The recent college admissions scandal revealed how some individuals took advantage of the extra time accommodation on the SAT and ACT exams meant for students with certain disabilities. By doing so, they cast doubt on the necessity and importance of such accommodations and, ultimately, hurt the students who truly need them.
Since 1981 Learning Associates has conducted comprehensive educational evaluations. Like the majority of educational consultants, our testing is honest, objective, and unbiased. The families who bring their children to us are not trying to “game the system”, but rather determine why they struggle academically. We do not start with a pre-determined diagnosis and then test to support it.
Our evaluation process begins with an interview with the student and parent. We collect information to understand the child’s academic, social/emotional, and medical history. We review report cards and standardized test results in addition to any previous relevant testing. Each evaluation consists of 8 to 9 hours of testing over several sessions. The test findings and data are explained in a detailed report which includes specific recommendations to be implemented at home and in school. If accommodations are appropriate based on the testing, they will also be outlined in the report. Although the extra time accommodation has been in the recent news cycle, it is only one of many accommodations available to students. Other accommodations can include assistive technology, alternative teaching methods, and study strategies. Our evaluations also identify suitable educational programs and materials.
As a society, we have made significant progress in raising awareness and removing the stigma historically associated with learning disabilities and mental illness. Students are less likely to feel ashamed to say they have dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety, or depression. We encourage our older clients to attend the post-testing conferences, so we can explain their strengths and weaknesses and provide them with the tools they need to advocate for themselves.