Documentation Guidelines: Visual Impairments

To receive accommodations for College Board exams, students with visual impairments must make a request to College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD)—even if they have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a 504 plan, or already receive those accommodations for school or state tests.

All requests should meet seven key criteria.


  1. The diagnosis should be clearly stated.

    Documentation should state the specific visual impairment as diagnosed. The diagnosis should be made by someone with appropriate professional credentials, should be a clear and specific statement of visual disability, and when appropriate, should relate the disability to professional standards.

  2. All information should be current.

    Because visual disabilities change over time, documentation should be up to date. In most cases of visual impairment, the evaluation and diagnostic testing should be no more than two years old.

  3. History should be presented.

    Provide relevant educational, developmental, and medical history in support of the diagnosis and the functional limitation. Information about the student’s history of receiving school accommodations and current use of accommodations helps College Board understand the nature and severity of the student’s visual disability and the need for accommodations, including:

    • Date of onset of the visual impairment
    • Current symptoms
    • Eye examination results that meet the criteria for the diagnosis of a visual disability
    • Use of corrective lenses, visual therapy, or any other interventions
    • Student's response to the interventions
  4. The diagnosis should be supported by testing.

    For all visual impairments other than blindness, provide eye examination records from a current evaluation. Include all measurements, data, visual fields, and visual acuity for each eye, with and without correction, if used.

    If the diagnosis is based on a visual-motor dysfunction, also include phorias, fusional ranges, depth perception, and visual accommodation measurements.

    For blindness, no visual measurements are needed. Include a statement of blindness from the student’s school or doctor. In some cases, documentation supporting the need for a requested accommodation is required.

    Consult our page on commonly used diagnostic tests for frequently used assessments.

  5. Functional limitations should be described.

    Other than blindness, a note from your treatment provider is usually not sufficient to support the need for accommodations. Documentation should demonstrate that a current and comprehensive visual evaluation was conducted and include:

    • All measurements, data, visual fields, and visual acuity for each eye, with and without corrections if needed.
    • If the diagnosis is based on a visual-motor dysfunction, phorias, or fusional ranges, then depth perception and visual accommodation measurements, with results following vision therapy, should be included.
    • Summary of the student's developmental, educational, and/or medical history.
    • Descriptive information from the school, such as teacher observations, which can be recorded on the Teacher Survey Form.
    • A psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation may be helpful in demonstrating the impact of the visual impairment on academic functioning.
  6. Recommended accommodations should be justified.

    When requesting accommodations, please note that:

    • Students requesting braille text may also need to request extended time, a means of recording answers (e.g., scribe), assistive technology, and a special calculator. Each of these would need to be requested specifically.
    • The accommodation of a computer does not include approval to use assistive technology. For example: Students wishing to use screen readers must specify the name and version of the software they wish to use.
    • If a screen reader is being requested, please be sure to request the assistive technology-compatible test form.

    The reason for requesting a particular accommodation is not always evident from the diagnosis. Please provide a detailed rationale for the requested accommodations, focusing on:

    • The connection between the student’s diagnosed disability and requested accommodations
    • The current academic needs of the student, including functional impairments and use of accommodations in school
    • When two or more requested accommodations serve the same purpose (e.g., braille text and MP3 via streaming), a rationale showing why they are all needed must be provided.
  7. Evaluators' professional credentials should be listed.

    To ensure valid testing and diagnosis, evaluators must be licensed by the state in which they practice.