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Roger E. Lauer, Ph.D.
Roger E. Lauer, Ph.D. Director
Developing Unique Minds
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High Stakes Exams

High Stakes Exams

High-stakes exams are used primarily to help make decisions about admissions to certain programs (e.g., private school, college) or can have consequences for the individual taking the exam (e.g., grade promotion, graduation or employment). Examples of these tests include the Michigan Merit Exam, ERB, SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, USMLE or bar exam. Individuals who have diagnosed disabilities that significantly limit their ability to take tests may be eligible for accommodations or modifications on the exams under the Americans with Disability Act Amendment Act (ADAAA).

As an example of how this might work: someone with a diagnosis of ADHD (or dyslexia, dysgraphia or anxiety disorder) may be eligible for any (or all) of the following:

  • extra time for test taking
  • using an alternative answer form (computer, paper, scribe)
  • access to a quiet room that doesn’t have distractions (no windows, other students)
  • extra breaks during testing
  • testing over the course of more than one day

Accommodations such as these have to have a solid basis and necessity; therefore, obtaining a diagnosis from a qualified professional often is required as part of the application process to help determine eligibility. Most organizations mandate that the evaluation diagnosis needs to be no older than three years old, so keeping current with these requirements is an important part of the process. The professionals at CNLD can assist you in this process by providing the necessary testing and report documentation.

An important point to note: having a history of receiving accommodations in the classroom, obtaining a diagnosis of a disability or disorder from our clinic and/or getting recommendations for accommodations doesn’t automatically entitle you to accommodations in the future. The diagnosis must be associated with your current functional limitations. Testing organizations also are not required to provide accommodations that fundamentally would alter what the exam is intended to test.