If there’s one positive thing to have come out of the admissions scandal from this past Spring, perhaps it is this- a spotlight has been cast on ACT and SAT testing accommodations.  Prior to the scandal, and even still today, I’m sure, there are many deserving students who are not aware that they have the option to apply for special testing accommodations for both the ACT and SAT.  (Of course, it should be mentioned that those involved in the scandal whotook advantage of these accommodations and should not have been using them in the first place).


For students on IEP (Individualized Education Program)or504 plans (a plan developed to ensure a child who has a disability identified under the law receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access o the learning environment), both the ACT and the SAT provide a variety of accommodations to the timing and format of the tests.  Many parents and students are familiar with the possibility of extended timing options, but there are additional accommodations available for those students to who need it. 


While both the SAT and the ACT offer accommodations, the process of applying for them is different with each test.  If you think that you might be eligible for such accommodations, it’s important to start the application process early.  The review process for SAT accommodations commonly takes up to seven weeks; so don’t wait until the last minute or just before the test to apply!  


It should also be noted that having an existing IEP or 504 plan alone does not guarantee an accommodation, you do still have to go through the formal application process in order to receive the accommodation.


It’s best to apply through your child’s high school guidance office.  Many high schools even have someone on staff especially trained in this process!  Though, it is certainly possible to apply on your own, if need be.  As part of the application process, you will need to submit documentation verifying your child’s need for testing accommodations, generally this is the same documentation required in the approval process for 504 plans and IEPs, so it should be something most families have on-hand already.  


Available SAT accommodations:


 Extended time
 Computer use for essays
 Small group setting
 Multiple-day testing
 Use of a four-function calculator in math sections
 Reading accommodations
 Extra and extended breaks


Available ACT accommodations:


 Additional breaks
 Alternate testing formats
 Time-and-a-half extended time
 Reading accommodations


The College Board (the SAT) does not allow students to receive multiple accommodations, instead, the single best accommodations for that student based on their unique needs is offered.  


For more information regarding both ACT and SAT testing accommodations, visit actstudent.org or collegeboard.org.  


If you are a current high school sophomore or junior and think that you might be eligible for accommodations, talk to a College Dream Builder consultant and we can offer guidance on how to start the process and put your best foot forward in the standardized testing process!


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