Guidelines For Documentation of Learning Disabilities
Please refer to General Guidelines for Disability Documentation in addition to these specific guidelines for learning disabilities.
The following guidelines describe the necessary components of acceptable documentation for students with learning disabilities. Students are encouraged to provide their clinicians with a copy of these guidelines.
- Testing must be current: administered within the past three years. Although learning disabilities are generally considered to be lifelong, because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the student’s disabilities on his/her academic performance, it is necessary to provide current documentation.
- Dates of testing must be included in the report.
- Testing must be performed by a qualified evaluator who is unrelated to the student by birth, marriage or affinity: clinical or educational psychologists, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, or physicians known to specialize in learning disabilities. Information about their professional credentials, including licensing and certification, and their areas of specialization must be clearly listed in the report. The College reserves the right to require that a certified copy of the report be transmitted directly from the evaluator to the College.
- Testing must involve a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation, and include a diagnostic interview and clinical summary.
- The evaluation report must indicate the norm-reference group. For example, the report must specifically indicate how the student performs in relationship to the average person in the general population.
- Relevant Testing:
- Actual scores from all instruments must be provided with standard scores and percentile rank scores.
- The most recent edition of each assessment instrument must be administered.
The following areas must be addressed using standardized instruments:
The Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale IV (WAIS-IV) with subtest scores is the preferred instrument. The Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III: Tests of Cognitive Ability or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale-IV are acceptable. Brief versions or screening measures are not comprehensive, including: the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, and the Slosson Intelligence Test-Revised, and are not accepted.
The WAIS-III may be accepted after January 1, 2010 under certain conditions. The report from your clinician must include a narrative justification for the use of the WAIS-III. This will be evaluated and taken into consideration in determining any reasonable accommodation request.
Assessment of comprehensive academic achievement in the areas of reading (decoding and comprehension), mathematics (calculation and problem solving), oral language, and written expression (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, writing samples) is required. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-educational Battery III: Tests of Achievement is the preferred instrument. The Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA) and the Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK, Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - II (WIAT-II) or specific achievement tests are acceptable.
- The Wide Range Achievement Test 3 (WRAT-3) is NOT a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore should not be the only measure of overall achievement utilized.
- Multiple reading assessments must be provided in order to establish the need for audio/electronic text books as an accommodation or documenting a reading disability. The Nelson-Denny Reading Test form G or H, Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT- 4th Edition), Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE), and reading subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement are acceptable. If the impairment involves reading speed, the NDRT should be administered under both standard time and extended time conditions. Informal measures should be included as well.
Cognitive and Information Processing:
Specific areas of cognitive and information processing must be assessed. These domains include, but are not limited to:
- memory (i.e., visual and verbal acquisition, retrieval, retention, and recognition)
- processing speed and cognitive fluency (e.g., timed psychomotor or graphomotor tasks, decision and naming fluency)
- attention (e.g., visual and auditory spans of attention, scanning tasks, and vigilance assessment, including continuous performance tasks)
- sensory-perceptual functioning (e.g., high-level visual, auditory, and tactile tasks)
- executive functioning (e.g., planning, organization, prioritization, sequencing, self monitoring)
- motor functioning (e.g., tests of dexterity and handedness)
- visual acuity and possible need for prescription eye glasses.
Use of the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III-Tests of Cognitive Ability (Standard Battery subtests 1-10) or subtests from the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale IV (WAIS-IV) are preferred. California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT-II), Detroit Test of Adult Learning Aptitude (DTLA-A), Detroit Test of Learning Aptitude -3 (DTLA-3), Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery, WAIS-IV Working Memory Index (WMS), Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning - Second Edition (WRAML-2), Wechsler Memory Scales — III (WMS-III) are acceptable and should supplement the WJ-III.
- A diagnosis as per the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – V (DSMV) is required. Terms such as “learning problems,” “learning differences,” “weaknesses,” etc., are not the equivalent of learning disability.
- Testing must demonstrate that a learning disability currently and substantially limits a major life activity, and indicate how the student’s current participation in courses, programs, services, or any other activity of the College may be affected with or without the use of mitigating measures. Towards this end, a diagnosis of a learning disability may not sufficiently demonstrate a need for accommodations.
Please also note:
- While a student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) may be submitted as evidence of past accommodations, it alone is not sufficient documentation. An IEP is the plan that the student’s high school team developed to promote the student’s academic success.
- For accommodation requests on the basis of Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, refer to the specific documentation guidelines for this disorder.