Accommodated Testing Appeals

MargaretLizer
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:36 pm

Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby MargaretLizer » Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:21 pm

Hey all,

I know that accommodated testing is a controversial topic. I'm looking for advice on whether or not I should appeal LSAC's denial of accommodations, not whether they should be a thing or whether or not I should go to law school/be a lawyer. (This is a long post. Feel free to hit the back button if you're don't want to read the whole thing and comment only on the decision to appeal.)

The basic gist is that I have several disabilities. (I do have ADHD and a learning disability, but I also have medical conditions that impair me to a far greater degree and that's really what I am seeking accommodations for.) I have a long history of accommodations, including an IEP in high school and formal accommodations in college. Because I was a huge moron, I did not apply for accommodations on college entrance exams because I didn't want to deal with the stigma, despite having letters from doctors and it being written into the IEP that I needed it. That said, there is a lovely discrepancy between my college entrance exam scores and my undergraduate GPA (of which the latter puts me above the 75% for all but about 3 law schools.)

Due to the stigma and also how notoriously the LSAC denies accommodations requests, I did not apply for accommodations the first time I took the test several years ago. My score was mediocre--higher than the median for sure, but not high enough to apply to any of the schools I'm interested in. Since that time, some of my disabilities have gotten significantly worse, to the point that I am on approved leave of absence from work. (I am spending a lot of time trying to get them under control so that I will be able to function in law school next year.) I was planning on taking the September LSAT, but a couple of weeks before the test things got worse and my PT averages dropped about 10 points, so I decided to push back to December and looked into accommodations again. I decided since the LSAC was no longer flagging scores and because they had the new reciprocity deal, it was worth going for.

In my application for accommodations, I specifically addressed the previous mediocre-but-not-terrible score by showing with a lot of documentation how much worse off I am now as opposed to several years ago. I also of course completed the required neuropsych testing, investing a lot of time and money into that, but figuring it would be worth it when it came to admissions and scholarships.

My request was denied. The LSAC was surprisingly upfront about why, citing my previous LSAT score and the fact that my reading comprehension score under standard time on the neuropsych exam was above the median for all test takers who take that test. While I'm sure this is true, this score was BELOW the median for my age group and about 50 percentile points below my score when I had time-and-a-half. My reading speed was below the 10th percentile.

I know that LSAC is stringent with accommodations for all the right reasons. I also know that as someone who has achieved success in the past, why I look suspicious. But I'm not trying to gain an unfair advantage, just what I would be able to do without these disabilities. And their rationale doesn't really fit with the documentation I submitted.

So my question is this: Do I just suck it up, take the LSAT in two weeks and apply with whatever score I get? If I do this, I know I'm preventing myself from ever getting accommodations on the LSAT and am pretty much excluding myself from Bar accommodations as well. Or do I appeal, meaning I sit out another admissions cycle? I also really, really don’t want to put law school off for another year, but recognize how late I am in the cycle already and have put a significant investment of time and money into the accommodations process. I would much rather get into a fantastic school with a scholarship next year than attend a decent/mediocre school this year. However, if the appeals process is never going to work, it certainly isn’t worth sitting out another year for no reason. I also know I can address the denial of accommodations in an addenda/diversity statement, but I of course would rather just have a strong score and not need to make excuses.

Do I have a shot with an appeal? Any idea of what might be involved? (For example, would I have to get a lawyer involved or could I handle it myself?) Or is it simply not going to happen? Has anyone gotten, been denied, and/or appealed accommodations? How did it go?

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it!

(And if the folks who award accommodations happen to read this, I am sure you know exactly who I am. Feel free to just change the decision or weigh in on the appeals process. :D)

BillsFan9907
Posts: 1381
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:28 am

Re: Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby BillsFan9907 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:24 pm

Apply for accommodations across the board for all post secondary exams. If you get accommodations for one, LSAC by law is required to give them to you. I worked for a disability attorney for a while.
Last edited by BillsFan9907 on Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

MargaretLizer
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby MargaretLizer » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:51 pm

Seoulless wrote:Apply for accommodations across the board for all post secondary exams. If you get accommodations for one, LSAC by law is required to give them to you.


I was actually considering trying for the GRE. Blanketing them makes sense. Thanks!

MattM
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:05 am

Re: Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby MattM » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:29 pm

In the same boat.....now going to take the GRE.

Should I be afraid of taking the GRE under accommodated conditions and scoring "too high" for LSAC's liking. I got a 154 LSAT and thats why I was denied my acomm request


Or am I overthinking it?.

Sorry to hijack but seeking extra time on LSAT because of reading vision problems out of one eye which slows me down. ( can;t read large print LSAT out of left eye, so as controversial as accommodation requests are, I need extra time)

MargaretLizer
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby MargaretLizer » Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:08 pm

Not hijacking--it's definitely related. If you get approved for GRE accommodations, I'm not even sure you have to take it.

Here's what the GRE website says about applying for accommodations:

Note: All test takers requesting any accommodations must register by mail through ETS Disability Services and have their accommodations approved before their test can be scheduled. Your request should be submitted as early as possible, especially if you are requesting an alternate test format. Documentation review takes approximately six weeks once your request and complete paperwork have been received. If additional documentation must be submitted, it can be another six weeks from the time the new documentation is received until the review is complete. Test takers requesting accommodations cannot register using the online registration system.


So unlike the LSAT where you have to register first.

And then the LSAC's policy on prior-test takers:

If you were approved to receive testing accommodation(s) on a prior administration of the LSAT or on the SAT I, SAT II, ACT, GED, GRE,
GMAT, DAT and/or MCAT examinations, you will be approved to receive the identical accommodation(s) on the LSAT (or the equivalent
testing accommodation offered on the LSAT), provided that:
(1) You have documented proof (letter or similar documentation) from the test sponsor that you were approved to receive testing
accommodations that specifically identifies what those approved testing accommodations were;
(2) The accommodations that you request do not require that the LSAT be administered on more than one day;
(3) You request one of the following accommodations...[Note: Extended time is included on that one]


Honestly, if I got approval on the GRE, I would submit that to the LSAC without taking the GRE. If for some reason they denied it, I think that would be pretty easy to appeal given their policy. (And I don't know how they could.) But if you were totally done with the LSAC at that point and/or wanted to apply to a dual-degree program that also necessitated a GRE score, you could THEN take it under accommodations, show how awesome you are and either make the case to LSAC or in your apps that shows what a boss you are when given reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

I'm still on the fence about going this route, though. I haven't researched enough about GRE accommodations (or DAT or whatever) to know if I'm a "shoe-in" or not and I still would vastly prefer to get this over and done with.

I'm also curious what would happen if I took the December LSAT, scored similarly (not atrociously) and THEN applied for GRE accommodations/appealed. Since this is so new, there's not a lot of precedence. I've checked out this document about accommodations requests, but it feels extremely irrelevant now.

The fact that this could be a $100,000+ decision doesn't make this any easier. Any other thoughts or any ways to make a decision? I've heard the coin-flip is particularly objective.

Edited to fix wonky link.

MattM
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:05 am

Re: Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby MattM » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:36 pm

MargaretLizer wrote:Not hijacking--it's definitely related. If you get approved for GRE accommodations, I'm not even sure you have to take it.

Here's what the GRE website says about applying for accommodations:

Note: All test takers requesting any accommodations must register by mail through ETS Disability Services and have their accommodations approved before their test can be scheduled. Your request should be submitted as early as possible, especially if you are requesting an alternate test format. Documentation review takes approximately six weeks once your request and complete paperwork have been received. If additional documentation must be submitted, it can be another six weeks from the time the new documentation is received until the review is complete. Test takers requesting accommodations cannot register using the online registration system.


So unlike the LSAT where you have to register first.

And then the LSAC's policy on prior-test takers:

If you were approved to receive testing accommodation(s) on a prior administration of the LSAT or on the SAT I, SAT II, ACT, GED, GRE,
GMAT, DAT and/or MCAT examinations, you will be approved to receive the identical accommodation(s) on the LSAT (or the equivalent
testing accommodation offered on the LSAT), provided that:
(1) You have documented proof (letter or similar documentation) from the test sponsor that you were approved to receive testing
accommodations that specifically identifies what those approved testing accommodations were;
(2) The accommodations that you request do not require that the LSAT be administered on more than one day;
(3) You request one of the following accommodations...[Note: Extended time is included on that one]


Honestly, if I got approval on the GRE, I would submit that to the LSAC without taking the GRE. If for some reason they denied it, I think that would be pretty easy to appeal given their policy. (And I don't know how they could.) But if you were totally done with the LSAC at that point and/or wanted to apply to a dual-degree program that also necessitated a GRE score, you could THEN take it under accommodations, show how awesome you are and either make the case to LSAC or in your apps that shows what a boss you are when given reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

I'm still on the fence about going this route, though. I haven't researched enough about GRE accommodations (or DAT or whatever) to know if I'm a "shoe-in" or not and I still would vastly prefer to get this over and done with.

I'm also curious what would happen if I took the December LSAT, scored similarly (not atrociously) and THEN applied for GRE accommodations/appealed. Since this is so new, there's not a lot of precedence. I've checked out this document about accommodations requests, but it feels extremely irrelevant now.

The fact that this could be a $100,000+ decision doesn't make this any easier. Any other thoughts or any ways to make a decision? I've heard the coin-flip is particularly objective.

Edited to fix wonky link.


What would you benefit from taking an LSAT under normal conditions? the facts are schools weigh LSAT so heavily i got scholarship offers after my LSAT but before I had even turned in my transcripts to LSAC

MattM
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:05 am

Re: Accommodated Testing Appeals

Postby MattM » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:44 pm

I think there could be more harm than good done by taking the LSAT in your case under normal conditions.

Firstly being that you could be essentially wasting one of your three LSAT ties...even though schools only consider the highest, why not make sure only good scores appear)

Secondly, and more importantly, given how notoriously strict LSAC is about granting extra time I could see an LSAC officer if you applied for extra time in the future "Well since you decided to take Dec LSAT under normal time even after we denied you....why should we give it to you now?....You apparently didn't feel it would hinder you enough that you would cancel the exam"



As a controversial side, I think LSAC should construct the test differently so are requests can be more fair....since timing is such a big issue, why not change some of the format so timing isn't as much of an issue?.....you already know that a population of test takers will need extended time due to various disabilities ....While they are trying to be fair for those testing under normal conditions, they also need to be fair to those with disabilities




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