Learning Disability Assessment

Interested in Learning Disability Testing?

The DRC offers learning disabilities testing for current Cañada College students. Students who are struggling academically but have never been identified with a learning disability, and who have no history of services may qualify for LD assessment.


To Request Testing a Student Must:

  • Be enrolled in at least one course.
  • Make an intake appointment with the learning disability specialist by calling 650-306-3259.
  • The LD Specialist will discuss with the student the process and timeline.


How does learning disability testing benefit students?

  • Learn personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Obtain the information and documentation they need to formally request accommodations at work or in school
  • Determine effective strategies for learning on their areas of strengths
  • Better understand how they learn
  • Provides ideas to guide tutors in supporting their learning


Reasons to refer and NOT to refer someone for LD assessment:

Reasons to refer someone for LD assessment:

The student studies 2-3 hours per every hour they spend in the classroom, but the evaluations of their learning (tests, papers, etc.) do not reflect this amount of study.

Significant discrepancies between any of the following: the student’s test scores, homework, written work, verbally expressed understanding of course concepts, or any other evaluative process.

Significant discrepancy in achievement from one type of course to another, such as receiving passing grades in math and sciences while receiving failing grades in English and social sciences.


Reasons NOT to refer someone for LD assessment, but instead to make a general DRC appointment:

The student says they have been identified in high school as having a disability (had a “504 plan”), or were in special education (had an “IEP”).

The student relates that they have some other disability, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a brain injury, psychological/emotional disorder, anxiety disorder, etc.


The LD Assessment Process/Timeline

The entire assessment process averages between 8 and 10 hours, spread over 4 or 5 sessions, often taking 6-8 weeks to complete.

  1. Make and appointment - The student makes an appointment to see the Learning Disability Specialist by coming to the DRC office, or calling 650-306-3259.
  2. LD intake appointment – The student is given a consent form and a questionnaire asking about the student’s developmental and health history, family history, and educational history. The student may be given the questionnaire ahead of time to fill out. The student and LD specialist will review a questionnaire, going into further detail of other possible causes of the learning difficulties, and to better identify the specific learning difficulties experienced by the student. If other explanations and/or disabilities are identified, the LD assessment will usually end.
  3. Testing appointments – If assessment will continue, various achievement and cognitive tests will be spread over 3-4 sessions lasting 1 1⁄2 to 3 hours each. Some of the tests assess achievement in standard academic or “learned” information such as reading, writing, math, and more. Other tests assess the processing of different types of information and the speed at which the information is processed. None of the tests can be “passed” or “failed”, but are simply measurements against grade or age norms.
  4. Eligibility appointment – Once all the testing that is deemed necessary for that individual student is completed, the results are explained to the student. Besides confirming whether or not a learning disability has been identified, the emphasis is on relating the learning strengths and weaknesses shown by both the scores and observations from the testing sessions. Based on these strengths and weaknesses, learning strategies are discussed and recommended to the student. Finally, those students who have met the criteria to be served as “Learning Disabled” under the California Community Colleges Learning Disability Eligibility Model are approved for accommodations and complete the various paperwork needed by the DRC program.

If you have any question about the process, or whether an initial LD assessment screening is warranted, email or call Jenna French, Learning Disability Specialist/DRC Counselor, at frenchj@smccd.edu or 650-306-3368.