This is Part 2 in a four-part guest series.
In this series, Dr. Martin Friedmutter, a licensed pscyhologist, explains how test accommodations can help your student optimize his or her performance for standardized tests such as the ACT, SAT, GRE, and LSAT.
An aptitude test measures a person’s capacity to learn. You may know an aptitude test by a different name, an IQ Test. In order to determine if an individual qualifies for test accommodations, we have to measure a person’s ability to learn. This is determined with a battery of individualized aptitude tests. We then compare an individual’s capacity for learning to his or her individual academic abilities. This is one part of the process in determining if an individual’s disability is interfering with their learning process. We then recommend test accommodations to alleviate the impact of an individual’s disability on an examination, such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, or LSAT.
One important area to assess when evaluating an individual’s ability to learn is Executive Functioning. This consists of several critical areas for learning:
- Working memory—This is an individual’s ability to hold information in short-term memory.
- Problem solving—This consists of generating alternative ways to solve a problem or to attain a goal.
- Planning—Once we determine a way to solve a problem, we must then plan how to attain that goal. In order to achieve and learn, an individual must determine the strategies and ways to attain goals and any sub-goals.
- Self-monitoring—In order to be successful with achieving goals, an individual must reflect on his or her plans and strategies. An individual should provide personal feedback to himself or herself to determine if he or she is approaching a goal in a successful way.
- Interference control—As we are working towards a goal, we must stay focused and not let outside distractions (or even internal distractions) prevent us from attaining the goal.
There are other areas that are related to executive functioning, such as self-motivation and regulation of one’s emotions.
However, these are not assessed during the aptitude test.
The assessment of executive functioning helps to determine if an individual qualifies for test accommodations. More importantly, once a student becomes aware of his or her weaknesses and strengths in this area, Signet can help in developing a plan to overcome these weaknesses and utilize one's strengths in succeeding—not just on standardized tests, but in life.
Part 3 will discuss the importance of academic tests when evaluating an individual for test accommodations.
Dr. Friedmutter is the Director of the Westchester Career & Learning Center and is a licensed psychologist with over twenty years of experience (www.drfriedmutter.com). One of his areas of specialization is the treatment and diagnosis of children, adolescents and adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Learning Disabilities (LD). He has extensive experience with the evaluation and treatment with children and adults who have ADHD and/or LD. He also specializes in evaluations for test accommodations.
* Throughout this series, it is important to remember that test accommodations are not a substitute for individual test prep and are not necessary or appropriate for every student.