Legal News
Judge Supports AAMC Position on Accommodations
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 20 page 20-20

Disabled college students who applied to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) lost their bid to have a judge issue an injunction ordering the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to abide by California law when evaluating whether applicants need special accommodations when taking the test. The AAMC administers the test.

Judge Richard Sabraw of the Alameda County Superior Court declined to issue an injunction requested by two learning-disabled medical school applicants who wanted extra time to complete the MCAT. (Four students originally filed suit, but after evaluating additional information about their conditions, the AAMC accommodated them.)

In rejecting the injunction motion, the judge said that forcing the AAMC to comply with each of the state's various mandates concerning accommodations for the disabled would compromise the value of the MCAT. That value "will be lost," he said, "if any given state applies its own law in determining whether any given applicant has been provided the required accommodations."

He added that California law is not clear on whether its disability provisions apply to an enterprise such as the MCAT, which takes place in venues throughout the United States.

The plaintiffs asked for extra exam time and a tranquil room because they have dsylexia and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. They took the test without the accommodations, and one scored in the 70th percentile and the other in the 75th.

The AAMC has said that it uses a single national standard that complies with requirements of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. By rejecting the plaintiffs' injunction request, the judge "acknowledged the importance of being able to compare MCAT scores nationwide," the AAMC said in a press release. ▪

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