Foreign Language Waiver Petition Guidelines


Students with disabilities impacting foreign language acquisition can petition for a foreign language waiver. Eligible students tend to have auditory and/or orthographic processing, learning, attention, and/or other disorders. To be considered for a wavier, students need to apply and submit documentation to Student Accessibility Services regarding their language learning aptitude. Key measures to assess language learning aptitude, especially for students with learning and/or attention disorders, are described below. This level of assessment is generally not required for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, who will want to refer to our documentation guidelines for hearing loss. Alternatively, our documentation guidelines regarding auditory processing disorders may be more relevant to students with these conditions than the tests listed below.

Often challenges learning one's native language and foreign languages are linked (Scott & Manglitz, 1997), and students who experience difficulties acquiring a foreign language may have been delayed in learning to speak and/or engaged in speech therapy. Additionally, students may have had challenges learning reading, spelling, and grammar. Student who petition for a foreign language waiver should therefore also include in their petition details of their history pertaining to listening, speaking, reading, and writing acquisition in any languages, and their disability documentation should include objective measures of these academic areas as well as the cognitive processes that support them.

If you are being evaluated and plan to apply for a foreign language waiver at Dartmouth, please share this page with potential evaluators in advance of scheduling, and verify that they have access to and are familiar administering most of the tests below:

  • Memory
    • WAIS-IV: Digit Span, WMI
    • WJ IV: Story Recall, Understanding Directions, Memory for Sentences
    • PASAT: Auditory memory/attention + processing speed + cognitive load (calculation)
    • CVLT-II: verbal memory
    • WRAML-2 (Story Memory Recall, Verbal Learning Recall, Sentence Memory)
  • Phonological Processing
    • CTOPP-2: Clusters -> Phonological Awareness; Phonological Memory; Rapid Naming, Segmenting Nonwords and Blending Nonwords
    • WJ IV: Spelling of Sounds, Sound Awareness, Visual Auditory Learning
  • Expressive / Receptive Language
    • TOAL-4: spoken and written language subtests
    • WJ IV: Oral Comprehension, Oral Vocabulary
    • WIAT-III (Oral Expression, Listening Comprehension)
    • COWAT
    • CELF-5 Formulated Sentences, Recalling Sentences, Word Structure
  • Language Learning Ability
    • MLAT
    • TLC-E (level 2)
    • WJ IV Visual-Auditory Learning
  • Reading
    • pseudoword decoding
    • single-word reading
    • reading in context
    • comprehension
  • Writing
    • handwriting (VMI-6 VMI, Visual Perception, and Motor Coordination subtests; and informal observations of grip, letter/word formation)
    • spelling
    • grammar/syntax
    • written formulation (TOWL-4)