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& Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20585 Dear Ms. Reno: I am writing to you in regard to a matter that has been brought to my attention by the Center for Learning and Adaptive Student Services (C.L.A.S.S.) at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The coordinator of the C.L.A.S.S. program has grave concerns about the treatment of students with disabilities who have asked for special testing accommodations from the Educational Testing Services in Princeton, New Jersey. The specific tests in question are the PPST (Pre Professional Skills Test for individuals who want to be licensed as teachers) and the CRE (Graduate Record Examination for students planning to pursue graduate studies). The students with disabilities who have applied to ETS to take these tests by special arrangement have had to meet requirements that appear to be unduly difficult and perhaps discriminatory. In the past, ETS has required students with disabilities who wished to use special accommodations to submit the same application as non-disabled students. They also required a statement from a professional in the field attesting that the claimed disability had been diagnosed and documented and that the student had utilized similar accommodations in her or his current educational setting. This information was usually readily available in the student's file. Once the student followed these procedures, permission to test was generally granted in a timely manner, and the student was allowed the accommodations requested. Students with disabilities from Augsburg College who have attempted to take the test recently have encountered new and onerous obstacles. ETS has told them that they must provide
newer and additional documentation before being granted special accommodations. When C.L.A.S.S. contacted ETS for clarification, they were told that ETS was changing its policies and now wanted copies of original documentation of the student's disability, which should include a list of specific accommodations needed for the test. These requirements are not stated in the PPST (now PRAXIS) application materials which ostensibly cover registration 01-03053
United States Senate WASHINGTON, DC 20510-2303 procedures through August 6, 1994. They also appear to be unnecessary and illogical: original diagnostic reports and documentation, typically completed several years ago and under vastly different circumstances, would be unlikely to contain a list of special testing accommodations needed by the student several years in the future, and quite probably would not accurately reflect the student's present needs. These new requirements, which are contrary to the requirements delineated in ETS application materials, have proved to be considerable obstacles to students with disabilities from Augsburg College who have been attempting to secure the accommodations to which they are entitled under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Apparently, students from other states have encountered similar difficulties. Dr. Jane Jarrow of the Association on Higher Education and Disability, a national organization, has written a letter to Ms. Jeanette Lim of the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. Dr. Jarrow details the consequences of ETS's unclear and difficult requirements for students with disabilities and questions their usefulness. I would like to add my voice to hers. I would appreciate it if you would review this matter and apprise me of your findings. I fear that students with disabilities, as a consequence of these new requirements, are being denied access to tests that are crucial for their future academic and professional prospects. You may direct your response to Sue Abderhlden, a member of my staff, at:
2550 University Ave. West Suite 100 North St. Paul, MN 55114 612/645-0323 Thank you for your assistance. Sincerely,
David Wellstone United States Senator PDW:sa:jw 01-03054