The Cisco #CertsandLabs team has been focused on empowering candidates to achieve their certifications. We understand that there is a vast amount of information across the web on what it takes to get Cisco certified. Our goal is to take the guess work out of deciphering all of this information and demystify any misinformation circulating. This is why, through our blogs and L@C social media platforms, we level set expectations for what you as a candidate are required to do before, during and after testing; what policies and procedures you need to know, and how we work to ensure the integrity of each exam administered to provide a fair and unbiased exam experience for all of our candidates. Though we sometimes share insights or best practices from our Subject Matter Experts or Program Managers, most of the information we provide is taken directly from the Cisco Learning Network, Pearson VUE, or cisco.com websites and expounded upon to give clarity or bring to light some things that may have been overlooked. That is why in this blog, we are focusing on one of the lesser known ways that Cisco provides an equal opportunity for all candidates to pursue and achieve their Cisco certification goals -- through our special accommodations testing policies.
WHAT ARE CISCO’S TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS?
The Cisco special accommodations testing policies are intended to meet the needs of candidates who have documented disabilities and require a modification to the normal testing process to take a Cisco exam. Granting special accommodations enables us to administer exams in a way that is fair for all test takers. There are four major categories that are subject to special accommodations under our guidelines:
- LCD (LEARNING AND OTHER COGNITIVE DISORDERS)
- ADD/ADHD (ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER)
- EPP (PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS)
- PCH (PHYSICAL DISABILITIES & CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS)
- wheelchair access
- physical impairments
As with all of our exam administrations, the testing accommodations are administered through Pearson VUE, our test delivery partner. There is no single type of test accommodation that is appropriate for all individuals with disabilities, thus the actual accommodations are individualized and considered on a case-by-case basis. Through our testing partner, we are able to provide several different types of accommodations including, but not limited to:
- Text magnifiers such as Zoom Text
- Text readers such as Job Access With Speech
- A separate testing room
- Additional testing time
- A reader or scribe
WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO REQUEST ACCOMMODATIONS?
In order to qualify for special accommodations, you must go through our testing partner to begin the request. There is a comprehensive list of information that details the process on the Pearson VUE accommodations website. There you will find the necessary forms required to be completed by an evaluator such as a psychologist, doctor, or other medical professional who has or will administer a series of psychological, educational or medical tests, and provide you with a diagnostic report or detailed letter. It is necessary for your evaluator to complete all forms according to the guidelines or this may cause a denial or delay in your approval process. Once you have all necessary documents completed, you must register with a valid email address on the Reasonable Adjustments Request System. Pearson VUE will conduct an initial evaluation and the #CertsandLabs team will provide final approval within 10 business days. If approved, the determination letter will provide instructions for scheduling your accommodated exam. It is important to note that accommodations cannot be added to a previously scheduled exam, therefore you MUST schedule your exam AFTER the full approval process has been completed AND at least SIX MONTHS in advance of your anticipated exam testing date.
Cisco works with our testing partner to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and methodologies for providing test accommodations. Candidates might request specific aides by name or method in which they would like their exams to be administered however specific requests may not be feasible for the testing environment. Although we cannot guarantee that accommodations will ensure a candidate’s completion or passing of an exam, we will work to ensure that accommodations provide candidates a fair and unbiased opportunity to test. If you are not satisfied with the test accommodations decision, you may always request an appeal to be reviewed by disability experts. If approved, accommodations are valid for a full year.
We remain committed to providing a level playing field for all IT professionals to become Cisco certified. Our exam delivery team is passionate about what they do and works hand in hand with our testing partner to help any qualified candidate that may require accommodations. As one #CertsandLabs team member says, “Because we are more inclusive and enabling more people, my hope is that it is opening up to more possibilities [for candidates]. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the opportunity. I want them to feel empowered and involved in the technology that impacts and surrounds them on a daily basis. Many have the ability to continue on in their professional growth and development. We put a lot of thought into [special accommodations] and we make sure we administer as fairly as possible.” If you are in need of special accommodations or know someone who is interested in pursuing a career in Cisco technologies, please find additional details directly on the Pearson VUE accommodations website.