Documentation Challenges

Myths and Misleading Notions about Disability and Accommodations

  1. Assumption that difficulties such as prior test failure, slow reading, or test anxiety "entitle" the applicant to ADA test accommodations. I have had a lifelong struggle with taking standardized examinations. As far back as I can remember there has always been a discordance between my academic achievements and my performance on timed standardized multiple-choice exams; Since use of other accommodations has been inadequate, I request taking the examination in a different format than multiple-choice questions, such as essay, short-answer format or oral examination.

  2. Request for sweeping accommodations which may reflect applicant's preferences rather than needs. Triple time, private, no distraction room, dictionary, thesaurus, calculator, portable CD player with headphones.

  3. Accommodation recommendations not supported by data; presented as options to improve performance. Joseph reports blurring of vision after reading for a prolonged period of time. New glasses were prescribed to help with this problem. However, Joseph may need more time to complete his written examinations; Given the likelihood of a verbal learning disability, accommodations are recommended to allow Mary the best possible chance of adequately demonstrating her knowledge and competency on the examination. Her performance may be enhanced by the following accommodations.

  4. Evaluator combines recommendations for remedial learning strategies, counseling, study skills and Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations. Robert may benefit from study skills training in the SQ3R method, he should request a quiet room for testing and extended testing periods and audio-taped class lectures. He would also benefit from stimulant medication to alleviate a great deal of his symptoms associated with ADHD and given Robert's tendency to experience test anxiety, he should consider counseling to address issues that may be contributing to his anxiety.

  5. Request for accommodations wrapped in ADA-related jargon; accommodation may not be warranted but the jargon is confusing and intimidating. A pattern of learning difficulties has been determined to continue to be present. Susan has a record of having and continues to have a learning disability in the areas of language also known as dyslexia that results in a limitation to perform on school tests to the level that evaluates her knowledge of the subject matter. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Susan is eligible to receive reasonable accommodations as outlined in the Act.

  6. Applicants expect the same accommodations they may have received previously in an academic setting, some or all of which may be test-taking strategies and remedial aids not mandated by ADA. Personal spell-checker, file cards, scratch paper.

Appeared in NOCA News Annual Conference Edition November, 2004


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