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Learning Disabilities

Guidelines for Documentation of a Specific Learning Disability are provided to assure that appropriate documentation support requests for reasonable academic accommodations and/or adaptive equipment. The coordinator is available to consult with professionals regarding any of these Guidelines.

Testing should be comprehensive

It is not acceptable to administer only one test for the purpose of diagnosis of learning disability. Areas to be addressed must include (but not be limited to):

Aptitude

The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - III (WAIS-III) with subtest scores is the preferred instrument. The Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - III: Tests of Cognitive Ability or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: Fourth Edition are acceptable. The Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) is not a comprehensive measure and therefore is not suitable.

Achievement

Current levels of functioning in reading; mathematics and written language are required. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery - III: Tests of Achievement; Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - II (WIAT-II); Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK); Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA); or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language - 3 (TOWL-3), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests - Revised, and the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. The Wide Range Achievement Test - 3 (WRAT-3) is NOT comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not suitable.

Information Processing

Specific areas of information processing (e.g., short- and long-term memory; sequential memory; auditory and visual perception/processing; processing speed) must be assessed. Information from subtests on the WAIS-III, the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, as well as other instruments relevant to the presenting learning problem(s) may be used to address these areas.

Assessment must be current

This means within the past five 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 essential to provide recent and appropriate documentation.

A Clear Statement of Diagnosis of Learning Disability

There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability. Individual "learning styles", "learning differences" and "learning difficulties" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.

Test Scores and Instrument Requirements

Actual test scores must be provided. Standard scores are required; percentiles and grade equivalents are not acceptable unless standard scores are also included. Tests used to document eligibility must be technically sound (i.e., statistically reliable and valid) and standardized for use with an adult population.

Qualified Assessors

Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of learning disabilities must be qualified to do so. Trained, certified and/or licensed school psychologists, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologist, and other professionals with recognized training and experience relevant to adults and their evaluation are typically involved in the process of assessment.

Scope of Assessment Reports

Reports must include the names, title, and professional credentials (e.g., licensed psychologist) of the evaluators as well as the date (s) of testing. All reports must be typed. A written summary of 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 adaptive equipment that was in place at the secondary level should be discussed. Include information about the specific conditions under which the accommodation was used (e.g., exams) and whether or not it benefited the student.