Recently, both the College Board and the ACT announced big changes to their test accommodations policy. Unlike the past, when students seeking accommodations had to pass through a number of hoops, the process has been significantly streamlined for those needing language support or extended time for testing.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the College Board will automatically approve accommodations for nearly all students who currently receive testing accommodations at their school through either an IEP or a 504 Plan (for public school students) or through other plans sanctioned by private schools. These students will generally receive the same type of accommodations for the SAT, Subject Tests, PSAT and AP exams as they do for school-based testing. Granting of accommodations was reduced to a two-question process:
1. Is the requested accommodation in the student’s educational plan?
2. Has the student used the accommodations for school-based testing?
A positive response to both questions provides test-takers with the needed accommodations.
In a similar fashion, the ACT announced that it was aligning its policy with that of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and approving accommodations for those students currently receiving them at their home schools. In addition, the ACT announced that students in a designated English Learners Program could apply through their high school counselor to automatically receive testing support for the ACT. The College Board has matched the ACT policy and will also provide support for students enrolled in an English Learners Program.
It is still a bit more cumbersome to apply for accommodations for the ACT. To be eligible, the disability must be diagnosed and documented by a credentialed professional. The disability must impact performance on the ACT and the student must receive and use similar accommodations at school. Detailed instructions for applying for accommodations on the ACT can be found at www.ACT.org.