Individuals can get testing accommodations on almost any test that is used to measure an individual’s capability and standing in an educational or professional capacity. These tests are subject to the ADA’s law and are required to provide accommodations to those who are eligible. But which tests do these include? Let’s take a look.
What kinds of tests can I get testing accommodations for?
As defined by Section 309 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “any person (including both public and private entities) that offers examinations related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes must offer such examinations in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities or offer alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals.”
Tests that you can get testing accommodations for include:
- All licensing exams (e.g., law, medicine, construction, etc,.)
- Entrance exams for high schools, colleges, and professional schools
- State-wide tests and equivalency exams (e.g., GED).
How can someone get testing accommodations on standardized tests?
Although there are some critical differences in the requirements for the various test providers, there are a lot of common principles.
The first piece is the documentation of the disability and the need for accommodations. It is essential to have accurate and up-to-date documentation to be eligible to receive accommodations. The specific type of documentation needed will depend on the testing entity as well as the type of disability.
There are generally three types of documentation that can be provided.
- Reports from the applicant about their medical history and statement of their disability.
- Proof of past testing accommodations. This can be either proof of receiving the accommodations previously on the same type of test, or proof of the need for these accommodations in an IEP or 504 plan.
- Reports from qualified professionals.
The first two types of documents may be sufficient for some testing entities, but there is often additional documentation from a third party that displays the disability and requirement for accommodations in an objective manner.
This requirement often includes having some objective test data to support the conclusions and the need for accommodations. Whereas it used to be sufficient to get a note from a doctor, it is now often required to have concrete scores to support the doctor’s findings.
How is it fair to get testing accommodations?
People often feel that getting testing accommodations on tests is unfair to those who don’t get accommodations. It is often felt that having extra time to complete the questions, or to have questions explained, is a way of getting a leg up on other students taking the test.
However, it is important to know the difference between accommodations and modifications to the test material, and how that affects test performance.
As defined by the ADA, “testing accommodations are changes to the regular testing environment and auxiliary aids and services that allow individuals with disabilities to demonstrate their true aptitude or achievement level on standardized exams or other high-stakes tests. “
In general, the concept of accommodations is meant to provide equal access to the educational component of tests rather than any specific advantage. For example, if someone broke their hand before a test and was unable to write, it would not be an unfair advantage to be able to dictate their answers (unless the test specifically measured their ability to physically write answers). Having someone write the answers in this situation would be allowing access to the test that would not otherwise be possible.
In addition, it is also required that there be a diagnosable disability which is preventing access. This is highly important because as mandated by federal law under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), any private or public organization is required to refrain from any discriminatory practice based on another’s disability. This law is often shown in the requirement for wheelchair access on buildings, but it is also applied to other disabilities which prevent a child from accessing the services of the entity.
On a practical level, when children are taking standardized tests, there are various disorders which can impact their ability to access the test material in the same way. For example, if a child or an adult has severe anxiety when around others in a large room (agoraphobia), they will not be able to access the test material appropriately. As such, they need to be allowed to take the test in a smaller location which does not trigger their anxiety.
In addition, there is often an allowance for children who have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These children often struggle to control their impulses and focus for prolonged periods, so they need to be able to take breaks and have extra time on various tests.
Again, these accommodations allow children with disabilities to be able to take the test, not do well on the test. The test taker’s performance and final score are ultimately their responsibility.
Help Your Child Get The Accommodations They Need With Neuro-Psych Doctor
If the test your child is taking requires documentation or evaluation from a third-party professional, Neuro-Psych Doctor can help. We can evaluate your child or teen and, where appropriate, provide the required documentation to facilitate your application for testing accommodations.
Seeking testing accommodations isn’t always a straightforward process, but we’re here to help. Give us a call or book an appointment for a consultation using the button below.
Source: What Kinds Of Tests Can I Get Testing Accommodations For? – Neuropsych Doctor NY