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Appropriate College Board Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: The Eligibility Process, Guidelines for Documentation, and Looking Forward. Debby Lazarus, Psy.D. Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) The College Board March, 2006. History.

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debby lazarus psy d services for students with disabilities ssd the college board march 2006

Appropriate College Board Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:The Eligibility Process, Guidelines for Documentation, and Looking Forward

Debby Lazarus, Psy.D.

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)

The College Board

March, 2006

history
History
  • Accommodations based on disability were provided on College Board tests before enactment of Federal laws
  • College Board began implementing current eligibility process in the mid-90’s
  • College Board Guidelines unchanged since mid-90’s
  • In 2003-04, set up process to review disability documentation when Eligibility Form did not indicate alignment with College Board Guidelines; implemented process to review disability documentation from selected schools
eligibility
Eligibility

To be eligible, the student must:

  • Have a disability that necessitates testing accommodations;
  • Have documentation on file at school that supports the need for the requested accommodation and meets the Board’s Guidelines for Documentation;
  • Receive and use the requested accommodations, due to the disability, for school-based tests, for at least the past four school months.
college board ssd eligibility guidelines
College Board SSD Eligibility Guidelines

Two ways for a student to be determined eligible for accommodations on tests:

A.) School verification – the Student Eligibility Form is completed and the SSD Coordinator verifies that the student meets the 3 eligibility criteria and that the disability documentation meets the Guidelines for Documentation.

B.) Documentation Review –The College Board reviews a student’s disability documentation to determine if it meets the Guidelines. Students can directly request that the College Board’s SSD office make the eligibility determination.

when documentation is reviewed
When Documentation is Reviewed

College Board asks national panel of experts to advise if documentation meets Guidelines

  • higher education level, all members hold PhDs, PsyDs in School Psychology, Clinical Psychology, or Special Education and working either as full-time professors and/or researchers or directors of the Disability Support Services Programs;
  • secondary education level, all members hold PhDs, PsyDs, or M.S. in School Psychology, Clinical Psychology, or Special Education and working as full-time school psychologists or in Special Education; and
  • private practitioners, all members hold PhDs or PsyDs in School Psychology or Clinical Psychology and conduct psycho-educational assessments.
guidelines for documentation
Guidelines for Documentation
  • State the disability as diagnosed
  • Currency of documentation
      • Academic testing
      • Cognitive testing
      • Psychiatric evaluations

3) Provide relevant educational,

developmental, and medical history

guidelines for documentation continued
Guidelines for documentation (continued)

4. Comprehensive testing and techniques

  • Cognitive ability
  • Academic achievement and/or specific achievement tests
  • Input from teachers
  • Rating Scales
guidelines for documentation continued8
Guidelines for documentation (continued)

5) Describe the functional limitations supported by the test results

  • Presence of a disability does not necessarily support the need for testing accommodations.
  • Substantial functional limitations in learning need to be demonstrated.
  • Discrepancy model vs. average person rule?
guidelines for documentation continued9
Guidelines for Documentation (continued)

6) Describe the specific accommodations

Examples of testing accommodations:

    • Extended time (most commonly requested)
    • Extra/extended breaks
    • Small group setting
    • Reader/cassette
    • Enlarged print
    • Braille editions
    • Signed presentations
    • Computer
  • 7) Establish the professional credentials of the evaluator
documentation guidelines for computer
Documentation Guidelines for Computer
  • 3 ways to qualify:
    • Physical disability (include medical documentation)
    • Dysgraphia – The documentation needs to establish that the fine motor issues are due to dsygraphia and that because of this the student’s written expression skills are substantially impaired.
    • Language-based learning disability – Because of a language-based learning disability, the student is unable to organize his/her thoughts effectively and elaborate on concepts using a paper and pencil.
guidelines for computer use as an accommodation
Guidelines for Computer use as an Accommodation
  • Some of the common tests that are acceptable by the professional community to document fine motor skills are the Coding subtest of the Wechsler Cognitive Test or the Beery Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration (VMI) or Rey Complex Figure Test. Professionals such as occupational therapists, psychologists, learning specialists, MDs can document such conditions. As for the writing area, tests such as written expression subtest of the WIAT II, Broad Writing cluster of Woodcock Johnson III, TOWL III or OWLS can document the functional impact. It is always helpful to include a timed measure such as WJ III writing fluency especially if timed testing condition is an issue.
response to intervention rti
Response to Intervention (RTI)
  • What’s New? Key Points in IDEIA Revisions to IDEA
  • (Federal Register, 34 CFR Part 300.307 0 300.311)
  • FUTURE OF THE DISCREPANCY MODEL?
    • States may prohibit the use of a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability criterion to determine whether a child has a specific learning disability.
    • States may not require local education agencies (LEA’S) to use a discrepancy model to determine a learning disability.
key points continued
KEY POINTS (continued)
  • RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI)
    • States are required to permit a process that examines whether the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation procedures.
    • Three and four tiered intervention approaches have been suggested (Reschley and others)
key points continued14
KEY POINTS (continued)
  • ELIGIBILITY FOR SLD DETERMINATION
  • Current regulations permit SLD identification if the child does not achieve commensurate with his or her age and ability levels, and if the LEA finds a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.
  • Under the proposed regulations, two elements would be required to determine the existence of an SLD. The first element is a finding that the child does not achieve commensurate with his/her age in one or more of the eight specified areas when provided with learning experiences appropriate to the child’s age.
  • The second element is a finding that the child failed to make sufficient progress in meeting state approved results when using a response to scientific, research-based intervention process, or the child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that the team determines is relevant to the identification of an SLD. The pattern may be in performance, achievement, or both relative to intellectual development.
controversy about rti
Controversy About RTI
  • Supporters claim:
  • The discrepancy model is a “wait to fail model.” RTI has been presented as a system to screen all students by mid-kindergarten, at least three times, and routinely afterward in order to identify learning disabilities. (Reschley, 2003, NRCLD; Reschley and Shinn, 2005, APA)
  • Many students placed in special education because of an SLD ( in part, because of achievement/ability discrepancies) show minimal gains in achievement, and few actually ever leave special education.
  • The problem with the current LD definition (using a discrepancy model) is that students are often inappropriately classified.
    • Using the current discrepancy model, there is a great deal of variability from state to state, in percentages of students who have been classified LD (Reschley, Hosp, Schmeid study – 2003 - provides examples - Kentucky – 2.85% classified LD; RI – 9.5% - classified LD).
    • Different schools and school districts interpret discrepancy or significant discrepancy differently.
supporters of rti continued
Supporters of RTI (continued)
  • Scientifically based RTI programs can pick up problems at any age, intervene right away, figure out who needs additional help, and provide several levels of intervention before referral to special education. (Reschlely, 2003, NRCLD; Reschley and Shinn, 2005, APA)
  • RTI claims to be much more focused on outcomes.
      • IQ testing does not provide sufficient links to intervention.
  • RTI is for all kids – it will bridge the gap between special education and general education.
  • RTI model proposes to reduce the number of unnecessary assessments.
  • Proposes to identify more females. (The assumption is that females have as many difficulties as boys, but boys’ overt behaviors are more likely to attract attention and consequently referrals and identification).
issues with rti
Issues with RTI
  • RTI is not a process for evaluating the psychological processes found in the definition of learning disabled. The RTI model will not evaluate patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
  • RTI does not rule out the exceptions of the LD definition (for example, environmental factors).
  • The RTI model does not evaluate possible additional problems underlying the learning disorders (i.e. – ADD, emotional issues, etc.) because it is solely based on academic achievement.
  • It is a single method of assessment and as such is not allowable under IDEA.
  • How will one measure if a child is achieving commensurate with his/her age if there is no reference to the ability to achieve?
  • How will results be analyzed without standard scores?
  • RTI success is not well-defined; competency levels can be set low.

(Naglieri and Reynolds, 2005, APA)

issues with rti continued
Issues with RTI (continued)
  • How is “scientifically based” being defined? RTI has not been consistently applied, and its premise therefore lacks research to know if it is effective.
  • No one has really addressed the roles of teachers and diagnosticians, and how their roles may change with the implementation of RTI.
  • How will issues of consistency in decision making be ensured among schools, districts, and states? (Mastropieri and Scruggs, 2005)
looking forward impact on ssd and our guidelines for documentation
LOOKING FORWARD…Impact on SSD and our Guidelines for Documentation
  • If IDEA is no longer requiring a discrepancy formula to classify students and is telling the states that they must allow districts to include a process in their evaluation procedures that examines a child’s response to “a scientific, research-based” intervention, what are the implications for IQ testing?
    • Many people seem to be advocating a combined approach for classification purposes - an RTI process, as well as the psycho educational testing.
  • How will we determine functional limitations without psychoeducational assessments, including fluency and/or Nelson-Denny scores?
  • At the moment, information on a student’s response to interventions is additional qualitative information that we will consider as part of a student’s entire documentation packet.