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Documentation Guidelines for Testing Accommodations

Background Information

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is committed to providing access to its programs and services to individuals with documented disabilities. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person’s ability to perform a major life activity, as compared with most people in the general population.

The following information is provided for test examinees, healthcare professionals, employers, and others involved in the process of documenting a request for test accommodations. To avoid delays, we strongly encourage you to share this information with any healthcare professional who provides you with supporting documentation.

The purpose of testing accommodations is to allow individuals with disabilities to take the exam in an accessible place and manner. Testing accommodations are not intended to ensure any particular outcome, such as exam completion or a passing score.

It is important to remember that not every diagnosed condition will rise to the level of a disability. Many (if not most) adults have been diagnosed with some sort of condition – everything from high blood pressure to acid reflux disease to near-sightedness. Not all of these individuals are disabled, however.

Regardless of diagnosis, you must provide evidence that you have a physical or mental impairment, as well as information about the functioning limitations that you experience because of the impairment. Individuals who are disabled usually can demonstrate a significant impact in a variety of different settings, such as school, the workplace, and other daily life activities. If the only impact of your condition is on testing, then it is likely that you are not disabled. If you are working, even part-time, it is helpful for us to see verification of any workplace accommodations that you need due to disability. Likewise, if you have received accommodations at school or on other standardized tests, please provide documentation reflecting those accommodations.


It is important to remember that not every diagnosed condition will rise to the level of a disability.

Provide Current Documentation

  1. Regardless of your diagnosis, your documentation must reflect your current functioning and functional limitations.
  2. If your documentation is more than three years old, it is not likely to address your current access needs for the NCEES exams.
  3. Evidence of previous accommodation approvals by other institutions, regardless of the age of the materials, is helpful to see. However, historical evidence of accommodations use is not necessarily sufficient. We must carefully consider your current functional limitations in the context of taking one of the NCEES exams, which may be different than the task or setting in which prior accommodations were granted.

Documentation Guidelines

  1. All accommodation requests must be made in writing. We do not discuss or accept accommodation requests over the phone.
  2. Examinees are encouraged to submit their request as far in advance of their exam date as possible, so that if there is anything missing or unclear about your request you have sufficient time to provide us with additional information. Accommodation requests should be submitted no later than 30 days prior to your exam date. If you are taking an exam that is delivered in paper-and-pencil format, you will need to be mindful of the published deadlines for submitting requests and supporting documentation.
  3. All accommodation requests and supporting documentation should be legible and in English.
  4. A diagnosis of a particular condition does not necessarily mean you are disabled. You should provide documentation that your condition is of such severity that it qualifies as a disability; that is, you will need to provide evidence that your functioning is substantially limited, as compared to most people, not just that you have a diagnosed impairment or symptoms of a disorder or condition.
  5. In some cases, supporting evidence that you are disabled will come from an employer, not just from a doctor or other professional who diagnosed your condition. Most NCEES examinees are employed at least part-time. If so, please discuss any formal accommodations you receive at work. It is helpful to have documentation from your employer regarding workplace accommodations that you receive.
  6. The requested accommodations must be reasonable and necessary to provide access to the test (not just to enhance performance or attain a certain desired outcome.)
    Your documentation should address your functional limitations that would prevent you from taking the exam in an acceptable manner without accommodations. You should provide a detailed rationale for the accommodations you are requesting.
  7. The requested accommodations should not compromise the integrity, security, or validity of the exam or its results.
  8. The requested accommodations that might have been approved in one setting (such as a classroom) may not be appropriate in another setting, such as a licensing exam.
  9. Supporting documentation from a doctor, your employer, or other professional should be printed on letterhead and signed by the professional.
  10. Be sure your documentation is current.
  11. It is helpful if you provide a personal statement to explain the functional limitations that affect your ability to take a standardized exam under normal conditions.