This is our largest population and includes students with a wide range of
learning disabilities, (i.e. Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Non-Verbal LD, etc.).
The following guidelines are provided in the interest of assuring that
documentation is appropriate to verify eligibility and to support requests for
reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids. The
learning specialist in SDS is available to consult with diagnosticians
regarding any of these guidelines.
- Testing must be comprehensive. It is not acceptable to
administer only one test for the purpose of diagnosis or establishing that
substantial limitation in a major life activity currently exists in
individuals with a previous diagnosis of LD. Minimally, domains to be addressed
must include (but not be limited to):
Appropriate assessment instruments include: The Wechsler Adult
Intelligence Scale III (WAIS-III); The Woodcock Johnson
Psychoeducational Battery-III (WJ-III): Tests of Cognitive Ability; and
The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: 4 th Edition. All assessments must include subtest scores.
Current functioning levels in reading, mathematics, and written
language are required. Appropriate assessment instruments include: The
Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-III: (WJ-III) Tests of
Achievement; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-II; (WIAT II) Stanford
Test of Academic Skills (TASK); Test of Written Language-3 (TOWL-3).
Processing: Specific areas of information processing (e.g.
short-term and long term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual
perception/processing; processing speed) must be assessed. Appropriate
assessment instruments include information from subtests on the WAIS-Ill,
the WJ-III Tests of Cognitive Ability, or the Detroit Tests of Learning
Aptitude-Adult (DTLA-A) as well as other instruments relevant to the
presenting learning problem(s) may be used to address these areas.
- This is not intended to be an exhaustive list or to restrict assessment in other
pertinent and helpful areas such as vocational interests and aptitudes.
- Testing must be current. In most cases, this means testing that
has been conducted within the past three years. 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 in a student's best interest to provide recent
and appropriate documentation.
- There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of
a learning disability. Individual "learning styles" and
"learning differences" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.
- Actual test scores must be
provided. Standard scores are the preferred measurement; although
percentiles and grade equivalents may used only if accompanied by standard
scores. This is important since certain university policies and procedures
(e.g. petitioning for permission to substitute courses) require actual
data to substantiate eligibility.
- In addition to actual test
scores, interpretation of results is required. Test protocol sheets or
scores alone are not sufficient.
- Professionals conducting
assessment and rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities must be
qualified to do so. Trained, certified, and/or licensed school
psychologists, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, learning
disabilities specialists, and other professionals with training and
experience relevant to adults and their evaluation are typically involved
in the process of assessment. Experience working with the adult population
- Tests used to document
eligibility must be technically sound (i.e. statistically reliable and
valid) and standardized for use with an adult population.
- Diagnostic reports must
include the names, titles, and professional credentials (e.g. licensed
psychologist) of the evaluators as well as the date(s) of testing. All
reports must be typed. Handwritten scores or summary sheets are not acceptable.
- A written summary of or
background information about the student's relevant educational, medical,
and family histories that relate to the learning disability must be included.
- Any recommendation for an
accommodation should be based on objective evidence of a substantial
limitation to learning supported by specific test results or clinical
observations. Reports should establish the rationale for any accommodation
that is recommended, using test data to document the need.
- A description of any
accommodation and/or auxiliary aid that has been used at the secondary or
postsecondary level should be discussed.
- Individual Education Programs
(IEP's) and Section 504 plans are useful but are not, in and of
themselves, sufficient documentation to establish the rationale for