Overview of Standardized Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
What accommodations are offered?
Getting accommodations for standardized testing is not like choosing from a menu of services. Students should apply for only the accommodations they regularly receive for high school exams. Extra time is most frequently requested, although a reader, multiple-day test schedule, additional breaks, and use of a computer, among other accommodations are available.
Does my student automatically get the accommodations in the IEP or 504 Plan?
No! Accommodations are not automatic. Students who receive testing accommodations at school are not guaranteed accommodations for these tests. While a student may be legally entitled to accommodations at the high school level, the College Board and ACT are private organizations; therefore, students are eligible for, but not entitled to, accommodations depending on their disability. Each organization has its own criteria for making those decisions.
What are the criteria for receiving testing accommodations?
Up-to-date, professionally prepared documentation of the disability and its functional impact on the student is generally required and usually provided though a psycho-educational or neuro-psychological testing report. Specific criteria for this documentation vary. Please consult the College Board and ACT websites for details. http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/ssd/accommodations
Will my student’s high school provide updated testing for students needing accommodations?
The school district does NOT offer updated testing to ensure that students are eligible for standardized testing or college accommodations. Limited, focused testing is available only if warranted by questions about a student’s performance.
How does my student apply for special testing?
For the SAT and other College Board tests, i.e., PSAT, SAT II, AP, complete and return the one page application available from the guidance counselor; all necessary information will be submitted on-line. The form for the ACT is printed from the website, partially completed by parents and submitted to the guidance counselor. The forms will be returned and should be submitted directly to the ACT organization by the parents with payment and required documentation. For the ACT, there is one form for testing with 50% extended time and another for all other accommodations. In some cases, a copy of the psycho-educational testing as well as a copy of the IEP or 504 Plan must be submitted as well.
How far ahead should my student apply?
For both tests, please allow at least 7 weeks.
Doesn’t my student need updated psycho-educational testing for college accommodations as well?
Yes, most colleges require testing that is no more than three years old and includes the adult (WAIS) rather than the child (WISC) cognitive ability test. The WAIS cannot be administered until the student is 16 years old, so parents should schedule testing carefully to ensure that it meets the requirements for both standardized testing and college accommodations. Reduced fee testing is sometimes available through community groups for students with financial need.
Joan Wittan, M.A., Independent Educational Consultant, Susan Hartung, Special Testing Coordinator, Walter Johnson High School
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