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Test Accommodations

Paradigm is committed to providing full access to its programs and services to individuals with documented disabilities. Paradigm and your test sponsor are also committed to ensuring that the security, integrity, and validity of the examination are not compromised. Paradigm has been contracted by your test sponsor to review your accommodations request and supporting evidence, and to communicate with you as needed regarding your accommodations request.

The following information is provided for candidates, evaluators, faculty, and others involved in the process of documenting a request for test accommodations. We strongly encourage applicants requesting test accommodations to share these guidelines with their evaluator and with therapists, physicians, and other parties of interest so the appropriate documentation can be assembled to support your request for test accommodations.

What are test accommodations?

Your test sponsor provides reasonable and appropriate test accommodations to individuals with documented disabilities who demonstrate a need for test accommodations.  Test accommodations are designed to help ensure that the test measures what it purports to measure, rather than the negative effects of the disabling condition. The purpose of test accommodations is to provide candidates with full access to the test – not to guarantee improved performance, a passing score, test completion, or any other specific outcome.

Test accommodations are individualized and considered on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, no single type of test accommodation (e.g., extra time) would necessarily be appropriate for all individuals with disabilities. Simply demonstrating that an individual meets diagnostic criteria for a particular disorder does not mean that the person is automatically entitled to test accommodations.

Depending on the nature of your test, accommodations may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Large font exam
  • Additional test time
  • Reader and/or scribe
  • Separate testing room
  • Adjustable height desk
  • Sign language interpreter during the check-in process
  • Additional breaks

Specific test accommodations must be related to functional limitations. For example, a functional limitation might be impaired mobility due to loss of a hand, which prevents the test-taker from writing, typing, and recording answers. The appropriate test accommodation might be to have the assistance of a human recorder/scribe. It is essential that the documentation of the disability provides a clear explanation of the current functional limitation(s) and a rationale for each requested test accommodation. You should work with your doctor or other professionals who know you to determine which test accommodations are appropriate for you.

How to apply

  1. Read the Documentation Guidelines, and be sure your evaluator has read them. Prepare your supporting evidence that conforms to the Guidelines.
  2. Create a secure account.
  3. Complete the online Accommodations Request Form.
  4. Upload your completed Accommodations Request Form and supporting documentation.

Decision Timeline

Paradigm reviews requests for accommodations in the order received. We do not “expedite” accommodation reviews, so be sure you have planned ahead. It is in your best interest to submit your request for test accommodations as early as possible.

After we have your complete accommodations request and supporting evidence, Paradigm internal experts will review your request, and on occasion, may consult with independent experts as well. In addition, Paradigm consults with your test sponsor according to our contract with them. Your test sponsor has the ultimate discretion to approve or deny accommodations decisions. Accommodations decisions are usually communicated to you within 30 days of Paradigm’s receipt of your complete request. Please note that if your initial request is incomplete, this will delay the start of the 30-day review. If you have questions about your accommodations decision or the process for applying for accommodations, please contact us, not your test sponsor.

Appealing an accommodations decision

You may appeal an accommodations decision if any of your requested accommodations were not approved.

Appeal requests are generally more effective if they include:

  • A specific reason for appeal
  • Additional documentation beyond what was included with the original request

How to file an Appeal

  1. Be sure both you and your evaluator have read the Documentation Guidelines. Prepare your supporting evidence that conforms to these Guidelines. Be sure you include a statement explaining the rationale for your appeal, and provide additional supporting documentation that addresses any documentation deficiencies or concerns we noted in our initial decision letter to you.
  2. Log into your account via our secure HTTPS/SFTP page.
  3. Complete the online Accommodations Appeal Form, and check the box at the top of the form that indicates that you are filing an appeal.
  4. You may also Upload your completed Accommodations Request Form and supporting documentation.
  5. Note that the 30-day review timeline applies to all accommodations requests, including appeal requests.

Accommodations decisions will be communicated to you within 30 days.