Students with documented learning disabilities are eligible for accommodations on the College Board (SAT) and ACT exams. These accommodations include varying increments of extended time, the use of a laptop or computer for essay writing, booklets with larger print for students with visual impairments, and small group testing for students who have issues with distractibility or anxiety.
The procedure to qualify for extended time requires following processes for both the College Board (SAT) and ACT. These processes are different for each test.
In order for a student to become eligible to receive extended time on the SAT, their request for accommodations must be approved by Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).
- Student has a documented disability
- Participation in a College Board exam is impacted
- Requested accommodation is needed
- Accommodation is received on school tests
- The diagnosed condition substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- Requests for accommodations are appropriate and reasonable for documented disability.
Assuming that the student meets these criteria, the next stage is to begin to gather documentation to submit to SSD or ACT’s online accommodations request system.
Students will likely receive accommodations for the SAT and ACT if the disability is substantiated by a professional evaluator and there is a school generated plan such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 plan, or Response to Intervention (RTI) plan. Students will need documentation from a neuropsychologist, school official, or private evaluator with a formal diagnoses and accommodations that the school has implemented. The results of the testing are typically obtained and organized at the student’s local school district.
The next stage of eligibility process is for the student to submit their request for accommodations.
College Board exams require students seeking accommodations to submit a Student Eligibility Form (SEF). The SEF is a document describing the student’s disability, the desired accommodation, and a summary of documentation gathered at the student’s school. The SEF can be submitted independently, but the College Board prefers that it is prepared online with the assistance of an SSD Coordinator. An SSD Coordinator is a designee from the school responsible for helping students with disabilities become eligible to gain additional time on the College Board exams. Once the SEF and subsequent documentation from the school have been submitted, students should receive a response from the College Board within 1-5 weeks.
The ACT has separate requirements for submitting a request. Students are required to request accommodations in the Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) System. The TAA is an online system used to submit an accommodations request for additional testing time on the ACT. Students must use a Test Accommodations Coordinator (TAC) to help prepare the request. A TAC is a designee from the school who will be able to help students become eligible for additional time for testing on the ACT. Students should receive a response from the ACT within 6 weeks.
If your request is approved there are two types of accommodations for students:
- National Extended Time – The appropriate classification for students requiring no more than 50% extended time on standardized tests.
- Special Testing – A classification for students whose disability is not suited for National Extended Time and requires more than time and a half.
If your request for accommodations has been denied your child may be required to undergo additional testing or more specific evidence from an evaluator may be needed to permit the denied accommodation(s). It’s also possible that a student could be approved for some sections of the test but not others.
At NeuroHealth Arlington Heights, we specialize in working with schools, parents, and teachers to find the right school accommodations for each student. Dr. Laurie Phillips Ph.D. is a highly-respected leader in the field. Dr. Phillips acts as an independent advocate consulting on behalf of disabled students at numerous schools throughout the country.
If you have additional questions about testing accommodations or if you think your child could have a learning disorder that keeps him or her from excelling in school, call (847) 796-6979 or email us using the form on our contact us page.
NeuroHealth assesses students and diagnoses these learning disorders that might keep your child from meeting his or her full potential at school:
- Learning Disabilities
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Psychiatric Disorders (Mood or Anxiety Disorders or Serious and Persistent Mental Illness)
- Visual Impairment
- Hearing Impairment
- Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Speech and Language Disorders
- Medical Conditions
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Physical/Medical Disabilities
- Tic Disorders/Tourette’s
National Extended Time – The appropriate classification for students requiring no more than 50% extended time on standardized tests.
Special Testing – A classification for students whose disability is not suited for National Extended Time and requires more than time and a half.
College Board – A not-for-profit organization most notable for administering the SAT, PSAT, and AP exams.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) – A program for students who have been evaluated and determined to be eligible for special education services. Students in an IEP receive additional resources and support to ensure they have an equal opportunity concerning educational curriculum.
504 Plan – A plan that lists the accommodations a school will provide, such as audiobooks, note-taking aids or extended time to complete tests, so that a student with a disability has equal access to the general education curriculum.
Response to Intervention (RTI) – Describes a multi-tier approach to supporting students with the identification and support of special education services.
Student Eligibility Form (SEF) – A form that must be submitted to the College Board in order to attain extended time on the SAT. The SEF is often prepared with the assistance of a SSD Coordinator (preferred by the College Board), but the SEF can be submitted independently.
SSD Coordinator – A designee from the school responsible for assisting students with learning disabilities become eligible to gain additional time on the SAT exam.
Test Accommodations Coordinator (TAC) – A designee from the school responsible for assisting students with learning disabilities become eligible for additional time for testing on the ACT.
Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) System – An online system used to submit an accommodations request for additional testing time on the ACT.