The US Department of Justice just released final regulations regarding the implementation of the American for Disabilities Act. “These rules clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new and updated requirements.”
The regulations should be shared with ALL schools and workplaces when requesting accommodations.
These clarifications are much needed and address:
– reduced requirement to re-test if previously qualified for accommodations (prior and outside testing should be generally accepted)
– students do not need to fail to be provided with accommodations – testing should reflect aptitude
– students previously qualifying for accommodations should be provided with accommodations for college, graduate school (MCAT, LSAT), licensing, and trade examinations
– accommodations should be provided in a timely manner
– individuals receiving accommodations should not be ‘flagged’
The new regulation guide and letter to school districts address problematic policies which have required students and their families to undergo repeated costly testing for documentation of dyslexia, dysgraphia,dyscalculia, and other LDs. The new regulations also address the issue of gifted LD or twice exceptional students; test accommodations should be provided so that tests accurately reflect aptitude or achievement levels. Students do not need be failing their classes. The regulations also address the problem with the College Board denying accommodations to students in graduate school and professionals and trades people for licensing exams and the GED.
High school equivalency exams (such as the GED);
High school entrance exams (such as the SSAT or ISEE);
College entrance exams (such as the SAT or ACT);
Exams for admission to professional schools (such as the LSAT or MCAT);
Admissions exams for graduate schools (such as the GRE or GMAT); and
Licensing exams for trade purposes (such as cosmetology) or professional purposes (such as bar exams or medical licensing exams, including clinical assessments).
A person with a history of academic success may still be a person with a disability who is entitled to testing accommodations under the ADA. A history of academic success does not mean that a person does not have a disability that requires testing accommodations. For example, someone with a learning disability may achieve a high level of academic success, but may nevertheless be substantially limited in one or more of the major life activities of reading, writing, speaking, or learning, because of the additional time or effort he or she must spend to read, write, speak, or learn compared to most people in the general population.
Testing entities must ensure that the test scores of individuals with disabilities accurately reflect the individual’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever skill the exam or test is intended to measure. A testing entity must administer its exam so that it accurately reflects an individual’s aptitude, achievement level, or the skill that the exam purports to measure, rather than the individual’s impairment (except where the impaired skill is one the exam purports to measure).
Example: An individual may be entitled to the use of a basic calculator during exams as a testing accommodation. If the objective of the test is to measure one’s ability to solve algebra equations, for example, and the ability to perform basic math computations (e.g., addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), is secondary to the objective of the test, then a basic calculator may be an appropriate testing accommodation.”
Documentation. Any documentation if required by a testing entity in support of a request for testing accommodations must be reasonable and limited to the need for the requested testing accommodations. Requests for supporting documentation should be narrowly tailored to the information needed to determine the nature of the candidate’s disability and his or her need for the requested testing accommodation. Appropriate documentation will vary depending on the nature of the disability and the specific testing accommodation requested.
Examples of types of documentation include:
Recommendations of qualified professionals;
Proof of past testing accommodations;
Observations by educators;
Results of psycho-educational or other professional evaluations;
An applicant’s history of diagnosis; and
An applicant’s statement of his or her history regarding testing accommodations.
Past Testing Accommodations. Proof of past testing accommodations in similar test settings is generally sufficient to support a request for the same testing accommodations for a current standardized exam or other high-stakes test.
Past Testing Accommodations on Similar Standardized Exams or High-Stakes Tests. If a candidate requests the same testing accommodations he or she previously received on a similar standardized exam or high-stakes test, provides proof of having received the previous testing accommodations, and certifies his or her current need for the testing accommodations due to disability, then a testing entity should generally grant the same testing accommodations for the current standardized exam or high-stakes test without requesting further documentation from the candidate. So, for example, a person with a disability who receives a testing accommodation to sit for the SAT should generally get the same testing accommodation to take the GRE, LSAC, or MCAT.
Formal Public School Accommodations. If a candidate previously received testing accommodations under an Individualized Education Program (IEP)4 or a Section 504 Plan,5 he or she should generally receive the same testing accommodations for a current standardized exam or high-stakes test.
If a candidate shows the receipt of testing accommodations in his or her most recent IEP or Section 504 Plan, and certifies his or her current need for the testing accommodations due to disability, then a testing entity should generally grant those same testing accommodations for the current standardized exam or high-stakes test without requesting further documentation from the candidate. This would include students with disabilities publicly-placed and funded in a private school under the IDEA or Section 504 placement procedures whose IEP or Section 504 Plan addresses needed testing accommodations.
Example. Where a student with a Section 504 Plan in place since middle school that includes the testing accommodations of extended time and a quiet room is seeking those same testing accommodations for a high-stakes test, and certifies that he or she still needs those testing accommodations, the testing entity receiving such documentation should generally grant the request.
Private School Testing Accommodations. If a candidate received testing accommodations in private school for similar tests under a formal policy, he or she should generally receive the same testing accommodations for a current standardized exam or high-stakes test.”
For your convenience, we are posting a copy of this document below so that you can DOWNLOAD, SAVE, PRINT, BRING TO SCHOOL. It usually takes years for new regulations and clarifications to get fully implemented, so you may need to inform your student’s teachers and school.
Don’t forget too, that a formal letter of guidance to all public schools has been written by Department of Education Michael Yudin recognizing the “unique educational needs of children with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, which are conditions that could qualify a child as a child with a specific learning disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
He clarifies in the letter that “there is nothing in the IDEA that would prohibit the use of the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia in IDEA evaluation, eligibility determinations, or IEP documents.” We will attach that letter below also.
Please share these documents with fellow parents and teachers, but also principals, counselors, and other professionals. You will be part of the positive change.