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How to effectively seek out a Psychoeducational Evaluation for Accommodations on High Stakes Tests

By Dr. Beth Klein, of LifePoint Counseling in Weston, FL

Students with documented disabilities at a sufficient level of severity deserve appropriate accommodations to have fair access to educational and career opportunities. However, students who receive accommodations in high school or college may not be granted accommodations on standardized admission or certification tests (SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, DAT, OAT, USMLE, Bar Exam, etc). Performance on "high stakes tests" can ultimately have an important impact on your future.

The process of requesting accommodations for high stakes admissions tests involves the most stringent criteria for any type of psychoeducational evaluation. It is very important, then, to select a qualified psychologist who has specialized experience with this process, and who takes the time necessary to address the specific criteria involved. Here is a checklist of traits to look for in a practitioner:

Educational credentials:

  1. The academic or professional institution where they earned their degree
  2. Any specialized internship or postdoctoral fellowship focused on learning disabilities, ADHD, or the particular area of interest for you
Experience:
  1. Experience in a reputable clinic or academic setting
  2. A practice focused on assessment of adolescents and adults with reading and writing disabilities, math disability, ADHD, NVLD, Asperger Syndrome, psychological disorders, etc.
  3. Additional helpful experience includes:
    • Involvement in a program for Students with Disabilities at the college, graduate school, or professional school level
    • Experience with documentation review
Characteristics:
  1. Adherence to requirements: Assessment reports should precisely follow the requirements of the appropriate Regulating Board (e.g. College Board, ETS, LSAC, AAMC, NBME, etc.), including use of approved tests. Additionally, supportive paperwork should be completed thoroughly, using evidence based on history, observations & testing results.
  2. Reasonableness: The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if qualifications are met. The examiner should not send a message that guarantees accommodations for any particular student.
  3. Knowledge: Examiners should be knowledgeable about the Reconsideration and Appeals processes where appropriate.
Keep in mind that, without proper documentation, a student may be denied accommodations even if he or she has a disability which warrants them. Seeking out relevant information through practitioner websites, online CV’s (resumés) and direct questioning can be well worth your time and investment.

Dr. Beth Klein is a Licensed Psychologist and Academic Consultant, as well as a past University Professor. For more information about psychoeducational evaluations for high stakes testing, please feel free to contact her through the following websites: http://www.iser.com/drbethklein-FL.html and www.lifepointcounseling.com.



Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.

 

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