SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE SOCIAL WORK BOARDS

AND

ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS, INC.

re:

providing a "qualified reader" in standardized testing for an individual with a disability

Settlement Agreement | Department of Justice Press Releases

SETTLEMENT

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 202-28-12

This Settlement Agreement (the "Agreement") is entered into by the American Association of State Social Work Boards ("AASSWB"), Assessment Systems, Inc. ("ASI") and the United States of America, through the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("the Department").

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed by Mr. Douglas Elliott (Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12), an individual with a vision impairment, with the Department under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189. In his complaint, Mr. Elliott alleged that AASSWB and ASI violated title III of the ADA by failing to offer an examination in a manner that is accessible to persons with disabilities. See 42 U.S.C. § 12189 and 28 C.F.R. § 36.309. Specifically, Mr. Elliott alleged that AASSWB and ASI violated title III by failing to provide him with a "qualified reader," 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(3), when he took the social work examination in June 1994. He also alleged that AASSWB's and ASI's actions violated title III because they did not administer the social work examination so as to "best ensure ... the examination results accurately reflect the individual's aptitude or achievement level ... rather than reflecting the individual's impaired sensory ... skills," 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(i).

AASSWB and ASI have denied the allegations propounded by Mr. Elliott and contend the reader was fully qualified as required under the ADA. AASSWB and ASI also contend that the examination was administered in a manner to best ensure that the results reflected each testing candidates' aptitude and achievement. They further contend that, as an accommodation, Mr. Elliott was provided replacement readers on subsequent occasions, and that the replacement readers were satisfactory.

The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 36 to investigate this complaint to determine whether AASSWB and ASI are in compliance with title III of the ADA. The Department is authorized to investigate the facts, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Department is authorized to bring a civil action enforcing title III of the ADA should it fail to secure an agreement.

Because AASSWB, ASI and the United States desire to settle this matter without resort to litigation, AASSWB and ASI have agreed, in part, to implement written policies to provide qualified readers to qualified individuals with disabilities, as defined by the ADA. The policies were developed based on the principles laid out in an attachment to a letter the Department mailed to the parties on June 25, 1998, which analyzes the ADA's requirement that testing entities must offer examinations in a manner accessible to persons with disabilities. A copy of the attachment to the June 25, 1998 letter is attached as Exhibit A. AASSWB and ASI do not necessarily agree with the legal interpretations laid out in Exhibit A.

The parties recognize that strict exam security measures are necessary for professional licensure and certification examinations. Therefore, exam security is a legitimate concern for testing organizations with professional licensure and certification examinations and is one appropriate factor to consider when analyzing requests for testing accommodations under the ADA.

The parties agree to the following:

1. In consideration for AASSWB's and ASI's performance of their obligations under this Agreement, the Department agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12 or from filing a civil suit arising from Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12.

2. The parties agree that this Agreement is neither an admission by AASSWB or ASI of any violation of the ADA, nor an admission by the Department of the merits of any of AASSWB's or ASI's potential defenses.

3. AASSWB agrees that within ten business days of receiving a signed Release from Mr. Elliott, it will mail a check to Mr. Elliott in the amount of $1,500. The Release is attached as Exhibit B. AASSWB agrees to provide the Department with evidence that this payment has been made (for example, with copies of the letter and the check) within ten business days of the date it is mailed.

4. ASI agrees that within ten business days of receiving a signed Release from Mr. Elliott, it will mail a check to Mr. Elliott in the amount of $1,500. The Release is attached as Exhibit B. ASI agrees to provide the Department with evidence that this payment has been made (for example, with copies of the letter and the check) within ten days of the date it is mailed.

5. AASSWB verifies that the policies attached as Exhibit C constitute its written policies for the provision of qualified readers to qualified individuals with disabilities, as defined under the ADA, and shall assure that all contractors who administer the AASSWB social work examination comply with these policies. AASSWB currently contracts with ACT, Inc. ("ACT") to administer the social work examinations and AASSWB has obtained from ACT a written agreement to comply with the policies attached as Exhibit C when administering AASSWB social work examinations. ACT's written agreement is attached to this Settlement Agreement as Exhibit D.

6. ASI verifies that the policies attached as Exhibits E and F constitute its written policies for the provision of qualified readers to qualified individuals with disabilities, as defined under the ADA.

7. AASSWB agrees that its Examination Services Coordinator(s) will also be designated as ADA Compliance Coordinator(s).

A. The ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) will serve as a resource to other employees of AASSWB regarding ADA issues, and will serve as a liaison between AASSWB and people with disabilities who seek to use AASSWB's programs and services.

B. AASSWB agrees that its ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) shall during the term of this Agreement annually attend a seminar concerning a private entity's obligations under title III of the ADA.

8. ASI verifies that it has designate(d) one or more employee(s) as ADA Compliance Coordinator(s).

A. Each ADA Compliance Coordinator serves as a resource to other employees of ASI regarding ADA issues, and serves as a liaison between ASI and people with disabilities who apply to take examinations administered by ASI.

B. Each ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) shall during the term of this Agreement annually attend a seminar concerning a private entity's obligations under title III of the ADA.

9. AASSWB agrees that within thirty days of the effective date of this Agreement, it will distribute copies of the policies attached at Exhibit C, and other documents developed by AASSWB to implement the attached policies, to all of its employees involved in any way with the social work examination.

10. AASSWB agrees that within ninety days of the effective date of this Agreement, the ADA Compliance Coordinator(s), in cooperation with other company officials, will conduct a training session(s) with all of its employees involved in any way with the social work examination to explain the policies contained in the Agreement and in Exhibit C, including how to respond to requests for readers and how to obtain qualified readers.

11. ASI agrees that within thirty days of the effective date of this Agreement, it will distribute copies of the policies attached as Exhibits E and F, and other documents developed by ASI to implement the attached policies, to all of its employees involved with the administration of examinations.

12. ASI agrees that within one hundred and eighty days of the effective date of this Agreement, company officials will train all of its employees involved with the administration of examinations to explain the policies contained in the Agreement and in Exhibits E and F, including how to respond to requests for readers and how to obtain qualified readers.

13. AASSWB agrees that within ninety days of the effective date of this Agreement, it will have the policies contained in Exhibit C to this Agreement available for distribution to people who request information about registering a sight-impaired candidate for an examination. The policies will specifically advise testing candidates with vision impairments that, prior to the day of the examination, they have the right to learn the identity of the assigned reader, receive a summary of the reader's previous reading experiences, and work with the reader to establish familiarity. The name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) also will be distributed.

14. ASI agrees that within ninety days of the effective date of this Agreement, it will have the policies contained in Exhibits E and F to this Agreement available for distribution to people who request information about registering a sight-impaired candidate for an examination. The policies will specifically advise testing candidates with vision impairments that, prior to the day of the examination, they have the right to learn the identity of the assigned reader, receive a summary of the reader's previous reading experiences, and work with the reader to establish familiarity. The name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) also will be distributed.

15. AASSWB agrees that within thirty days of the effective date of this Agreement it shall provide notice to its member boards regarding the policies contained in the Agreement and in Exhibit C.

16. ASI agrees that within thirty days of the effective date of this Agreement, it will provide notice to the contact person for each of ASI's clients that offer examinations regarding the policies set forth in Exhibits E and F.

17. In the event that AASSWB fails to comply in a timely manner with any provision of this Agreement, the Department may either:

A. Notify AASSWB that the Agreement is no longer operative and may re-open the investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12 as it relates to AASSWB; or

B. Institute a civil action in federal court against AASSWB seeking enforcement of the Agreement.

18. In the event that ASI fails to comply in a timely manner with any provision of this Agreement, the Department may either:

A. Notify ASI that the Agreement is no longer operative and may re-open the investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12 as it relates to ASI; or

B. Institute a civil action in federal court against ASI seeking enforcement of the Agreement.

19. AASSWB agrees that the Department may review compliance with this Agreement throughout the term of this Agreement. As a part of the review, the Department may, upon thirty days written notice to Counsel for AASSWB, require written descriptions concerning compliance and be provided with copies of documents relevant to compliance. AASSWB agrees that upon written request from the Department, it will provide the Department with the following information and documents:

A. A list of the employees who receive the materials discussed in Paragraph 9.

B. A list of the employees who attend the training discussed in Paragraph 10.

C. Copies of the documents developed pursuant to Paragraph 13.

D. Copy of the notice discussed in Paragraph 15.

20. ASI agrees that the Department may review compliance with this Agreement throughout the term of this Agreement. As a part of the review, the Department may, upon thirty days written notice to Counsel for ASI, require written descriptions concerning compliance and be provided with copies of documents relevant to compliance. Upon request, ASI agrees that it will provide the Department with the following information and documents:

A. A list of the employees who receive the materials discussed in Paragraph 11.

B. A list of the employees who received the training discussed in Paragraph 12.

C. Copies of any documents developed pursuant to Paragraph 14.

D. Copy of the notice discussed in Paragraph 16.

21. AASSWB and ASI agree that they will not discriminate or retaliate against any person because of his/her participation in this matter.

22. AASSWB and ASI agree to make a copy of this Agreement and the exhibits available to any person on request to the ADA Compliance Coordinator(s).

23. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other law that is not specifically addressed in this Agreement. This Agreement does not affect AASSWB's or ASI's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

24. The individuals signing this Agreement represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Agreement.

25. Failure by the Department to enforce the entire Agreement with regard to any deadline or any other provision of the Agreement, shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines or provisions of the Agreement.

26. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature on the Agreement.

27. The term of this Agreement is three years from the effective date.

28. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this Agreement, shall be enforceable.

 

FOR THE DEPARTMENT:

Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General
for Civil Rights
_______________
John L. Wodatch
L. Irene Bowen
Daniel W. Sutherland
Attorneys

Disability Rights Section
Date Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
(202) 307-0663

_______________
Date

 

FOR AASSWB:

_______________

Signature

_______________

Donna DeAngelis

_______________

Executive Director

_______________
Date

 

 

FOR ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS, INC.:

 

_____________
Signature

______________
George E. Simon

______________
President

______________
Date

 

 

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E X H I B I T A


Under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, entities that offer examinations must offer those examinations in a manner accessible to persons with disabilities. See 42 U.S.C. § 12189. The implementing regulations require that entities offering examinations must provide appropriate auxiliary aids for persons with disabilities, including "qualified readers." 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(3). The regulations also require that the examination must be administered so as to "best ensure" that the examination results accurately reflect the test-taker's aptitude or achievement level rather than reflecting the individual's impairments. 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(i).

1. For the purposes of the social work examination, a "qualified reader" under 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(i) and (b)(3), is:

A. An individual who is proficient in reading for people with vision impairments or other disabilities.

Proficiency in reading for a person with a disability can be established in one of three ways. First, the testing agency can allow the test-taker to choose his or her own reader. The test-taker will then produce a reader with whom he or she is familiar. While some testing agencies may be concerned about the integrity of the test if a test-taker supplies his or her own reader, there are several reasonable steps that can be taken to deal with these concerns. For example, a proctor can monitor the test-taker and the reader. Moreover, the testing agency may place reasonable restrictions on the choice of a reader, such as:

  • the reader cannot be a family member;
  • the reader cannot be someone who is likely to take the test in the near future;
  • the reader cannot be someone who has taught the subject matter to the test-taker; or,
  • the reader cannot be someone who has tutored the test-taker regarding the test to be administered.

Second, the testing agency can supply a reader who is unfamiliar to the test-taker but who is experienced in reading for people with disabilities. The testing agency would need to verify that the reader has read for people with disabilities on a number of occasions and that those people would recommend the reader.

Third, the testing agency can supply a reader who is unfamiliar to the test-taker and who is inexperienced in reading for people with disabilities if it first provides a training program for the individual. The training program would include instruction on how to read for a person with a disability, and the instruction would need to include actual practice in reading.

Whether the testing agency provides a reader or allows the test-taker to supply his or her own reader, the testing agency cannot assess a surcharge to the test-taker for the cost of the reader.

B. An individual who is familiar with the examination.

Even an individual who is experienced in reading for people with disabilities needs orientation relating to the specific examination that he or she will read. The reader needs to become familiar with:

  • technical terms in the examination, so that he or she can pronounce the words.
  • the subject matter of the examination so that he or she is aware of any sensitive subjects in the examination (for example, issues related to counseling people with sexual problems that could be the subject of questions on an examination for social workers, or reproductive health issues discussed in an examination for nurses).
  • any charts, graphs, maps or mathematical formulas so that he or she can adequately describe them to the test-taker. The testing agency could address this issue by supplying the reader with a script containing the exact language for describing a chart or a map.

If the test-taker is allowed to supply his or her own reader, the test-taker would assume the responsibility for this issue. The test-taker can familiarize the reader through working on practice examinations supplied by the testing agency.

C. An individual who has worked with the person with a disability prior to the examination.

If the testing agency does not allow the test-taker to supply his or her own reader, the test-taker and the reader must be able to meet before the examination to establish personal familiarity and to allow the reader to become acclimated to the test-taker's style of receiving information.

The testing agency may not place unnecessary burdens on test-takers with disabilities. For example, it may be difficult for a test-taker and reader to meet prior to the examination if the test-taker lives in a rural area far from the city where the examination is offered. Therefore, the testing agency must be flexible in implementing its policies. The reader and the test-taker could meet by telephone. Another example could involve the schedule for the examination. The social work examination is a four hour test usually held in the morning. The testing agency could be flexible with regard to the starting time so that the test-taker and reader could meet together for a few hours that morning, before the examination begins. To illustrate, the testing agency could allow the two individuals to work together from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., break for lunch, and then begin the examination at 1 p.m.


2. To "best ensure" an accurate examination under 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(i), the reader, test-taker and test officials must meet prior to the examination.

The testing agency must also consider one additional factor. To "best ensure" that the "examination results accurately reflect the individual's aptitude or achievement level ... rather than reflecting the individual's impaired sensory ... skills," 28 C.F.R. § 36.309(b)(1)(i), it is also necessary that the reader and the person with a disability meet with the proctor and test officials prior to the examination. It is necessary for the proctor to make the ground rules for the examination clear. For example, the test-taker and the reader need to be clear about the extent to which the reader can assist the test-taker with mathematical calculations. The proctor must also make clear how the reader can describe charts, graphs, maps and mathematical calculations. If the testing agency supplies a script for the reader to follow, the proctor, the reader and the test-taker need to discuss the script in advance. The proctor should describe the types of questions that a reader can answer, and make the time parameters for the examination clear. To ensure that unnecessary burdens are not placed on test-takers with disabilities, this meeting could be conducted by telephone or could be conducted on the day of the examination.

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E X H I B I T B



RELEASE

I, Douglas Elliott, agree that in consideration for the agreement of the American Association for State Social Work Boards and Assessment Systems, Inc. (collectively, "the entities") to the terms of the Settlement Agreement resolving Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12, including remedies offered to me, I release the entities, their staff, and other persons related to the entities, from any and all claims, complaints or charges however denominated, that I may have under the Americans with Disabilities Act and parallel state and local laws, arising from the facts and circumstances alleged in Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12.

I understand that this is a complete release that bars me from asserting any claim, complaint or charge against the entities, arising from the facts and circumstances in Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12.

I acknowledge that I am familiar with the facts and circumstances of Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12. I acknowledge that I am aware of the contents of the Settlement Agreement and this Release, and that the Department of Justice informed me that I could avail myself of legal counsel but I declined to do so. I acknowledge that the Department of Justice has not provided me with advice concerning the wisdom of waiving the claims released in this Release, and that I have chosen voluntarily to release these claims.

Agreed to and signed this _____ day of ___________, 1999.

 

______________________________
Douglas Elliott

________________________
Notary Public

 

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E X H I B I T C

 


American Association of State Social Work Boards

 

I. Policies Regarding Accommodations for Candidates with Sight Impairments.

Candidates with sight impairments may choose from among the following accommodations available for the social work licensure examination administration:

A. A standard cassette taped version of the examination.

B. Large print (18 pt.) test book.

C. A Braille version of the examination.

D. Extra time, up to eight hours total (double the time allowed for the regular examination administration).

E. A private room.

F. A qualified reader provided by the association or its testing contractor.

G. A flexible starting time for the examination, if necessary to allow for a pre-examination meeting between the candidate and the reader.

 

II. Policies Regarding Readers for Candidates with Sight Impairments

A. Readers must have the following qualifications:

1. Hold at least a high school diploma and be at least 18 years old.

2. Be able to read test materials accurately and intelligibly for up to eight hours without first reviewing the materials.

3. Have studied the written instructions that will be provided to readers ("AASSWB Examination Program: Information for Readers for Candidates with Sight Impairments"). The reader must familiarize him or herself with the terminology in the test materials before reading for the examination.

4. Have successful previous experience in reading to persons with sight impairments and must provide AASSWB with a statement describing that experience (for example, reading to help a student with homework, reading for a professional in the workplace, or reading for an examination), or be willing to participate in a related training program. The training program will include but not necessarily be limited to:

(i) Practice reading portions of the examination aloud in the presence of the test center manager prior to the scheduled examination administration.

(ii) Reading a publication describing the functions of a reader.

(iii) Working with the candidate on the telephone or in person (see item 5).

 

5. Be willing to meet with the candidate (on the telephone or personally) before the examination for a sufficient length of time to allow the testing candidate to be satisfied that the reader will be able to convey the information effectively (e.g., at an appropriate rate of speed, with clarity and with correct pronunciation and phrasing), and that the reader is familiar with the structure of the examination, the terminology used in the examination, and the rules governing the examination.


B. To ensure a good working relationship between the candidate and reader, AASSWB will follow the following procedures:

1. The reader will be identified to the testing candidate at least four days prior to the day of the examination.

2. At that time, AASSWB will notify the testing candidate that he/she has the right to be provided with a description of the assigned reader's qualifications or previous reading experience. Upon such a request, AASSWB will respond immediately.

3. Also at that time, AASSWB will notify the testing candidate that he/she has a right to meet with the assigned reader prior to the examination. Upon such a request, AASSWB will immediately arrange the meeting. The meeting will be for a sufficient length of time to allow the testing candidate to be satisfied that the reader will be able to convey the information effectively (e.g., at an appropriate rate of speed, with clarity and with correct pronunciation and phrasing), and that the reader is familiar with the structure of the examination, the terminology used in the examination, and the rules governing the examination. The meeting will not be for the purpose of assisting the candidate to learn or prepare for the substance of the examination, but to establish familiarity between the candidate and the reader.

4. The reader will be provided with specific written instructions, including instructions regarding appropriate interaction with candidates and how to read the examination.

5. If after communicating with the reader proposed by AASSWB the candidate provides a reasonable basis for concluding that the reader will not be able to effectively communicate with him/her during the course of the examination, the candidate may notify AASSWB of his/her concerns. If AASSWB is notified of the concerns prior to the scheduled administration of the examination, it will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the candidate by providing a substitute reader. If AASSWB is not able to provide a substitute reader in time for the scheduled administration of the examination, it will offer the testing candidate the option of accepting the currently assigned reader or having the examination rescheduled. Every effort will be made to reschedule the test within seven business days.

6. A meeting will be held between the candidate, the reader, and Test Center personnel prior to the examination to clarify the procedures, including the time parameters of the test administration. The meeting will also clarify the procedures for handling any mathematical calculations, charts or graphs that appear in the examination.

7. AASSWB will be flexible with regard to the starting time for the examination. This will allow for the possibility that the meeting between the testing candidate and the reader may occur on the day of the examination.

8. AASSWB may provide the reader with sample test questions and answers so that the testing candidate and the reader may practice the process of reading in the context of an examination.

 

C. The following methods will be used for monitoring and evaluating the experience:

1. Proctor will monitor activities during the examination administration.

2. Candidate will have an opportunity to rate the tape, Braille examination, or reader at the end of the examination.

3. Reader will have an opportunity to evaluate the reading experience.

D. To ensure the security of its examinations, the reader must agree to follow procedures for secure test administration approved by AASSWB.

 


AASSWB Examination Program
Information for Readers for Candidates with Sight Impairments

This information will assist you in reading the examination. Please familiarize yourself with this information before you contact the candidate or go to read the examination. You should discuss this information with the candidate.

1. When you receive your reading assignment you may be required, at the request of the candidate who is taking the examination, to be available for a telephone conference or a face-to-face meeting, to allow for practice reading, prior to the test administration.

2. The meeting will be for a sufficient length of time to allow the testing candidate to be satisfied that the reader will be able to convey the information effectively (e.g., at an appropriate rate of speed, with clarity and with correct pronunciation and phrasing), and that the reader is familiar with the structure of the examination, the terminology used in the examination, and the rules governing the examination.

3. The meeting will not be for the purpose of assisting the candidate to learn or prepare for the substance of the examination, but to establish familiarity between the candidate and you. Your role is not to assist the candidate to learn the material or to suggest the proper answers to questions.

4. If you cannot make the scheduled test appointment, please notify the test center and the candidate as soon as possible or at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.

5. You must arrive at the test center at least one-half hour before the scheduled test time; or one-half hour before an appointment with the candidate for practice reading, if requested.

6. At the end of the examination a Sylvan Test Center staff member will give you an evaluation form on which you will rate your experience reading to the candidate.

Interaction with the Candidate

DO NOT touch the candidate, unless asked to assist the candidate to and from his/her seat.

DO NOT ask personal questions, i.e., Can you see at all? How did you lose your sight?, etc.

DO NOT engage in unrelated conversation.

DO NOT comment on the material that you are reading.

 

Instructions for reading the examination

1. Before you begin reading the directions and guidelines for taking the test, ask the candidate for his or her instructions. You should receive instructions in areas such as:

A. How the candidate would prefer that you read punctuation.

B. The pace at which the candidate would like you to read.

C. How to emphasize or indicate words or phrases that are in bold type, underlined or entirely capitalized.

D. How to read hyphenated phrases.

E. How to read numerals in the text (read "108" as "one hundred, eight" or "one-oh-eight");

F. How to pronounce acronyms (by voicing the individual letters, e.g., D-S-M, or by pronouncing them as if they were a single word, e.g., NASA).

G. How to handle technical words that may appear in the examination. Words that are difficult to pronounce or are used only in specialized professions may appear in the examination (for example, medications such as haloperiodol, alprazolam, or xanax, or, conditions such as cyclothymia or dysphoria). You should discuss how to read or spell technical terms such as these.

H. How to handle questions of a sensitive nature. A question may ask for the best approach a social worker should take in counseling a person who has been sexually abused. Other potentially sensitive topics include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and sexual dysfunctions. You should discuss how to handle questions that relate to these sensitive topics.

I. How to handle charts, graphs and mathematical formulas that may appear on the examination.

These are only examples of the types of instructions that the reader should seek from the candidate.

2. Read any directions and guidelines for taking the test to the candidate.

3. As you read the examination, read the number of the item and then pause before reading the item itself.

4. At the candidate's request, you may write notes and to assist with intermediate steps in computing mathematics problems, especially if the candidate has no tools or equipment for taking notes or is unable to do so. For example, in the multiplication of numbers (for example, 17 x 521), the candidate may say seven times one is seven. Put down the seven. Seven twos are 14. Put down the four and carry the one. Seven fives are 35 and one is 36. Put down 36.

5. Do not paraphrase or edit.

6. Read with attention to detail.

 

The following is to be read to the candidate before the examination begins.

 

Introduction to the AASSWB Social Work Licensing Examination

I will read from a test booklet/computer screen that you may refer to as often as necessary to help you answer the questions on the test. The test begins with a set of instructions for you to follow. You may ask me to re-read any portion of the test as often as necessary within the time allowed for the test. You are to tell me which letter you think is the correct response. I will record your response to each item.

 

Guidelines for Taking the AASSWB Social Work Licensing Examination

The following are recommended guidelines for taking this examination. They are designed to help you to do your best.

Listen carefully to all directions. Be sure that you understand what you are to do. Ask questions about instructions that you do not understand.

Listen to each item carefully. Note such qualifying words in the item as not, except, most, least, first, and greatest. They are crucial in determining the best answer.

When you are unsure of the best answer, first eliminate every wrong answer you can. Each wrong answer eliminated improves your chances of selecting the best answer.

Do not spend too much time on one item. If an item is too difficult for you, choose a reasonable answer and go on to the next item. Ask me to mark an item that you did not answer or may want to review so that you may go back to it.

Answer every question. You are not penalized for guessing. Questions left unanswered are counted as incorrect.

You may review any or all items on the examination before you finish.

 

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E X H I B I T D

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND
AGREEMENT TO COMPLY WITH AASSWB'S POLICIES
REGARDING CANDIDATES WITH SIGHT IMPAIRMENTS

 

ACT, Inc. ("ACT") hereby acknowledges that it is aware of the Settlement Agreement between the United States of America, the American Association of State Social Work Boards ("AASSWB"), and Assessment Systems, Inc. (the "Settlement Agreement"). The Settlement Agreement was entered into in response to Department of Justice Complaint No. 202-28-12. As referenced in that agreement, AASSWB has adopted written policies (the "Policies") regarding the testing accommodations that it will make available to candidates with sight impairments. The Policies are attached to the Settlement Agreement and have also been provided to ACT, which currently administers the AASSWB social work examination.

ACT hereby agrees to comply with the AASSWB Policies with respect to all administrations of the AASSWB social work examinations that are conducted by or through ACT. ACT further agrees as follows:

1.Within thirty days of the effective date of the Settlement Agreement, ACT will distribute copies of the AASSWB Policies to (a) all ACT employees who have responsibility for the administration of the AASSWB social work examination, and (b) all ACT third-party contractors who are involved in administering AASSWB social work examinations, including Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. ACT will also provide instructions to these individuals regarding compliance with te AASSWB Policies.

2. If anyone with a sight impairment requests information from ACT regarding the social work examination, ACT will provide them with a copy of the AASSWB Policies.

3. Within ninety days of the effective date of the Settlement Agreement or as soon thereafter as practicable, ACT will publish materials that include a statement of the AASSWB Policies. The materials will also include the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the individual(s) at AASSWB who can be contacted if anyone has questions regarding the AASSWB Policies or any other subject relating to testing accommodations for individuals who have disabilities.

4. ACT will make a copy of this document available to any person on request.

5. Nothing in the Settlement Agreement will limit or affect ACT's continuing responsibility to comply with all applicable aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act when ACT administers examinations.

6. This document may be attached as an Exhibit to the Settlement Agreement.

7. The individual signing this document is authorized to do so on ACT's behalf.

 

SO AGREED this _____ day of ________________, 1999.

 

______________________________
Ricki Ann Saylor
Vice President
ACT, Inc.

 

 

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E X H I B I T E

 

ASSESSMENT SYSTEMS, INC.

 

I. Policies Regarding Accommodations for Candidates with Sight Impairments.

Accommodations requested by candidates with sight impairments as defined by the ADA will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Typically, accommodations granted to such candidates may include:

A. Extra time up to double the time allowed for the regular examination administration.

B. A flexible starting time for the examination, if necessary, to allow for a pre-examination meeting between the candidate and the reader.

C. A private room.

D. A qualified reader provided by ASI or a reader chosen by the candidate, if such is allowed by the entity for whom ASI is administering the examination.

E. Large print version (18 pt.) of the examination.

F. Other appropriate accommodations as required by the ADA.

II. Policies Regarding Readers Assigned by ASI for Candidates with Sight Impairments

A. Readers assigned by ASI must have the following qualifications:

1. Hold at least a high school diploma and be at least 18 years old.

2. Be able to read test materials accurately and intelligibly for the length of the examination.

3. Have studied the written instructions that will be provided to readers ("ASI Examination Program: Information for Readers for Candidates with Sight Impairments"). The reader must familiarize him or herself with the terminology in the test materials before reading for the examination.

4. Have successful previous experience in reading to persons with sight impairments and must provide ASI with a statement describing that experience (for example, reading to help a student with homework, reading for a professional in the workplace, or reading for an examination), or be willing to participate in a related training program. The training program will include but not necessarily be limited to:

(i) Practice reading portions of the examination aloud in the presence of the test center manager prior to the scheduled examination administration.

(ii) Reading a publication describing the functions of a reader.

(iii) Working with the candidate on the telephone or in person (see item 5).

5. Be willing to meet with the candidate (on the telephone or personally) before the examination for a sufficient length of time to allow the testing candidate to be satisfied that the reader will be able to convey the information effectively (e.g., at an appropriate rate of speed, with clarity and with correct pronunciation and phrasing), and that the reader is familiar with the structure of the examination, the terminology used in the examination, and the rules governing the examination.



B. To ensure a good working relationship between the candidate and reader, ASI will follow the following procedures:

1. The reader will be identified to the testing candidate prior to the day of the examination, with as much advance notice as reasonably possible.

2. At that time, ASI will notify the testing candidate that he/she has the right to be provided with a description of the assigned reader's previous reading experience. Upon such a request, ASI will respond immediately.

3. Also at that time, ASI will notify the testing candidate that he/she has a right to meet with the assigned reader prior to the examination. Upon such a request, ASI will immediately arrange the meeting. The meeting will be for a sufficient length of time to allow the testing candidate to be satisfied that the reader will be able to convey the information effectively (e.g., at an appropriate rate of speed, with clarity and with correct pronunciation and phrasing), and that the reader is familiar with the structure of the examination, the terminology used in the examination, and the rules governing the examination. The meeting will not be for the purpose of assisting the candidate to learn or prepare for the substance of the examination, but to establish familiarity between the candidate and the reader.

4. As necessary, the readers will be provided with specific written instructions, including instructions regarding appropriate interaction with candidates and how to read the examination.

5. If after communicating with the reader proposed by ASI the candidate provides a reasonable basis to conclude that the reader will not be able to effectively communicate with him/her during the course of the examination, the candidate may notify ASI of his/her concerns. If ASI is notified of the concerns prior to the scheduled administration of the examination, it will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the candidate by providing a substitute reader. If ASI is not able to provide a substitute reader in time for the scheduled administration of the examination, it will offer the testing candidate the option of accepting the currently assigned reader or having the examination rescheduled. The new testing date will be within seven days or as soon thereafter as can reasonably be arranged.
6. Immediately prior to the examination, a meeting will be held between the candidate and the reader to clarify the procedures for test administration, including the time parameters and the procedures for handling any mathematical calculations, charts or graphs that appear in the examination.

7. ASI will be flexible with regard to the starting time for the examination. This will allow for the possibility that the testing candidate may meet with the reader the day of the examination.

8. ASI may provide the reader with sample questions and answers selected by ASI so that the testing candidate and the reader may practice the process of reading in the context of an examination.

C. The following methods will be used for monitoring and evaluating the experience:

1. Test center personnel periodically will monitor activities during the examination administration, when such is not likely to be disruptive to the candidate.

2. The candidate will have an opportunity to evaluate the qualifications of the reader and other accommodations provided.

 

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E X H I B I T F


ASI Examination Program
Information for Readers for Candidates with Sight Impairments

 

This information will assist you in reading the examination. Please familiarize yourself with this information before you speak to, meet with or read to the candidate.

1. At the request of the candidate to whom you are assigned to read an examination, you may be required to be available for a telephone conference or a face-to-face meeting prior to the test administration.

2. The meeting will be for a sufficient length of time to allow the testing candidate to be satisfied that the reader will be able to convey the information effectively (e.g., at an appropriate rate of speed, with clarity and with correct pronunciation and phrasing), and that the reader is familiar with the structure of the examination, the terminology used in the examination, and the rules governing the examination.

3. The meeting will not be for the purpose of assisting the candidate to learn or prepare for the substance of the examination, but to establish familiarity between the candidate and you. Your role is not to assist the candidate to learn the material or to suggest the proper answers to questions.

4. If you cannot make a scheduled appointment, please notify ASI's ADA Compliance Coordinator and/or the test center manager as soon as possible before the scheduled meeting, telephone call or examination.

5. You must arrive at the test center at least one-half hour before the scheduled test time.

 

Interaction with the Candidate

DO NOT touch the candidate, unless asked to assist the candidate to and from his/her seat.

DO NOT ask personal questions, i.e., Can you see at all? How did you lose your sight?, etc.

DO NOT engage in unrelated conversation.

DO NOT comment on the material that you are reading.

 

Instructions for reading the examination

1. Before you begin reading the directions and guidelines for taking the test, ask the candidate for his or her instructions, if any. You should receive instructions in areas such as:

A. How the candidate would prefer that you read punctuation.

B. The pace the candidate would like you to read.

C. How to emphasize or indicate words or phrases that are in bold type, underlined or entirely capitalized.

D. How to read hyphenated phrases.

E. How to read numerals in the text (read "108" as "one hundred, eight" or "one-oh-eight");

F. How to pronounce acronyms (by voicing the individual letters, e.g., D-S-M, or by pronouncing them as if they were a single word, e.g., NASA).

G. How to handle technical words that may appear in the examination. Words that are difficult to pronounce or are used only in specialized professions may appear in the examination. You should discuss how to read or spell these technical terms.

H. How to handle questions of a sensitive nature. Some examinations ask questions related to sensitive topics such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and sexual dysfunctions. You should discuss how to handle questions that relate to these sensitive topics.

I. How to handle charts, graphs and mathematical formulas that may appear on the examination.

These are only examples of the types of instructions that the reader should seek from the candidate.

 

2. Read any directions and guidelines for taking the test to the candidate.

3. As you read the examination, read the number of the item and then pause before reading the item itself.

4. At the candidate's request, you may write notes and to assist with intermediate steps in computing mathematics problems, especially if the candidate has no tools or equipment for taking notes or is unable to do so. For example, in the multiplication of numbers (for example, 17 x 521), the candidate may say seven times one is seven. Put down the seven. Seven twos are 14. Put down the four and carry the one. Seven fives are 35 and one is 36. Put down 36.

5. Do not paraphrase or edit.

6. Read items with attention to detail.

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February 7, 2001