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College Board

Homepage Home > Testing > Students with Disabilities > Application Process > Documentation Guidelines > Functional Limitations

Functional Limitations

What is a functional limitation and how should it be described?

Not all students with disabilities require accommodations on College Board tests. For example, consider the following:

  • Students with visual impairments that are corrected by eyeglasses may not need accommodations;
  • Some students with medical conditions who are restricted in physical education in school may not require accommodations on written standardized tests;
  • Some students with hearing impairments who need accommodations such as a note-taker in school may not need accommodations on a written standardized test.

To be eligible for accommodations on College Board tests, students must have a physical or mental condition that substantially influences their ability to participate in College Board tests.  This is called functional limitation.

Describe the limitation

A student's functional limitation results from his or her disability.  It describes how the student's daily functioning is affected, as well as how the student's disability affects his or her ability to take College Board tests.  A student's functional limitations should be described in his or her documentation.

How should functional limitations be documented?

In most cases, the results of a student's comprehensive testing or evaluation should be included with his or her documentation.  However, there are ways to demonstrate functional limitation, and documentation may vary according to disability:

  • Psychoeducational evaluation, including both test scores and narrative (should always be included when the student is LD or ADHD).
  • Standardized test scores, using national norms to support both the diagnosis and functional limitation (Include standard/scaled scores).
  • Summary of the student's developmental, educational and/or medical history.
  • Teachers' observations (download the Teacher Survey Form (.pdf/79k).
  • Where applicable, results of speech and language or occupational therapy evaluations.

For more information on documentation requirements for specific disabilities, including commonly used tests/measures, see Documenting Specific Disabilities.   

For more information, be sure to follow Documentation Guidelines and College Board Guidelines for Documentation.

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