Criteria for Diagnostic Documentation

To best assess the current impact of an examinee’s disability or functional limitations as they apply to the test taking process, documentation must be written by a qualified professional and must meet all of these guidelines:

  • States the specific impairment as diagnosed
  • Is current (refer to specific diagnosis
  • Describes presenting problems and developmental history, including relevant educational and medical history
  • Describes substantial limitations (adverse effects on learning or other major life activities) resulting from the impairment, as supported by test results
  • Describes how the recommended accommodations address the substantial limitation and alleviate the impact of the disability when taking a timed standardized test
  • Establishes the professional credentials of the evaluator, including information about licensure or certification, education, and area of specialization
  • Includes comprehensive assessments (neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluations) with evaluation dates used to arrive at the diagnosis
     

Documentation by Type of Disability

Each request for accommodation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis using appropriate documentation. If a particular element of documentation is not provided, the diagnostician must explain why it is not included in the submission.The above information may be strengthened by the submission of letters from teachers discussing specific ways in which the condition affects the examinee in the classroom and in testing situations, or submission of completed Teacher Survey Form (PDF)

The applicant must provide the results of age-appropriate diagnostic testing performed by a qualified professional within the past three years. Documentation must address the following:

  1. Description of the presenting problem(s) and its (their) developmental history, including relevant educational and medical history
  2. Neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation which includes results of an intellectual assessment using a complete and comprehensive battery
  3. Results of a complete achievement battery
  4. Other appropriate assessments for consideration of a differential diagnosis from co-existing neurological or psychiatric disorders
  5. Specific diagnosis and evidence that alternative explanations were ruled out
  6. Description of the functional limitations supported by the test results and a rationale for the recommended test accommodations specific to those functional limitations

 

The applicant must provide diagnostic results from an evaluation by a qualified professional within the past three years. Documentation must address the following:

  1. Original diagnosis (e.g. date/age/grade, diagnosing professional, symptoms/impairment, course of treatment, and educational/behavioral/social interventions)
  2. Evidence of childhood onset before age 12 (symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity demonstrated in two or more settings)
  3. Evidence of current impairment, including:
    • A statement of presenting problems (e.g. academic failure or significant struggle, poor social/familial functioning, relationships, behavioral problems)
    • A diagnostic interview
  4. A ruling out of alternative diagnoses and explanations
  5. Relevant testing using reliable, valid, standardized, and age-appropriate assessments to determine functional limitation (e.g. intellectual, achievement, neuropsychological, and rating scale measures from multiple sources)
  6. Number of applicable DSM-IV or DSM-5 criteria and a description of how the criteria impair the examinee (e.g. measurable impairment in academic achievement, social functioning, sports, extracurricular activities, employment, clubs, daily adaptive functioning, and/or executive functioning. Failure to finish timed tests cannot be used in isolation to demonstrate impairment.)
  7. Specific ADHD diagnosis (ADHD-Predominantly inattentive, ADHD-Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, ADHD- Combined, ADHD-NOS, or Unspecified)

Mood or Anxiety Disorders or Serious and Persistent Mental Illness

The applicant must provide diagnostic information from an evaluation by a qualified professional within the past year. Documentation must address the following:

  1. Specific diagnosis
  2. Age of onset and the course of the illness
  3. Psychological tests used
  4. The history of treatment for the disorder, including medication and/or psychotherapy
  5. Evidence of current impairment, including a statement of presenting problems (e.g. academic failure or significant struggle, poor social/familial functioning, behavioral problems)
  6. In addition, please tell us how the examinee’s impairment affects his/her functioning across settings. Observations and/or rating scales of the examinee’s functional limitations in academic achievement, behavior, mood, and/or adaptive functioning may be helpful.

Due to the variable nature of these conditions, documentation of a psychiatric disorder must be within the past year.

The applicant must provide diagnostic results from a complete ocular examination performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist within the past year. Documentation must address the  following:

  1. Specific ocular diagnosis
  2. Record of complete, current (within past 12 months) ocular examination including: chief complaint, history of illness, eye health, visual acuity both at a distance and near point, complete ocular motility exam (versions, tropias, phorias, stereopsis), slit lamp exam, visual field, pupil exam, optic nerve, and retina
  3. History of treatment for the disorder, including any evaluations or therapy notes (e.g. vision therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy), and a statement about whether or not the condition is stable or progressive, and whether the examinee needs extended testing time, or the opportunity to take vision breaks during testing.

If the diagnosed condition is purported to affect reading, results of a measure of reading (decoding, rate, and comprehension) are required. Examples of acceptable measures of reading include the WIAT-III and GSRT. Assertions of poor reading speed (or other conditions requiring additional time) made by vision professionals must be corroborated by educational and/or psychometric data. Letters from an eye care professional and/or a Visagraph score are not acceptable as evidence of reading problems requiring extended time on the ACT.

The applicant must provide diagnostic results from a full hearing test performed by a qualified professional within the past three years. Documentation must also address the following:

  1. Relevant medical history, including date of hearing loss
  2. Specific diagnosis
  3. Description of functional limitation (with and without any hearing aids or assistive devices or treatments)
  4. Related educational history, including information regarding reading and language skills
  5. Specific recommendation for accommodation(s) and accompanying rationale

The applicant must provide diagnostic results from an evaluation by a qualified professional within the past three years. Documentation must address the following:

  1. Original diagnosis (e.g. date/age/grade, diagnosing professional, symptoms/impairment, course of treatment)
  2. Current and prior psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluations
  3. A history of special education interventions (e.g. specialized instruction, self-contained classrooms or schools, one-to- one aides, exemptions from proficiency or graduation exams)
  4. Current information regarding adaptive behavior, attention, executive functioning, language skills, and mental health
  5. Rationale for accommodations, based on current impairment

The applicant must provide diagnostic results from an evaluation by a qualified professional within the past three years. Documentation must address the following:

  1. Specific diagnosis and a description of the presenting problems
  2. Developmental history including relevant educational history
  3. Results of speech and language assessments, including measures of expressive and receptive language, and communication skills
  4. Evidence that demonstrates the current impact of a speech and language disorder on reading, written expression, and/ or learning
  5. Description of the functional limitations supported by the test results and a rationale for the recommended test accommodations specific to those functional limitations

The applicant must provide complete medical documentation from the qualified treating professional within the past year. While medical conditions may cause problems in psychological and educational areas, objective evidence that such problems are present is a requirement.

Documentation must address the following:

  1. Specific diagnosis and age/date of onset
  2. Current and/or prior course of medical treatment, including the impact of medical treatment specific to the examinee
  3. Current and/or prior therapy outcomes (e.g. physical, occupational and/or speech therapy, mental health counseling/ psychiatric treatment)
  4. Current impact on examinee’s education (e.g. school absence, hospital and/or homebound status, reduced school schedule)
  5. Current impact on academic functioning (e.g. psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluations, grade reports, transcripts, and/or other standardized testing)

ACT does not require images or lab reports.

The applicant must provide complete medical documentation from the qualified treating professional within the past year. While medical conditions may cause problems in psychological and educational areas, objective evidence that such problems are present is a requirement.

Documentation must address the following:

  1. The date of accident
  2. Status and diagnosis upon hospital admission
  3. Length of hospital stay
  4. Discharge date, review of type and outcome of outpatient therapy (Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy), if applicable
  5. Length of school absence and/or confirmation of any homebound service or reduced school schedule
  6. Evidence of continued educational impairment and its relationship to the requested accommodations, as supported by objective data. Examples include:
    • A complete evaluation of intellectual, neurocognitive, and academic skills, using acceptable batteries of assessment (impact results cannot be used in isolation to demonstrate psychological or neuropsychological impairment)
    • Observations and/or rating scales of the examinee’s functional limitations in academic achievement, behavior, mood, and/or adaptive functioning
    • Interventions provided by the examinee’s school