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Learning and Cognitive Disabilities Guidelines

If you are seeking accommodation due to a cognitive or learning disability, or due to a neurological disorder that affects your cognitive abilities, you must submit a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment report or neuropsychological assessment report as part of the accommodation request.

Please note: if you were granted accommodation at university, you will need to demonstrate a current need to receive accommodation for the CPA Ontario examinations. If you were not previously provided an accommodation, the Accommodation Request Medical Form should include a detailed explanation as to why an accommodation is needed at this time.

The assessment should include clinical findings.

  • The individual must be an adult when testing is done. In most cases, this means testing has been conducted within the past five years.
  • The testing must be performed by a qualified professional. Documentation should include the professional’s academic credentials and qualifications that allow them to diagnose the disability and make recommendations on the CPA Ontario examinations.
  • The testing must include a battery of tests (see below for a list of possible tests). It is not acceptable for the professional to administer only one test, nor is it acceptable for the professional to base a diagnosis on only one of several subtests.

At a minimum, the professional must assess the following:

  1. Aptitude: the preferred instrument is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale — Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV).
  2. Achievement: current levels of functioning in reading and written language are required. Acceptable instruments include, but are not limited to, Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery III: Tests of Achievement, and the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT). The Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT) is strongly recommended as a timed reading comprehension measure.
  3. Information Processing: specific areas of information processing (for example, short- and long-term memory, sequential memory, or auditory and visual perception/processing speed) must be assessed. Commonly used instruments in this area include information from subtests on the WAIS-III, the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability, the Wechsler Memory Scale-III, and the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery.

The documentation provided by the professional must include the following information: 

  • Provide actual test scores and standard scores and percentiles on an age-adjusted, rather than education-adjusted, norm. It is helpful to list the test data in a summary score sheet.
  • Document the impact of the disability on the individual’s ability to write the examinations. Test results should clearly support this claim.
  • Include clear and specific evidence and diagnosis of a learning disability. Individual “learning styles” and “learning differences” do not by themselves constitute a learning disability. It is important that the assessment rule out alternative explanations for problems in learning, such as emotional or attention problems that may interfere with learning but do not, in and of themselves, constitute a disorder in learning.
  • Explain why each recommended accommodation is necessary, referring to specific test results or clinical observations. We will consider recommended accommodations that give the individual a fair chance.