Test Maker Settles Disability Suit With Justice Department
In a deal with the federal government, the maker of a standardized test is agreeing to sweeping changes to ensure those with disabilities receive the accommodations they’re entitled to.
The Law School Admission Council, which administers the Law School Admission Test, will modify its approach to evaluating requests for accommodation and will stop flagging scores for those who receive extra time on the exam under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Federal officials intervened in a lawsuit originally filed on behalf of California test takers with disabilities accusing LSAC of “systemic discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act” in its administration of the LSAT, which is a requirement for admission to all law schools approved by the American Bar Association.
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Students were allegedly denied accommodations even in cases where they had a permanent physical disability or had documentation indicating a history of testing accommodations since childhood.
Furthermore, the lawsuit claimed that in instances where test takers were allowed extra time, LSAC flagged scores to denote the accommodation when they were transmitted to law schools, thereby identifying individuals with disabilities.
Under the settlement, LSAC will pay $7.73 million in penalties and damages to more than 6,000 individuals nationwide who requested accommodations in the last five years.
Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said the agreement will affect tens of thousands of Americans with disabilities and will “provide a model for the provision of testing accommodations to test takers with disabilities on standardized examinations.”