Documenting Learning Disabilities
It is hoped that this second edition of the "ETS Revised Policy Statement for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults" will be helpful to individuals with disabilities, as well as secondary school personnel, professional diagnosticians and postsecondary disability service providers.
ETS acknowledges that individual situations vary given the severity of the disability, the standardized test being taken, and the accommodations requested. The objective of this revised document is not to be overly prescriptive, but rather to provide test takers, as well as their evaluators, with guidance about the specific information that is needed to support requests for accommodations on high-stakes tests. Furthermore, this expanded online format and the accompanying appendices will allow evaluators to easily search for relevant information by section as it applies to individual test takers.
Download Quick Reference Guide — Download the quick reference guide to the policy statement
Quick Reference Guide
ETS is committed to serving test takers with disabilities or health-related needs by providing services and reasonable accommodations that are appropriate given the purpose of the particular test. This abbreviated version of our documentation guidelines for learning disabilities is provided as a quick reference. For full details, please review the "ETS Policy Statement for Documenting Learning Disabilities in Adolescents and Adults" below.
- Be completed by a qualified evaluator
Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities (LD), offering clinical judgments, and making recommendations for accommodations must be qualified to do so. Reference Section I of the policy statement.
- Include test taker's identifying information
In addition to the test taker's identifying information, the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator should be included on letterhead, typed in English, dated, and signed. Reference Section I of the policy statement.
- Be current
In most cases, a diagnostic evaluation must have been completed within the past five years. Reference Section II of the policy statement.
- Include a comprehensive history
Include a comprehensive history of presenting problems associated with the disability as well as information on the test taker's medical, developmental, educational, and family history. This should also include the date of diagnosis, duration, and severity of the disorder. Reference Section VI, A (Diagnostic Interview) of the policy statement.
- Include relevant observations of behavior during testing
Include observations of behavior during the diagnostic evaluation which may help to form a diagnostic impression when combined with the clinician's professional judgment and expertise. Reference Section VI, A (Diagnostic Interview) of the policy statement.
- Include a comprehensive battery of cognitive and achievement tests, using the most recent edition of measure, with adult norms
In most cases, a psychoeducational or neuropsychological assessment will be useful in determining the degree to which the learning disability currently impacts the individual relative to taking standardized tests. Reference Section VI, B (Psychometric Assessment) of the policy statement. Reference Section VIII (Appendix B) for a full list of tests for assessing adolescents and adults with learning disabilities.
- Include all test scores using standardized adult measures
Reference Section VI, D of the policy statement.
- Provide specific diagnosis/diagnoses
Include at least one specific diagnosis based on the latest edition of the DSM or the ICD and indicate the level of severity of the disability. Reference Section VI, C of the policy statement.
- Discuss the current impact of the disorder on academic performance, employment, and other daily activities
Include additional sources of information such as school-based records (e.g., IEP, Section 504 Plan) or other related documents regarding the test taker's history, eligibility for services, and/or history of accommodations use in school and/or employment. Reference Section V of the policy statement.
- Include specific recommendations with a rationale based on objective evidence
Establish a link between the requested accommodations and the manifested symptoms of the learning disability that is pertinent to a standardized testing situation. Reference Section VI of this policy statement.
- Include an interpretative summary
The interpretative summary at the end of the report should rule out, to the extent possible, other potential diagnoses that may alter the expression of the disability, including cross-cultural factors, ESL, lack of educational opportunity, and/or medical conditions that may mimic a disability. Reference Section VI, F (Psychometric Assessment) of the policy statement.
For those whose most recent diagnostic evaluation was not completed within the past five years:
A documentation update is a brief report or narrative by a qualified professional that includes a summary of the previous disability documentation findings as well as additional clinical and observational data to establish the test taker's current need for accommodations. This provision is only applicable to test takers with LD, ADHD, and/or LD/ADHD.
See Section V of the policy statement for more information about documentation updates.
Policy Statement for Documentation of a Learning Disability In Adolescents and Adults, Second Edition
Office of Disability Policy
Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08541
- Documentation Requirements
- A Qualified Professional Must Conduct the Evaluation
- Documentation Must Be Current
- Documentation for Basic Testing Accommodations
- Documentation for Extensive Testing Accommodations
- A Documentation Update
- Documentation Necessary to Substantiate the Learning Disability Must be Comprehensive
- Diagnostic Interview
- Psychometric Assessment
- Documentation Must Include a Specific Diagnosis
- Test Scores from Standardized Instruments Must be Provided
- Each Accommodation Recommended by the Evaluator Must Include a Rationale
- An Interpretative Summary Must be Provided
- Additional Sources of Information
- Appendix A: Recommendations for Consumers
- Appendix B: Tests for Assessing Adolescents and Adults
- Appendix C: Resources and Organizations
In 1998, Educational Testing Service (ETS) published the first edition of its Policy Statement for Documentation of a Learning Disability in Adolescents and Adults. Since that time, minor additions have been posted on the ETS website. ETS recognizes the importance of the periodic review of policy statements to assure they reflect current practice and developments in the field. This second edition (2007) incorporates previous revisions and introduces other changes based upon more than 10 years of experience with test takers with learning disabilities.
This document provides individuals, secondary-school personnel, professional diagnosticians, and postsecondary disability service providers with a common knowledge base regarding those components of documentation that are necessary to validate a learning disability (LD) in adolescents and adults for the various Educational Testing Service programs, including The College Board. Our intent is not to be burdensome but to provide test takers, as well as their evaluators, with guidance about the specific information that is needed to support requests for accommodations on high-stakes examinations.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with learning disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights to equal access to programs and services. In order to access these rights, an individual must present documentation indicating that the disability substantially limits some major life activity, including learning.
This publication includes information about LD documentation in eight important areas:
- qualifications of the evaluator
- recency of the documentation
- documentation for basic testing accommodations
- documentation for extensive testing accommodations
- a documentation update
- appropriate clinical documentation to substantiate the disability
- evidence to establish a rationale supporting the need for accommodations
- supplemental sources of information
In order to prevent time delays in decision making related to processing testing accommodation requests, the information and documentation submitted by candidates with LD should be comprehensive.
Appendix A provides potential test applicants with recommendations for finding and working with a qualified professional. Appendix B provides a suggested list of standardized tests for assessing adolescents and adults with suspected learning disabilities, and Appendix C lists resources and organizations.
Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities (LD) and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. Comprehensive training and relevant experience with adolescent and adult LD populations are essential. Competence in working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations may also be required, depending on the applicant's background and academic history. It is of utmost importance that evaluators are sensitive to cultural and linguistic differences in both adolescents and adults.
The name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification (e.g., licensed psychologist) as well as the area of specialization, employment, and state in which the individual practices must be clearly stated in the documentation. The following professionals would generally be considered qualified to conduct evaluations provided that they have additional training and experience in evaluating adolescents and adults with learning disabilities: clinical or educational psychologists; school psychologists; neuropsychologists; learning disabilities specialists; and medical doctors with demonstrated training and experience in the assessment of learning disabilities in adolescents and adults. Use of diagnostic terminology indicating a diagnosis of a specific learning disability by someone whose training and experience is not in these fields is not acceptable. It is not appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their own families or children of close friends. All reports should be on letterhead, typed in English, dated, signed, and otherwise legible.
ETS acknowledges that once a person is diagnosed as having an LD that qualifies for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the disability is normally viewed as lifelong. Although the learning disability is ongoing, the severity and manifestations of the condition may change over time.
The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is based upon ETS's assessment of the current impact of the individual's disabilities on his or her academic performance, particularly in testing situations. It is in a candidate's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. For LD, testing must generally have been completed within the past five years. See additional information under Section V, "A Documentation Update," for specifics regarding the recency of documentation.
ETS is aware of the cost often borne by test takers with learning disabilities who are seeking accommodations for our tests and whose documentation may exceed the five-year limit. To address this concern ETS modified its documentation recency policy with respect to applicants with a longstanding LD and/or LD/ADHD. ETS considers a longstanding disability to be one in excess of eight years. For applicants with documentation over five years old who are applying for certain basic accommodations, a complete diagnostic evaluation with cognitive and achievement measures is no longer necessary if adult measures were used previously. A documentation update was designed for this purpose (See Section V). ETS considers time and one-half and/or additional rest breaks as basic accommodations.
This documentation recency provision applies only to test takers with a longstanding LD and/or LD/ADHD who have submitted a signed Certification of Eligibility: Accommodations History (COE) form that verifies that adult measures were used to determine the diagnosis and functional limitations. The applicant must also have a history of having received accommodations in college or on the job. If the applicant does not have access to a qualified professional who can complete and sign the COE, then the applicant must submit the outdated disability documentation for consideration. The test taker will be notified if additional documentation is necessary.
An authorized representative (i.e., a disability service provider from a college or university, a human resources counselor at a place of employment, or a counselor from the Vocational Rehabilitation system) must certify on the COE that:
- there is evidence of a longstanding learning disability or learning disability with ADHD (LD/ADHD); and that
- adult measures were used to determine the diagnosis and the functional limitations related to the disability (e.g., the evaluation battery consists of test instruments that have adult norms).
An accommodation history, including the rationale for the requested accommodations and evidence of current use, must be included within the documentation. A self-report from the test taker alone is not sufficient.
For additional information on completing the COE form, please review the latest version of the ETS Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs.
ETS requires that applicants with a longstanding LD (beyond five years) who are requesting more extensive accommodations must continue to abide by the five-year rule and to submit documentation for review. The following ETS considers to be more extensive accommodations:
- double time
- scribe or keyboard entry aid
- separate room
- assistive technology
Whenever possible, ETS consultants will recommend which components of the documentation may require updating. Applicants who submit documentation that is not current, is inadequate in scope and content, and/or does not address the candidate's current level of functioning or need for accommodation(s) will be required to update the evaluation report. Read our Guidelines for Writing Diagnostic Reports section for additional suggestions about specific content to be addressed in the evaluation report.
If the documentation provided by the candidate does not meet ETS documentation requirements for LD, candidates have the option to submit new and/or additional documentation. A documentation update is a report by a qualified professional that includes a summary of the original disability documentation findings as well as additional evaluation data necessary to establish the candidate's current eligibility and the appropriateness of the requested testing accommodation(s). The summary in a documentation update should include:
- A restatement of the diagnosis, including date(s) for all prior diagnosis and data that were used to establish the diagnosis. Evidence regarding the continued persistence of the diagnosis should be more than a self-report by the test taker.
- An update that verifies the continuing weakness in those areas identified as weak in prior evaluation(s).
- Current functional limitations due to the disability, including information regarding its duration, severity, and impact on academic performance in general, and test taking in particular. Note: Functional limitations refer to an impairment that significantly restricts or prevents an individual from performing a major life activity (e.g., learning, walking, breathing, talking, etc.).
- Observations gathered during the evaluation of behavior such as affect, concentration, attentional fatigue, executive functioning, and fluency.
- History and types of accommodations received and used, consistency and circumstances of use (e.g., the type of test for which accommodations were most helpful), or an explanation of why no accommodations have been used prior to the current request and why they are essential now.
- Discussion of the appropriateness of the requested accommodations for ETS tests, including objective evidence confirming that performance would be negatively affected without the requested accommodations.
Additional evaluation data should include:
- Achievement measures that substantiate the ongoing impact of the disability on academic performance. The updated evaluation need not include a full battery of tests, but should include selected academic tests and subtests deemed appropriate to support current eligibility. There should be an explanation of why certain subtests were selected for the update, interpretation of the scores obtained, and a discussion of relevant error patterns based on the candidate's scores.
- Assessment of cognitive functioning is necessary only if the existing documentation does not contain adequate and age-appropriate information to establish the disability status. An update of intellectual functioning is generally not necessary if the WAIS-IV, or other comparable measure was previously used, given that intellectual functioning is typically stable in adulthood.
In conclusion, the extent of retesting required for a documentation update is applicant-specific and depends on how closely the initial documentation report complies with the prevailing professional standards and ETS documentation guidelines.
In order to initially establish eligibility for protections under the ADA, documentation of an LD must be comprehensive. It must validate the need for accommodations based upon the applicant's current level of functioning and, if relevant, how that level of functioning may impact test taking. The documentation should include: a summary of a diagnostic/clinical interview, assessment of the major domains of cognitive and academic functioning, a list of tests administered including all standard scores, expert interpretation of the results, a clear diagnosis and statement of disability, discussion of the functional limitations and academic functioning levels, and recommendations. Areas of weakness identified in prior evaluations must be thoroughly explored in the current evaluation.
The documentation should include a summary of the diagnostic interview conducted by a qualified evaluator. Learning disabilities are commonly manifested during childhood, though not always formally diagnosed. When coexisting with giftedness, learning disabilities may not be identified or diagnosed until adolescence, when learning tasks become more challenging and academic difficulties increase. Therefore, relevant historical information regarding the applicant's academic history and learning processes in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education must be investigated and documented. A combination of applicant's self-report, interviews with others, and historical documentation, such as a review of the applicant's transcripts and prior standardized test scores, is recommended.
The evaluator, using professional judgment as to which areas are relevant for determining an applicant's current eligibility for accommodations, should provide, as appropriate, a summary that includes:
- a description of the presenting problem(s)
- developmental history, including milestones such as language and speech acquisition and early motor skill development
- relevant medical history, including the absence of a medical basis for the present symptoms
- academic history, including areas of uneven academic achievement, results of prior standardized testing taken with or without accommodations
- participation in special programs such as a special-education class, pull-out class, or program for gifted and talented students
- reports of unevenness in classroom performance and behavior
- relevant family history, including primary language of the home and the applicant's current level of fluency of English
- relevant psychosocial history
- relevant employment history
- a discussion of pre-existing or coexisting disorders, including behavioral, medical, neurological, and/or personality disorders, along with any history of medication use that may affect the individual's learning
- a description of auxiliary aids, services and accommodations used
- an exploration of possible alternative conditions that may mimic a learning disability when, in fact, one is not present
The neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation must provide clear evidence that a specific LD does or does not exist. Objective evidence of a substantial limitation to learning must be provided. Assessment must consist of a comprehensive, individualized, standardized and norm-appropriate assessment battery. Any resulting diagnosis must be based upon a pattern of performance across the battery. A list of a variety of acceptable tests is included in Appendix B. Any factors influencing the validity of the testing must be described. For example, if the test taker regularly takes medication but did not do so on the day of the testing, the evaluator should address the potential impact on test results and functioning.
Minimally, the domains to be addressed in a psycho-educational report must include the following:
- Aptitude/Cognitive Ability: A valid intellectual assessment with all subtests and standard scores. Brief forms of such assessments (e.g., KBIT-2, WASI) are not acceptable for initial documentation, but in some cases may be suitable for a documentation update.
- Academic Achievement: A comprehensive academic achievement battery. The battery must assess basic and higher order skills of reading (sight vocabulary, decoding, sentence and text comprehension), writing (spelling, grammar, ideation), verbal expression, and math (calculation and reasoning), as well as fluency (timed performance) in these academic areas.
- Areas of Cognitive and Information Processing: Based upon the nature of the referral, the applicant's clinical presentation, and prior test results, evaluators should investigate realms of cognitive/information processing. 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.
The choice of the psychometric assessment battery should be guided by the overall objective(s) of the evaluation, the individual needs of the applicant, sound clinical judgment and prevailing professional practices. If the most recent form of any normed measure is not used, an explanation must be provided.
Informal measures. Other assessment measures, such as classroom tests and informal assessment procedures or observations, may be helpful in determining performance across a variety of domains. Information from formal assessment measures may be integrated with these informal diagnostic measures to help rule in or rule out the learning disability, to differentiate it from coexisting neurological and/or psychiatric disorders (i.e., to establish a differential diagnosis), or to support a recommendation for a specific accommodation (e.g., practice tests given in timed vs. untimed formats, measures given in paper vs. computer formats). It is important that the battery of standardized measures used in the diagnosis of a learning disability be broad enough to identify deficits and strengths within the applicant's cognitive profile. A profile that is consistently below average in cognitive, processing, and achievement areas is highly unlikely to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of a learning disability.
Error analysis. An analysis of specific errors in performance on relevant assessment measures and other informal areas is essential to diagnosis and accommodation. A narrative description, discussion, and interpretation of the kinds of errors made by the applicant (e.g., computational inaccuracies vs. conceptual math errors; spelling or reading mistakes; missing easier items; and correctly answering more difficult items) and the consistency in patterns of errors is useful.
Behavioral observations. Informal inventories, surveys, and direct observation by a qualified professional may be used in tandem with formal tests in order to further develop a clinical hypothesis. A qualitative description of test behaviors and strategies used by the applicant in the testing process should be part of the comprehensive report. This description may include signs of anxiety, fatigue, or motivational issues.
A clear diagnostic statement and a discussion of functional limitations due to the learning disability are required. The evaluation must document both the nature and severity of the learning disability. The evaluator must describe the impact the learning disability has on major life activities, including the significance of this impact on the individual's learning.
Nonspecific diagnoses, such as individual "learning styles," "learning differences," "academic problems," "slow reader," and "test difficulty" or "test anxiety," do not constitute a learning disability. The evaluator is encouraged to use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of such expressions as "suggests" or "is indicative of" or "is consistent with." It is understood that the process used at the secondary level may merely provide a classification, whereas ETS requires an explicit diagnosis.
Rule out. It is important to rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning, such as emotional, attentional, medical, or motivational problems, in addition to medication effects that may be interfering with learning but do not constitute a learning disability. If the data do not support the presence of a learning disability, the evaluator must state that conclusion in the report.
Standard scores are preferred, but at the very least percentiles must be provided for all normed measures. Grade and age equivalents must be accompanied by standard scores and/or percentiles. The data must logically reflect a substantial limitation to learning for which the candidate is requesting the accommodation. The particular profile of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses must be shown to relate to functional limitations that necessitate accommodations.
The tests used must be reliable, valid, and standardized for use with an adolescent/adult population and whenever possible, the most recently normed version of the test should be used. The test findings must document both the nature and the severity of the learning disability. Informal inventories, surveys, and direct observation by a qualified professional may be used in tandem with formal tests to further develop a clinical hypothesis.
It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial evaluation process. Conversely, a prior history of diagnosis and accommodation, without demonstration of a current need, does not in and of itself warrant the provision of an accommodation.
The documentation must include specific recommendations for accommodation(s) as well as a detailed explanation of why each accommodation is recommended. The data must logically reflect a substantial limitation to learning for which the applicant is requesting the accommodation. The particular profile of the applicant's strengths and weaknesses must be shown to relate to functional limitations and the requested accommodation(s). Where possible, the evaluator should link suggested accommodations to specific academic task demands. The evaluator should support recommendations with a rationale based upon specific test results and/or clinical observations. For example, if extended time is recommended as an accommodation, evidence must demonstrate improved performance with additional time. If no prior accommodation has been provided, the qualified professional and/or the applicant should include a detailed explanation of why no accommodations were used in the past and why an accommodation is needed at this time.
If an accommodation is not clearly identified in the diagnostic report, ETS will seek clarification, and, if necessary, more information. ETS will make the final determination as to whether accommodations are warranted and can be provided for the individual.
A well-written summary based on a comprehensive evaluation process is a necessary component of a current evaluation or of an evaluation update. If tests are given by different evaluators, one evaluator should take responsibility for providing a cohesive interpretative summary that includes the information from all testing. Assessment instruments and the data they generate provide important elements that must be integrated by the evaluator with background information, observations of the applicant during the testing situation, and the current context to arrive at a diagnostic conclusion. It is essential, therefore, that professional judgment be used in the diagnosis and in the interpretative summary. The summary must include:
- evidence that the evaluator ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems, such as limited educational exposure, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, attentional problems, and cultural/language differences
- evidence of how patterns in cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing are used to determine the presence of a learning disability
- evidence of the substantial limitation to learning presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it affects the individual in the testing context for which accommodations are being requested
- evidence of why specific accommodations are needed on the test and how the effects of the specific disability are mediated by the accommodations
The summary must also contain any record of use of accommodations or auxiliary aids, including information about specific conditions under which the accommodations were used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams, and licensing or certification examinations).
Other sources of documentation can be used to corroborate the functional limitations and build a case for the requested accommodation(s). Relevant information from these sources should be summarized by the evaluator in the current disability documentation and/or included as an attachment by the applicant.
Depending on the degree and scope of the information it contains, a school-based document such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a Section 504 plan, a Summary of Performance (SOP), or transition documentation can be included as part of a more comprehensive documentation packet. Prior evaluation reports should be reviewed by the evaluator and summarized in the history section or attached to the documentation packet. Documents and data from a Response to Intervention (RTI) process or from an SOP may provide useful supplemental information about a test taker's educational history, history of eligibility for services, history of limitations to academic achievement, and history of accommodation use.
Other supplemental forms of documentation may include school and/or college transcripts, evidence of a reduced course load or number of incompletes or dropped courses, a copy of an accommodation letter to faculty, a letter from a content area teacher, and official scores from national standardized tests (e.g., SAT®, ACT®). A detailed letter from a college disability services provider, Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, or Human Resources personnel describing current limitations and use of accommodations can also be helpful to supplement comprehensive documentation. A personal letter from the applicant in his/her own words explaining academic difficulties and coping strategies used may also be helpful. The evaluator's and/or the applicant's personal letter should highlight the relevant information from these other forms of documentation that add further credence to the current need for accommodations. The personal letter should not exceed one page and may include information regarding the date of the initial diagnosis, accommodations history in a variety of settings, a statement explaining the need for accommodations that are presently requested, and any additional supporting information for the requested accommodations.
ETS will not release any information regarding an individual's diagnosis or medical information without his or her informed written consent or under compulsion of legal process. Information will be released only on a "need-to-know" basis, except where otherwise required by law. Furthermore, to safeguard the confidentiality of individuals with disabilities, evaluators may withhold or redact any portion of the documentation that is not directly relevant to ETS's criteria for establishing a disability as defined by the ADA and a rationale for requested testing accommodations.
ETS encourages all institutions to provide secure storage for confidential and sensitive student and employee information that may be used in support of requests for ETS accommodations.
Recommendations for Consumers
- For assistance in finding a qualified professional:
- Contact the school counselor or disability services coordinator at the institution you attend(ed) or one that is similar to the institution you plan to attend.
- Discuss your future plans with the school counselor or disability services coordinator at the institution you attend(ed) or plan to attend.
- Refer to the attached list of resources and organizations for further assistance.
- In selecting a qualified professional:
- Ask what his or her credentials are.
- Ask what experience he or she has had working with adolescents or adults with learning disabilities.
- Ask if he or she has ever worked with the service provider at your institution.
- In working with the professional:
- Take a copy of this policy to the professional; encourage him or her to clarify questions with the person who provided you with these guidelines.
- Provide the evaluator with the weblink for "Tips for Evaluators": www.ets.org/disabilities/evaluators/tips.
- If you were evaluated in the past, bring a copy of your original documentation to the evaluator. Provide the evaluator with copies of any previous assessments and available educational records (e.g., report cards, transcripts, standard test scores, etc.). This will assist your evaluator in understanding your educational history and guide the scope and direction of this re-evaluation.
- Be prepared to be forthcoming, thorough, and honest with requested information.
- Know that professionals must maintain confidentiality with respect to your records and testing information.
- As follow-up to the assessment by the professional:
- Request a written copy of the assessment report.
- Request the opportunity to discuss the results and recommendations.
- Request additional resources if you need them.
- Maintain a personal file of your records and reports.
Tests for Assessing Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities
When selecting a battery of tests, it is critical to consider the technical adequacy of instruments, including their reliability, validity, and standardization on an appropriate norm group. The professional judgment of an evaluator in choosing tests is important. Whenever feasible, the most recent version of the test should be used. The following list includes a variety of popular standardized measures for diagnosing LD and/or LD/ADHD. It is meant to be a helpful resource to evaluators but not a definitive or exhaustive listing.
Tests of Intellectual Functioning
- Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test
- Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS)
- Stanford-Binet 5 (SB5)
- Test of Non-Verbal Intelligence (TONI-3)
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – IV (WAIS-IV)
- Woodcock-Johnson III – Tests of Cognitive Ability
The Slosson Intelligence Test – Revised, Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2) are primarily screening devices which are not comprehensive enough to provide the kinds of information necessary to make accommodation(s) decisions.
Attention, Memory, Learning
- Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale
- California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT-II)
- Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scale – Self Report
- Conners' Continuous Performance Test-II (CPT-II)
- Detroit Test of Adult Learning Aptitude (DTLA-A)
- Detroit Test of Learning Aptitude – 3 (DTLA-3)
- Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery
- Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test (IVA+Plus)
- Test of Variable Attention (TOVA)
- WAIS-IV Working Memory Index (WMS)
- Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning – Second Edition (WRAML-2)
- Wechsler Memory Scales – III
- Wender Utah Rating Scale (for ADHD)
- Stroop Color and Word Test
- Trail-Making Test Parts A and B
- Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
Visual – Perceptual – Motor
- Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test
- Brief Visual-Spatial Memory Test
- Finger-Tapping Test
- Grooved Pegboard Test
- Purdue Pegboard Test
- Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Drawing Test
- Boston Naming Test
- Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)
- Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III)
- Test of Adolescent and Adult Language (TOAL-3)
Tests of Achievement
- Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT 4th Ed)
- Nelson-Denny Reading Test
- Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA)
- Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test
- Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK)
- Test of Adolescent and Adult Word Finding (TAWF)
- Test of Written Language – 3 (TOWL-3)
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – III (WIAT-III) or specific achievement tests such as:
- Woodcock-Johnson III – Tests of Achievement
- Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests – Revised
Specific achievement tests are useful instruments when administered under standardized conditions and when the results are interpreted within the context of other diagnostic information. The Wide Range Achievement Test — 4 (WRAT-4) is not a comprehensive measure of achievement, and therefore, should not be used as the sole measure of achievement. Given that the differential diagnosis of LD often involves considering other co-occurring or co-morbid conditions, there is a wide variety of other tests or measures that may be appropriate to include in a diagnostic report. A brief list of representative measures is listed below:
Miscellaneous Other Measures
- Beck Depression Inventory – Second Edition (BDI-II)
- Beck Anxiety Inventory
- MMPI – 2
- Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI)
- Revised Test Anxiety Scale
- Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM)
Resources and Organizations
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
- 107 Commerce Center Drive, Suite 204
Huntersville, NC 28078
An excellent organization to contact for individuals with disabilities who are planning to attend college and who will need accommodations. Numerous training programs, workshops, publications, and conferences.
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
- 15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite C
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
The mission of ADDA is to provide information, resources and advice to adults with AD/HD and to the professionals who work with them. ADDA has an annual conference, a quarterly newsletter, audio and video tapes, and provides adults with advocacy and networking opportunities.
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
- 1110 North Glebe Road, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201- 5704
- 1-888-CEC-SPED — Toll free
The largest international professional organization committed to improving educational outcomes for individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. The Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) is the largest division in CEC. It produces a top-tier research journal, Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, and a triennial newsletter.
International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
- 40 York Road, 4th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21204-5202
1-800-ABCD-123 — Toll free for Messages
The IDA is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and treatment of learning disabilities and dyslexia. For nearly 52 years, the IDA has been helping individuals with dyslexia, their families, teachers, physicians, and researchers to better understand dyslexia. IDA has more than 13,000 members with 40 branches in the United States and Canada.
Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA)
- 4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
LDA is the largest nonprofit volunteer organization advocating for individuals with learning disabilities. LDA has more than 200 local affiliates in 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. LDA seeks to educate individuals with learning disabilities and their parents about the nature of the disability and inform them of their rights. A national newsletter, Newsbriefs, is published six times a year.
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
- 381 Park Ave. South, Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
1-888-575-7373 — Toll free
NCLD's mission is to promote public awareness and understanding of children and adults with learning disabilities, and to provide national leadership on their behalf, so they may achieve their potential and enjoy full participation in society.
- 20 Roszel Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
1-800-221-4792 — Toll free (book orders)
RFB&D is recognized as the nation's leading educational lending library of academic and professional textbooks on audio tape from elementary through postgraduate and professional levels. Students with print disabilities can request CD versions of books from a library of more than 31,000 digital titles.
This site features hundreds of articles, monthly columns by experts, first-person essays, a comprehensive resource guide and a Yellow Pages referral directory of professionals.
Schwab Learning is a nonprofit private foundation. The website includes dozens of articles on all aspects of learning disabilities from kindergarten to adulthood. Special topics appear monthly.
Contact ETS Disability Services
If you have questions or need additional information, contact disability services at the following link: http://www.ets.org/disabilities/contact.
- Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs — for the GRE, TOEFL, The Praxis Series and School Leadership Series tests
- GACE Bulletin Supplement
- Texas Educator Certification Program Bulletin Supplement