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Guidelines for Documentation of a Specific Learning Disability

Tidewater Community College students seeking academic accommodations for Specific Learning Disability are required to submit documentation verifying eligibility under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

All documentation is confidential and is not considered a part of the academic transcript. The following guidelines are provided in the interest of identifying evaluation reports appropriate to document eligibility.

Testing must be comprehensive and contain at least  the following domains:


  • The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - 4th Edition; or
  • the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - 4th Edition; or the most current scale, with unprorated subtest scores; or
  • the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery 3, Tests of Cognitive Abilities.


Current levels of achievement in reading, mathematics and written language are required.

Preferred instruments are:

  • the Woodcock-Johnson 3 Test of Achievement;
  • the Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults;
  • the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test; the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, 2nd Edition;

or a compendium of instruments including the

  • Test of Written Language 4 [TOWL-4],
  • the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test - Revised, and
  • the Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test.
  • The Wide Range Achievement Test 4 should be supplemented.

In addition, an evaluation of the student's current record of academic achievement and standardized testing may be applicable.

Information Processing:

Specific areas of information processing such as short and long-term memory, sequential memory, processing speed, auditory and visual perception must be assessed.

The following subtests are acceptable:

  • the WAIS-4 or
  • the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Ability: Standard and Supplemental Cognitive Subtests

Testing must be current, which typically means within the last three years for older adolescents and young adults.

Comprehensive documentation for an evaluation completed after high school graduation or the eighteenth birthday, which is not more than ten years old, is considered acceptable for immediate reasonable accommodation. Disabilities Services is responsible to advise students that other institutions may require more stringent and timely documentation.

Assessment constitutes the basis for determining reasonable accommodations, so it is in the best interest of the student to provide recent and comprehensive documentation.

Clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability must be stated on the basis of the following attributes:

  1. Average to above average or superior intellectual ability. To best serve the adult community college population, definition of average shall be one standard deviation below and above the mean. For most assessment instruments this range is between the standard scores of 85 and 115.
  2. Statistically significant intra-cognitive processing deficits, or
  3. Statistically significant aptitude achievement discrepancy[ies].
  4. Measured achievement in an instructional or employment setting and statement of appropriate adaptive behaviors.
  5. Statements such as individual "learning styles" and "learning differences" in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability.
  6. Professionals conducting and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disability must be qualified to do so. Trained and licensed psychologist, neuropsychologists, learning disabilities specialists, and educational therapists are typically involved in assessment. Experience in working with an adult population is essential.
  7. Evaluators should be able to demonstrate that the selection of assessment instruments is based upon suitability, as to reliability and validity, for use with an adult population.
  8. Reports must include: the names and titles of evaluators; names of all tests administered; test scores and related data in standard score format, including subtest scores; and date of evaluation.
  9. Reports must contain recommendations for reasonable accommodations suitable to a postsecondary academic setting.
  10. Presentation of proof of accommodation from another postsecondary institution, accompanied by documentation, is acceptable for immediate accommodation at Tidewater Community College.