GEDTS


How to request accommodations using Form L-15




When applying to take the GED with accommodations candidates must get FORM L-15, Accommodation Request for Learning Disabilities and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Form L-15 is available at your local GED office. There is no cost for this form. It is important that you obtain an original copy of Form L-15. The Form has blue coloring and the letter on the first page tears away so that you can retain that information for future reference.



The Cover Letter, Form L-15




Form L-15 begins with a letter that explains how to complete Form L-15. The letter tells what information is needed to document a request for accommodations due to learning disabilities (LD) and/or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-(ADHD). GEDTS' policy of accommodations conforms to the stipulations of federal laws; i.e. ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and IDEA. Federal laws mandate that a person with LD and/or ADHD must have documentation from a trained professional in the area of the stated disability that attests to (1) the candidate's cognitive potential to pass the GED or other test or employment position for which application for accommodations is made; (2)the identified disability as it affects information processing or the ability to focus attention; and (3) the significantly negative impact of the documented disability on current academic achievement. To meet the guidelines of federal law, Form L-15 requests this information. Form L-15 must be completed before requesting accommodations. Accommodations will not be granted when the disability is not documented and Form L-15 has not been completed.


If you have a documented learning disability or deficit in attention, it is important that you, or your advocate, follow the directions to complete Form L-15. Do not schedule a testing date until after Form L-15 has been completed and submitted to, and reviewed by, your GED Administrator.

If you do not have documentation of a learning disability or ADHD from a qualified professional you will need to get it. For example, a teacher in your adult basic education class may have said you have a different learning style and provided you with extra time when taking tests in the ABE class. This is a strategy that may help when taking a test but the teacher is not qualified to diagnose a specific learning disability. Testing by professionals with extensive graduate-level training in the fields of LD and ADHD is necessary. Results of this testing are required to document the disability. This testing can be expensive but there are low cost alternatives.

When you have the needed documentation, you may wish to have your ABE teacher, an advocate, your parent, or the professional who diagnosed your disability help you complete Form L-15. When Form L-15 is fully completed, return it ot the GED Testing Center. If Form L-15 has not been completed it cannot be processed. If it is fully completed your local GED office will forward your documented, Form L-15 request to the GED Administrator. The administrator will review your application.

The administrator may

You will be sent a letter with the administrator's decision. If your request is not approved, the administrator's letter will explain why the request was not approved. If more information was requested, you may want to consider attaching further documentation such as school records and IEPs or ITPs if you were identified as having a disability while in school. Frequently this information has more data and test scores that can better document your disability so that the GED administrator can approve the request. If you have the needed information resubmit the request to your local GED office. The request will then be forwarded to the GED Administrator for review.

If your requested accommodations have been approved, the GED Testing Center will also be informed and you will be accommodated on the day of testing. If you believe the approved accommodations were not provided you can contact GEDTS by returning to the Accommodating Accommodations web page and clicking the email message or you can call the GED at 1-202-939-9490.


In some cases you may feel that you meet the criteria established and that the GED administrator ruled incorrectly in your case by not approving the requested accommodations. What can you do? There are steps you can follow:


To review:


For most candidates when there is a delay in the approval process it is because Form L-15 is not correctly completed. Necessary information is missing. When Form L-15 is not correctly completed it must be returned and the process of requesting accommodations will begin again.



The following pages explain how to complete Form L-15. These pages can help make certain that Form L-15 is correctly completed.


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Filling in Form L-15: Form L-15, page 1.


We will now work to complete each section of Form L-15. In this section you will see links that take you to the section of Form L-15 that is being discussed. If you do not have a copy of Form L-15 in front of you refer to those links. The parts of Form L-15 are also listed on the sidebar. You can click the section you would like to review and it will come up on the screen.


Part I: Information

Part I: Section A
GED CHIEF EXAMINER


This section contains information that must be completed by the GED Chief Examiner. The Chief Examiner will fill in all of the information requested. The Chief Examiner will not, however, sign his or her name on Line 7 of Part I until the needed information on Form L-15 is complete. The Chief Examiner cannot send Form L-15 to the GED Administrator if Form L-15 is not complete.


Part I: Section B:
GED CANDIDATE

In Section B candidate information must be provided. This information is necessary so that the testing center can provide needed accommodations during testing to candidates with GEDTS approved requests.

Line 6 of section B. Release of Information

Federal law states that disabilities must be documented. Line 6 is a release of information section that says you give GEDTS permission to obtain and review the needed psychological or educational records. If your record contains information that does not relate to a learning disability and/or ADHD you do not need to submit that information. For example, if you had a significant emotional problem during the past year you do not need to share that information.


Section C: page 2


DOCUMENTING PROFESSIONAL


To the documenting professional.

This section does not request any information. It explains the different roles that professionals will take in providing the needed information.

It is important that the professional who administers the psychological assessment be licensed or certified as someone who is trained to use the required tests. Some of the test information requested on Form L-15 comes from information gained by administering what companies who write the tests refer to as Level C tests. These tests require advanced training. GEDTS must follow their regulations. For this reason your classroom teacher or a counsellor cannot administer the test.

If you have test information from when you were in school you can use this if it was done by the school psychologist. School psychologists are certified within each U.S. state to administer such tests.




Certifying Advocate

The certifying advocate is a person who reviews the documentation such as the psychological and educational reports. This person attests to the fact that the documentation seems to support a diagnosis of learning disability or ADHD. This person could be your ABE instructor if you are in an adult education program. The person could be an advocate. The person could also be the psychologist or educational specialist who was part of the diagnostic process.

The section for the certifying advocate is included on Form L-15 to help make certain all the needed information is included before Form L-15 is submitted to the GED Administrator for review. If the needed information is not included on Form L-15, the request will not be processed. It will be returned to you so that it can be completed. This means the process of approving your request will take much longer.



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Part II: Disability for which Accommodation is Requested

Part II: Section A:
Specific Learning Disabilities


In this section the specific learning disability (or disabilities) must be indicated. Most will find that the diagnosed disability is one that affects either reading, math or written language. Some may have learning disabilities such as those affecting memory or specific sequential processing. Such learning disabilities will be identified and explained under the category marked as Other.



Part II: Section B:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.




Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be difficult to diagnose. It is not generally thought to be a learning disability since most believe it is due to a chemical, or neurotransmitter, imbalance rather than an electrical information processing dysfunction that is thought to underly a learning disability.

Diagnosis of a ADHD requires a developmental history that indicates the presence of ADHD, a DSM-IV code number (This is the number used by the American Psychiatric Association to define disabilities), and a letter from the professional who is making the diagnosis of ADHD.

The letter must clearly state the diagnosis, must attest to the fact that the candidate has the overall potential to pass the GED commensurate with a normed passing rate of 67% of current high school seniors, and must attest to the fact that the ADHD currently, significantly impacts on educational achievement. Some standardized measure of attention, such as a test like the Conners Continuous Performance Test (CPT) should also be reported.

Since ADHD is defined as a medical disability, the diagnosis can only be made by a psychiatrist, a physician, a neurologist, or a licensed clinical or school psychologist with advanced training in the diagnosis of ADHD. GEDTS follows this policy carefully. An adult basic educational instructor, for example, may suspect that you have ADHD. That instructor could write a letter stating that you have been successful in the classroom when there are no distractions. Though this letter would be helpful it would not be accepted as a diagnosis of ADHD. Only a person licensed by a governmental authority to make such a diagnosis can make a diagnosis of ADHD.

When the certifying professional submits a letter it must be on the professional's letterhead stationery. The professional's license number or certification must also be clearly defined.

ADHD is included on Form L-15 because many people who have learning disabilities also have ADHD. Only trained professionals, however, can determine if that is the case. If the certifying professional is a licensed psychologist who has also completed Part III: Sections B and C of Form L-15, the letter is not necessary. In this case the psychologist would sign Form L-15 in Part II: Section B providing the information requested on the form. A psychiatrist, neurologist or physician could also simply sign and complete Part II: Section B, if Part III: Sections B and C are complete. In this case the psychiatrist, or the advocate, would transfer the information from the psychological and educational reports to Form L-15 in Part III: Sections B and C.


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Part III: Documentation

Part III: Section A:

CLINICAL CASE HISTORY ON FILE


This section seeks to determine if there are psychological and educational reports on file. In the case of an expert or appeals panel review this information would be needed. Included in this information could also be IEPs and ITPs. Medical reports that may be relevant could also be included in the clinical case history. These files remain in a locked file cabinet within the state, provincial, or territorial offices. They are forwarded to GEDTS in Washington D.C. only when a review of the GED Administrator's ruling is requested.


Part III: Section B:

MEASUREMENT OF POTENTIAL OR INTELLIGENCE


Federal law mandates that a person who is accommodated in the work or educational setting must be "otherwise qualified." General definitions of LD and ADHD include assumptions of average to above average intelligence. For this reason, a candidate requesting accommodations due to LD and/of ADHD must provide documentation of overall potential.

The GED is normed so that 67% of current high school seniors would be expected to pass. This means, in general, one who demonstrates average to above average intellectual potential could be one who is "otherwise qualified" under federal law.

GEDTS, however, views the term of average in the widest range possible under these guidelines. When an IQ of 70 or above is evident, the GED Administrator will review the accommodation request in accordance with the GED screening model. An IQ of 70 is significantly below average and significantly below where one would expect a person to pass the GED based on statistical and research evidence.

When a person has an overall measure below 70, the GED Administrator will forward the request to GEDTS in Washington, D.C. where it will be reviewed by one of the GEDTS experts.

It is important to understand, however, that the GED is not an easy test to pass. It is important to the integrity of the test that it remain normed to the 67% pass rate since it represents an educational attainment equivalent to a high school diploma. Employers and universities accept this equivalency and rely upon the standard that has been set by GEDTS.

The GEDTS policy on documentation has been reviewed extensively by experts in assessment, learning disabilities, ADHD, disability law, and advocacy. It has also been reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice.


Primary measures of intelligence



Supporting, or secondary, measures of intelligence include:




Test Scores


             
It is important to look carefully at what information is being requested!


                         





Date of Assessment

In this line the date given on the psychological report should be used. At the beginning of most reports it has a line that states "Date of Testing, or Date of Assessment." Many times more than one testing day was necessary. Testing, however, was done on two days that were very close to each other. Put in the most recent date of testing.

The date of assessment is important. GEDTS realizes that LD and ADHD are lifelong disabilities and that current retesting of intellectual potential is not always necessary. The following conditions apply to the date of assessment:

  • Testing must be a current reflection of adult cognitive functioning.This means that an 40 year-old person who was tested when s/he was 20 using the WAIS-R could submit that report as an indication of overall potential and patterns of relative information processing strengths and weaknesses. If, on the other hand, a person of 20 submitted test scores from when s/he was 7 years-old, those scores could not be accepted as an indication of current adult cognitive functioning.
  • If a person has testing from childhood using a test such as the WISC-R or WISC-III, while a preferred adult test would be the WAIS-R or WAIS-III, a secondary supporting current update of intellectual potential could be provided. Thus if a person has a report that includes WISC-III subtests scores current supporting testing could use the WJ-C, for example.
  • If testing from childhood only contained a statement of IQ but gave no further data, a new current WAIS-III would be required to document the patterns of relative information processing strengths and weaknesses.



Check Test Used

This section asks for the name of the test of intellectual assessment that was used to diagnose the learning disability. One of the primary measures of intellectual potential defined above must be checked. Those tests are listed in this section with a box beside them. Check the correct box.

Below the box the form requests information about the Intelligence Quotients (IQ). In the appropriate box give the Verbal IQ the Performance IQ and the Full Scale IQ. Without these scores, the GED Administrator must return Form L-15 and request further information. When Index scores, such as the Verbal Comprehension Index Score, are provided these should be included as well. These scores help GEDTS better understand the nature of the specific learning disability and/or ADHD.

All IQ and Index scores are presented as standard scores. This means that an average IQ score is 100. There is a standard deviation of 15 for most IQ tests. This means that a significant discrepancy would be defined if there were a difference of 15 points between index scores of the verbal and performance IQs. The GEDTS model, however, is more inclusive than the 15 point discrepancy.

Subtests Scaled Scores

The next section requests information about subtest scores. When a Wechsler Intelligence Test is used there are subtest scores that have a mean of 10 and a standard deviation of 3. These subtest scores present patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses and are important in the diagnosis of LD and/or ADHD. The subtests are listed on Form L-15. The scores for the subtests must be provided on Form L-15.

Some psychologists do not administer all subtests when giving a test such as the WAIS-III. Some of the subtests listed do not apply to all of the Wechsler tests. Those subtests administered; i.e., those subtests for which scaled scores are provided, must be included on Form L-15.

If the SB-IV test is used, IQ and SB-IV index scores can also be used to document the nature of the disability. These scores must be provided on Form L-15.

The psychologist or educational specialist will know how to complete the test score section of Form L-15.


Other supporting documentation

This section requests information on any other intelligence tests that may have been given. These tests are listed above under the supporting, or secondary tests of intelligence. Such tests may be administered to update previous testing. They could also be administered to better demonstrate potential in a specific area, such as nonverbal intelligence.

This section may also include other testing that more clearly defines the nature of the information processing deficit.

Tests of Information Processing include:

  • Bender Gestalt Test of Visual-Motor Abilities
  • Test of Written Language- Revised (TOWL-R)
  • Tests of memory; eg. WRML
  • Tests of auditory processing; e.g., Wepman Test of Auditory Discrimination
  • Many other tests of specific information processing capabilities exist. They would also be reported in this section of Form L-15.

Many candidates will not have further testing. In this case this part of Form L-15 will remain blank.

Psychological Diagnostician

This section provides information about the psychologist who administered the psychological evaluation. Understanding how to give and interpret intelligence tests takes advanced training. Test companies refer to tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scales as Level C tests. They require Ph.D level training and licensure before a person is permitted to purchase and administer the tests in private practice. It is important, therefore, that GEDTS makes sure that a qualified person administered the tests which are used to document the LD and/or ADHD.

Psychologists within public school systems have been certified by the school system. They have had supervised training in the school system. If testing was done by a psychologist within the school system while the candidate was attending school in that system, no licensure or Ph.D. is required.

Many governments also license school psychologists in private practice to do psychological testing. These psychologists usually have an advanced degree in school psychology. Other states provide certification to such psychologists. Depending upon the guidelines of each individual state, province or territory, GED requires certification or licensure information for those professionals who are in private practice.

In all cases, certification or licensure of the professional must be current and the area of specialization must relate to LD and/or ADHD.

The final notation at the bottom of page 4 asks whether a discrepancy or standard score model is used to determine placement for LD in the public school systems from which the candidate's request comes. This section can be left blank if the information is unkown.




Part III: Section C:


MEASUREMENT OF CURRENT EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT



In this section information about current educational achievement is requested. Achievement tests of education are designed to measure what has been learned as a result of exposure to learning experiences both in school and in general. Since the GED is a test that documents a high school level of learning, achievement tests that document reading, math and written language ability are necessary to document a learning disability. These tests assist in defining the nature of the learning disability and in insuring that appropriate accommodations are provided. Since accommodations could also actually interfere when they are not correctly provided GEDTS wants to be certain that all accommodations provided, are relevant to a candidate's documented disability.

Information about current educational achievement information is obtained from well standardized educational tests that have norms and standard scores. Those tests approved by GEDTS as primary measures of educational achievement are standardized and normed on diverse national populations. These tests also have been found to be valid and reliable.

Since it is important to know how a documented disability currently negatively impacts upon academic achievement, GEDTS requires that the educational test results be relatively current; i.e, within the last two years.

Since GEDTS is concerned that testing of educational achievement provide a clear picture of current educational achievement so that appropriate accommodations can be provided, specific tests are listed as primary, acceptable tests of academic achievement. Standard test scores, based on age norms, must be provided in the blank spaces provided on Form L-15. Many of the achievement tests are written for children. If one of the tests listed below was not included in previous educational testing, scores from this test must now be included in Part III, Section C. For more information about individual tests listed below click here.

Primary measures of educational achievement



Secondary (or supporting)tests of educational achievement.



Section C first asks for the date of educational testing and the name of the test used. This information must be provided.

The form then asks for the standard broad reading, math and written language scores. These are standard scores. Standard scores have a mean of 100. This means the scores in the blanks should be a number above or below or at 100. Percentile scores or grade equivalent scores should not be written in these blanks.

Looking at this section you will see that each broad area is broken down into sections. Often the person who administered the educational test will provide these scores as well. These can be very important in documenting LD and/or ADHD. If only the broad scores were given, however, it is not necessary to go back to the person who administered the test to obtain the individual scores; e.g;. the score for word identification.

If there is other supporting educational testing include it it the appropriate space. Again please write in the standard scores.

Educational or Psychological Diagnostician

Most frequently an educational specialist will administer the educational tests. It is important that this person be someone who is trained in the area of LD and/or ADHD. Not all educational specialists will have certification.
Psychologists also administer the educational tests when they administer the psychological tests. They can also administer them even though they have not recently given the assessment of overall intellectual potential. Psychologists are licensed or certified. The person who administers the educational assessment completes Line 5 of Section C.



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Part IV: Accommodations

Part IV: Section A:

SPECIFIC INTERVENTIONS

This section seeks information about what kinds of accommodations were made due to your disability when you were in school or in your work setting. If a teacher has suggested a particular learning strategy that has been helpful, you should may also want to explain that in this section as well.

If you were not diagnosed as having LD or ADHD while in school or previously at work, this section may be left blank.

If you were not previously diagnosed, but a current instructor has suggested effective learning strategies that seem to work for you, you may want to include them here.



Part IV: Section B:

STATEMENT OF NEEDED ACCOMMODATIONS


In this section it is important to define how the diagnosed disability relates to the currently requested accommodations. Here evidence from past accommodations that have worked as well as test scores and previous special educational placements should be included.


Accommodations

This section lists the approved GEDTS accommodations. Those accommodations that relate specifically to the diagnosed disability should be checked. For example, if a math disability were identified a candidate might request extended time on the math test and the use of a calculator. A suggestion that the candidate would be anxious when taking the test and thus need a private room and breaks would not relate to a diagnosed disability that significantly negatively impacts. Many people could be expected to be nervous or anxious when taking a test. This is not, in general, a dehabilitating disability significantly different from what one would expect of most people.
  • Extended time: most find that 1 1/2 normal time is sufficient extra time. Double time or triple time can, however, be requested if diagnosis and presented information supports this time request. Those who want to take tests on separate days must contact their local GED Testing Center. GEDTS does not approve this request.
  • Audiocassette: Candidates who request the use of the audiocassette need to request a practice test using the audiocassette. The GED uses a tone indexed audiocassette. For some this can be difficult to use without prior experience.
  • Scribe: The scribe must be a person provided by the GED center. This person records all of the responses of the candidate.
  • Calculator: The calculator is useful for those who may have difficulty aligning math problems in basic calculation steps. It is not as helpful for those who have difficulty reasoning how to do a math problem.
  • Frequent breaks: When frequent breaks are requested the amount of time for the breaks and the amount of time taking the test must be specified.
  • Other: In some cases GEDTS provides other accommodations when it is clear that a very significant disability, such as cerebral palsy that can limit both the written and spoken word, is defined.



Because of test security issues and the cost of development of a new test should security be violated, word processors and computers are not accommodations included on Form L-15. These are not reasonable accommodations. The new GED tests that will be released in 2002 are looking at ways to make these forms of accommodations possible.


Some test taking strategies that have been effective in the past do not require GEDTS approval. Large print editions of the GED can be requested by all who take the GED. Persons who use a straight edge or colored overlays to help with reading may bring these to testing. Their use does not require GEDTS approval. If you prefer to sit, for example, by a window you may request such a seat. If space permits the GED examiner will try to fulfill your request. It is important, however, to check with the GED examiner prior to the use of any strategies to be certain that they are within GEDTS guidelines.


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Checklist

The top of page 6 provides a checklist. It is important that the checklist be reviewed before submitting a request for accommodations due to LD and/or ADHD. An incomplete Form L-15 must be returned for the needed information. This will significantly slow the review process.



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Official Use Only


The final section of Form L-15 is for use only by the GED Administrator. In this section the administrator, using a Level 1 screening review of a request for accommodations, makes a determination of what accommodations are to be provided.



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This page maintained by Kathleen Ross-Kidder, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, The George Washington University; Psychological consultant to GEDTS





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