Policy Regarding Documentation of a Specific Learning Disability
Students who are seeking support services from Whitworth on the basis of a diagnosed specific learning disability(ies) are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility. Documentation of a learning disability consists of providing professional psychological or educational testing results and evaluation, including a written report which reflects the individual's present level of cognitive processing and his/her achievement level. The cost and responsibility for providing this professional documentation shall be borne solely by the student.
The following guidelines are provided in the best interest of assuring that the evaluation and the report are current and appropriate for documenting eligibility. Documentation presented to the Educational Support Services (ESS) will remain in a private confidential file in the ESS office. The ESS coordinator is available to consult with diagnosticians regarding any of these guidelines. Documentation must:
- Be prepared by a professional QUALIFIED BY EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE to diagnose learning disabilities, which would include but not limited to: a licensed neuropsychologist or psychologist; clinical or educational psychologist; learning disability specialist or other appropriate professional certified to administer standardized psychological tests/statements identified below. Experience in evaluation of adults with learning disabilities is an essential requirement in this process.
- Be COMPREHENSIVE. All tests administered must be age appropriate, nationally normed, individually administered.
a. APTITUDE. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Third Edition (WAIS-III) with subtest scores is preferred. The Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability is acceptable. WJ Reading Mastery 3rd Ed.
b. ACHIEVEMENT. Current levels of functioning in all areas in which student accommodations are requested. Acceptable instruments include the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery Revised: Tests of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills (TASK); or specific achievement tests such as the Test of Written Language 3 (TOWL-3), Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests Revised 3rd Ed. or the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test. (The Wide Range Achievement Test Revised is NOT a comprehensive measure of achievement and therefore is not suitable.)
c. COGNITIVE/INFORMATION PROCESSING ABILITIES. Specific areas of information processing (e.g. short and long term memory, sequential memory, auditory and visual perception/processing, (WMS-III) and/or subtests from the WAIS III, the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, or neuropsychological test instruments assessing cognitive domain above are acceptable.
The above tests are NOT intended to be an exhaustive list or restrict assessments in other pertinent and helpful areas such as vocational interest, aptitudes and learning strengths. Rather they are guidelines to direct the areas needing assessment.
- BE CURRENT. In most cases, this means within the past three years (36 months). Since assessment constitutes the basis for determining reasonable accommodations, it is in the student's best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation to serve as the basis for decision-making about a student's needs for accommodations in an academically competitive environment. Retesting may not be required if a qualified medical professional determines it is not medically necessary.
- Present CLEAR AND SPECIFIC EVIDENCE, which identifies and states specific learning disabilities. Individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" in and of themselves do NOT specify a documented learning disability.
- INCLUDE in the report: the exact instruments used, any exceptions to standardized procedures, test score data in percentiles or standard scores, a written interpretation of the results by the professional doing the evaluation, the name of the evaluation/professional and dates of testing.
- Provide a list of recommended ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS, with SUPPORTING DATA from the assessment, which is specific to the individual assessed. Requests which are not supported by the documentation may not be approved without additional verification and documentation (to be determined by the institution's committee members).
Students should contact the Whitworth Educational Support Services Office at 509.777.4534 with any questions or concerns regarding documentation of specific learning disabilities.