The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990 and amended in 2008, is a sweeping civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.. The purpose of the law is to ensure that those with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in areas such as public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.1
The ADA ensures that individuals with disabilities have a full and fair opportunity to compete for and pursue opportunities by requiring testing entities to offer exams in a manner that best ensures that the test is accessible to persons with disabilities. When the necessary accommodations are provided, exam takers can demonstrate their true knowledge and abilities.2
Exams administered by any private, state, or local government entity related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes are covered by the ADA and testing accommodations must be provided in accordance with ADA.3
We’ve helped countless students secure the necessary accommodations for all types of exams, including:
Appropriate test accommodations vary on a case by case basis and depend on how the person’s disability affects them in the taking of an examination. For example, testing companies must ensure that examinations are offered at equally convenient locations, as often, and in as timely a manner as other examinations and are administered so as to accurately reflect the individual’s knowledge and abilities. Examinations must be offered in facilities that are accessible to individuals with disabilities or alternative accessible arrangements must be made.
Common types of test accommodations include4:
Any documentation required to prove the need for testing accommodations must be reasonable, limited and relevant to the nature of the individual’s disability. Documentation can include recommendations of qualified professionals, proof of past testing accommodations, or a history of diagnosis. Generally, a testing entity should limit its request for documentation to one or two documents and evaluate the request based on those. Requests for unnecessary documentation may constitute a denial of equal opportunity and undue burden on the candidate.5
If a student requests testing accommodations, the entity must respond in a timely manner to ensure equal opportunity. Failure to do so could result in delays that constitute a denial of equal opportunity or treatment for persons with disabilities.6
It’s not always easy applying for testing accommodations. In many cases, students are denied the needed accommodations or given insufficient accommodations, thus adversely impacting their ability to fairly compete. If you have had trouble securing testing accommodations or need guidance doing so, we can help.