely used that allow accommodations while student obtains needed documentation. Objectives To determine eligibility documentation required by institutions of higher education (IHE) for students with learning disabilities to obtain services and academic accommodations. Background & Rationale Documentation Disconnect: A mismatch exists between available assessment data and required assessment data used to make eligibility and accommodation decisions at postsecondary level as identified by National Joint Council for Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) during postsecondary disability service provider summit (2003). Need to Identify Areas of “Disconnection”: NJCLD initiated exploration of documentation issues by requesting a survey of colleges and universities’ eligibility requirements needed for students with LD to obtain services and academic accommodations. Variables include: evaluation currency examiner qualifications areas of diagnosis adult-normed tests use of discrepancy functional impact Methods Participants: Offices of Disability Services at 2 and 4 year IHE identified via membership lists of Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and Learning Disabilities Association (LDA). Data Collection & Analysis: Documentation related to eligibility and assessment requirements requested and entered into investigator created checklist. Checklist targeted five areas related to diagnostic information: assessment currency, examiner qualifications, required diagnostic areas, recommended or accepted tests, and score reporting. Responses were collated, coded, & tallied. Frequency and percentage data reported. Results show several variables highlighting the discontinuity between evaluation data collected in high school and what is required at the university level. Recommendations Data gathered at secondary level must be framed in ways that are acceptable and useful to postsecondary service providers. Postsecondary personnel must examine how they can adjust current practices in ways that still adhere to the law and are defensible to professors & administrators at their institutions. Both sides need to explore what is possible and acceptable and negotiate a middle ground. *Based on article published in Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability: Gormley, Hughes, Block, & Lindmann, Initiatives to Address the “Disconnect” NJCLD white paper outlining problem & proposing solutions (due Fall 2006) National Transition Documentation Summits’ SOP Template (see


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