This policy was developed to provide test candidates, professional diagnosticians, educators, and employers with specific information about ASE’s policies regarding documentation of a candidate's disability and the process for requesting accommodations to take ASE tests. The timely submission of proper documentation will minimize delays in decisions related to providing testing accommodations for candidates with disabilities.
This policy addresses the following topics:
- Guiding Principles
- Procedures for Implementation
- Qualified Diagnosticians
- Currency of Submitted Documentation
- Assessment Testing
- Substantiation of Diagnosis
- Recommendation for Accommodations
ASE has long provided accommodations to candidates with disabilities and is committed to compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In this regard, ASE has adopted the following guiding principles for responding to requests from candidates for testing accommodations:
- Requirements and procedures for testing accommodations must ensure fairness for all test candidates, both those seeking accommodations and those testing under standard conditions.
- Accommodations must be consistent with ADA requirements and be appropriate and reasonable for the documented disability.
- Accommodations must not result in an "undue hardship", as that term is used under the ADA, or fundamentally alter that which the test is designed to measure.
- Documentation of the disability must be current, within the last five (5) years, must meet guidelines that are considered appropriate by qualified professionals, and must provide evidence that the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g. mobility, sight, hearing, speaking, breahting, learning, performing manual tasks).
Procedures for Implementation
Requests for testing accommodations are initially reviewed by trained staff who look for specific information on the ASE Testing Accommodations Request Form (available here at ASE.com/ADAform) and in the accompanying supporting documentation. If an ASE staff member determines that some or all of the documentation is missing or inadequate, ASE will request the additional information.
If the initial reviewer determines that the request appears complete, it is submitted to an ADA specialist for the next level of review. The ADA specialist may:
- approve the request and send it on for processing,
- submit the request to an expert reviewer with specific training in an appropriate clinical area, or
- determine that documentation is missing or otherwise insufficient.
Expert reviewers might be consulted to review documentation regarding cognitive or learning disabilities, sight and hearing impairments, and other physical conditions. If either the ADA specialist or the expert reviewer determines that documentation is lacking, the candidate is notified and given the opportunity to submit additional documentation.
Once testing accommodations are approved, an ASE staff member will notify the candidate and provide specific details regarding test registration and appointment scheduling.
The administration of diagnostic assessments, determination of specific diagnoses, and recommendation of appropriate accommodations must be made by a qualified professional whose credentials are appropriate to the disability. The name, title, and professional credentials (e.g., degrees, areas of specialization, license or certification, employment) must be clearly stated in the documentation. For physical disabilities, documentation must be provided by a qualified physician.
Currency of Submitted Documentation
To best assess the current impact of a candidate's disability or functional limitations as they apply to the test-taking process, the documentation must be sufficiently current and appropriate to the disabling condition. For ASE testing, the disability must have been diagnosed or reconfirmed by a qualified professional within five (5) years prior to the date of the request.
Evaluation results for the following assessment tests are accepted by ASE and must have been completed within the last five (5) years:
· Wechsler Individual Achievement Test® Third Edition (WIAT-III)
· Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale® Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV)
· Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities® Fourth Edition (W-J IV)
· Nelson-Denny Reading Test
Substantiation of Diagnosis
Documentation must provide a comprehensive evaluation with objective evidence of a substantial functional limitation. The information needed for each general category of disability is provided below.
Learning Disabilities: The test candidate must provide the results of diagnostic testing performed by a qualified professional. The Individualized Education Program (IEP), while helpful, typically does not provide sufficient information alone. Documentation, including all standard scores and percentiles (including subtests) which are reliable, valid, and standardized measures, must address the following:
- Description of the presenting problem(s) and its (their) developmental history, including relevant educational and medical history
- Neuropsychological or psycho-educational evaluation which includes results of an aptitude assessment using a complete and comprehensive battery
- Results of a complete achievement battery
- Results of an assessment of information processing
- Other appropriate assessments for consideration of differential diagnosis from co-existing neurological or psychiatric disorders
- Specific diagnosis and evidence that alternative explanations were ruled out
- Description of the functional limitations supported by the test results and a rationale for the recommended accommodations specific to those functional limitations
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: The test candidate must provide diagnostic results from an evaluation by a qualified professional. The Individualized Education Program (IEP), while helpful, typically does not provide sufficient information alone. Documentation must address the following:
- Evidence of early impairment which, by definition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), is first exhibited in childhood and manifests itself in more than one setting
- Evidence of current impairment including:
- Statement of presenting problem
- Diagnostic interview
- A ruling out of alternative diagnoses and explanations
- Relevant testing using reliable, valid, standardized, and age-appropriate assessments
- Number of applicable DSM-IV criteria and description of how they impair the individual
- Specific diagnosis
- Interpretive summary including a discussion of how the effects of ADHD are mediated by the recommended accommodations
Psychiatric Disorders - Mood or Anxiety Disorders or Serious and Persistent Mental Illness: The candidate must provide diagnostic results from an evaluation by a qualified professional within the past year. Documentation of psychiatric disorders should include the following:
- Review of family history
- Age of onset and course of the illness
- Psychological tests used and results
- The history of treatment for the disorder
- Evidence of continuing problems that make accommodations necessary to access the ASE tests
- How the disorder interferes with the person's ability to take a timed, standardized computer-based test
Visual Impairment: The candidate must provide diagnostic results from a complete ocular examination performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Documentation must address the following:
- Chief complaint and history of impairment
- Test results, including visual acuity, complete ocular motility exam (versions, tropias, phorias, stereopsis), slit lamp exam, visual field, pupil exam, optic nerve, and retina
- Specific ocular diagnosis
- Description of functional limitation and supporting evidence that the abnormality impedes functioning in settings such as timed, standardized computer-based testing
- Discussion of the extent to which the limitation has been addressed through glasses, contact lenses, or other treatment or assistive devices
- Specific recommendation for accommodations and accompanying rationale
Hearing Impairment: The candidate must provide diagnostic results from a full hearing test performed by a qualified professional. Documentation must address the following:
- Relevant medical history, including date of hearing loss
- Related educational development, especially effect on reading ability and processing speed
- Specific diagnosis
- Description of functional limitation (with and without any hearing aids or other assistive devices or treatments)
- Specific recommendation for accommodation(s) and accompanying rationale
Other Physical Disorders: The candidate must provide diagnostic results from an appropriate medical examination that documents the relevant medical history, provides a description of functional limitation, and states a specific recommendation for accommodation(s) and accompanying rationale.
Each request for testing accommodations is evaluated on a case-by-case basis using the information as described. If an element of documentation is not provided, the diagnostician must explain why it is not included in the submission.
Recommendation for Accommodations
Requests for testing accommodations must specifically address the functional limitation of the disability. The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodations as well as an explanation of why each accommodation is recommended and how it alleviates the impact of the impairment when taking a timed, standardized computer-based test. The evaluator(s) must describe the impact, if any, that the diagnosed disability has on a specific major life activity, as well as the degree of significance of this impact on the individual in a timed, standardized computer-based test testing situation. The evaluator must support recommendations consistent with specific functional limitations as determined by objective data substantiating a history of functional impairment, appropriate test results, clinical observations, and a comprehensive diagnostic interview.
It is important to recognize that accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process.
If recommended accommodations are not clearly identified or supported in a diagnostic report, ASE will seek clarification and, if necessary, more information. ASE will make the final determination regarding appropriate and reasonable testing accommodations for candidates with documented disabilities.
All documentation submitted to ASE related to an accommodations request is kept confidential, and is used solely to determine the candidate's eligibility for accommodations. Prometric instructs its test centers to treat as confidential all information they receive relative to the candidate's disability and accommodations when administering an ASE test. ASE score reports and certificates do not include any details about the disability or accommodations provided, or any disclaimers stating that accommodations were provided.