Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Ed.D. in Education Leadership Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Jason Burns, PhD

Committee Member

Danielle Mirliss, EdD

Committee Member

Benjamin Lovett, PhD


testing accommodations, accommodations committees, independent schools, learning disabilities, neuropsychological evaluations


The purpose of this study was to better understand educators’ perceptions of testing accommodations decision-making practices at New York area independent schools. Through the analysis and coding of questionnaires, interviews, and documents, this study explored perceptions and descriptions of testing accommodations decision-making procedures as reported by learning specialists, administrators and psychologists employed at 20 independent schools in the greater New York City area. Several significant findings emerged. The study’s interview participants, in contrast to their public-school counterparts included in previous research studies, feel like they have the training and support necessary to make or contribute to decisions. The study also revealed that students participate at low rates in the testing accommodations decision-making process at New York area independent schools as compared to student attendance at public-school IEP meetings. Moreover, participants shared detailed descriptions and perceptions of testing accommodations decision-making practices at independent schools. The participants almost universally believed that the decision-making process is stressful, especially when it comes to communicating with parents. Although the participants generally felt that the decision-making procedures at their schools were equitable, many specified that student and family access to those procedures was not equitable and that their school’s practices were poorly understood by school community members. Finally, the study revealed educators’ feelings about their professional relationships with the outside psychologists who conduct neuropsychological evaluations and their thoughts about the impact of the 2019 “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal on the testing accommodations decision-making process.