Accommodation Testing Explained
My child needs something called accommodation testing! This is what we hear from many worried parents who call our office seeking testing for their children. Schools refer families when their children have struggled with meeting school demands. Often times, student also struggle in completing standardized tests required by colleges or schools (e.g., SAT, ACT, GRE, etc.). Students may have problems in completing assignments, organization, time management, and are not showing their abilities in school. Parents and schools may feel that the student is in need of accommodations (e.g., extended time) to help them compensate for underlying learning difficulties.
Even if a student has an “obvious” learning challenge, schools and test boards generally require professional testing and documentation supporting the need for accommodations. Which is why students and families come to us! We work with parents, students, and schools to provide the appropriate testing needed. Our testing explores if a student needs and meets the requirements for additional supports. In addition, we focus on also helping them better understand their unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. This helps to maximize their potential!
Here is a brief overview of the most common questions we get from families wanting to learn more about accommodation testing. Please note: below is a general overview of accommodation specific testing. For additional detailed information regarding accommodation testing, or for information regarding other types and purposes of testing please visit our web page specific to our assessment services here or contact our office for more information.
What is accommodation testing?
Accommodation testing is also referred to as Psychoeducational Evaluation, Comprehensive Psychoeducational Assessment, or any combination of the words. Assessment and evaluation are used interchangeably.
Accommodation testing helps determine if a student has a learning disability, diagnosis, or other significant difficulties that impact their ability to learn. Typically, the evaluation includes standardized tests that examine a student’s cognitive, information processing, academic, and socio-emotional functioning. These combination of tests allows a psychologist to identify any underlying learning disabilities, information-processing weaknesses, and/or emotional/social difficulties that impact a student’s ability to learn and perform. By understanding a person’s profile of strengths and weaknesses, a psychologist can then make specific recommendations (including school accommodations). The purpose of these recommendations is to help students compensate for their challenges so that they can show their true abilities.
Who does accommodation testing?
A licensed psychologist, with specialized training, administers these tests. Students enrolled in a doctoral-level program or recent doctoral-level graduates, who are not yet licensed, may also perform the testing under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
Who is it for?
Students and individuals who are seeking accommodations for school related activities. This may include in the classroom for completing schoolwork, taking classroom tests, etc. Additional tests with accommodation may also include exams that are not part of the regular curriculum such as Advanced Placement Tests (AP), PSAT, SAT, or ACT; as well as graduate school level tests such as GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT. Many of the testing boards have specific requirements in the documentation needed to request test accommodations, visit their specific websites for more information.
What are some sample accommodations?
Accommodations are based upon an individual’s unique profile of strengths and weaknesses, this is merely a quick sample of possible accommodations.
- Extended time (e.g., if a student typically get 60 min on a test, the student can get 90 or 120 minutes)
- Preferential seating
- Reduced distraction environments for test-taking
- Access to a computer and/or technology during class for note-taking
- Use of calculator
- Provision of notes/outlines
What does testing look like and how longs does it take?
The testing process takes approximately 3-4 test sessions, each lasting 3 hours. The examiner meets with the student and family for a clinical interview during the first appointment, then individually with the student for test administration. Parents participate via the clinical interview, as well as by completing parent rating forms. If possible, we also include teacher and/or school participation. This can include conversation with teachers or school staff, and/or teachers completing teacher rating forms. Once the testing is complete, a feedback session is held, lasting approximately 2 hours, in which the testing results, diagnoses, and recommendations/accommodations are explained in detail to the parents and student. Therefore, the overall length of this process depends on various factors, especially scheduling. Generally, from first test session to feedback, most assessments are completed within 4 weeks.
What does it cost?
Learning dynamics provides services at a reduced rate and on a sliding scale. Our assessments are “flat-fee” ranging from $3400-$5200, based on household income. Students; individuals who have obtained a degree in the past two years; and teachers receive our lowest rate- regardless of income. We are in-network with insurance providers and have established partnerships with various schools which and offer different pricing. For information regarding our insurance or school partnership pricing, please contact our office (310)855-3276.