Documentation guidelines for students with psychiatric disorders
Some students with psychiatric disorders may be eligible for accommodations on College Board tests. To be eligible for accommodations on College Board tests, a student with a psychiatric disorder must have documentation that meets the College Board's Guidelines, including evidence of functional limitation. See:
A student should submit:
- Documentation of the initial evaluation in which the psychiatric disorder was diagnosed
- A current psychiatric update, completed within the past 12 months. The update should describe the current impact of the student's disability as it affects the student's ability to take College Board tests. It need not be a full evaluation, and need not be conducted by the person who conducted the initial evaluation.
Note that the documentation should demonstrate not only that the student has a disability, but also that the student requires the specific accommodation requested (for example, a student requesting extended time should provide documentation of difficulties under timed conditions). For documentation guidelines for specific accommodations, see:
Not all students with psychiatric disorders require accommodations on College Board tests. A student's documentation should demonstrate that the impairment affects his or her daily functioning and ability to participate in College Board tests. For example, in most cases, anxiety by itself, when it does not interfere with activities other than taking tests, does not support a need for accommodations on College Board tests. See Functional Limitations.
All students with psychiatric disorders should submit documentation showing that a comprehensive assessment was conducted to arrive at the diagnosis and to determine the need for the requested accommodations. The documentation should include:
- A summary of the assessment procedures and evaluation instruments used to make the diagnosis
- A narrative summary of the evaluation results
- A rationale for each accommodation recommended by the evaluator
In most cases, the comprehensive assessment should include a psychoeducational evaluation or neuropsychological evaluation, including test scores. (See Learning Disabilities for a list of commonly used tests). However, in some cases, the following information may also be helpful to document a psychiatric disability and the need for testing accommodations:
- Psychiatric evaluation
- Teacher observations
- School records and logs
- Summary of psychological and educational history
A doctor's note or teacher observations by themselves are not sufficient to substantiate a request for accommodations; a comprehensive assessment must be provided.