College Entrance Testing Accommodations for the ACT

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Need ACT Testing Accommodations for your child? If your child will need ACT testing accommodations, it is important to begin as early as possible laying the documentation trail. Many college entrance exams require an application process that involves documentation of both a history of a disability and a history of accommodations in the classroom. The ACT testing accommodations application process is much more complicated than filling out a form.

Learn How to Apply for ACT Testing Accommodations

  1. Before you apply for ACT testing accommodations, determine if they are truly needed. If you answer yes to any of the following, your child may possibly need and qualify for ACT testing accommodations:
    • Does her IEP or Section 504 plan include accommodations for testing specifically?
    • Does the IEP or 504 plan include accommodations such as extra time for reading assignments, class projects, a reader, or a scribe?
    • Has your child had accommodations for at least the last three years? If not, has something happened more recently that impacts his ability to take a standardized test such as the ACT?
  2. Learn the latest information on ACT testing accommodations. Take the initiative and learn about the ACT testing accommodations application process by visiting the ACT website. Don't miss the special ACT testing accommodations pages for disabilities. Read through the website carefully to make sure you understand all of your options and how to apply for accommodations. There…that's it. Okay, just kidding. Read on.
  1. Document early. It is never too early to lay the groundwork for future ACT testing accommodations. Even if your child is still in elementary or middle school, begin the process of documenting the impact of your child's disability over time. If your child has difficulty reading, writing, or math that prevents him from demonstrating what he truly knows on a test, begin requesting that her IEP or 504 plan include specific accommodations for testing at IEP and 504 meetings.
  2. Be prepared to justify your request. Examples of justification can include:
    • Comparing her performance in math with and without a calculator.
    • Weighing the performance difference between an advanced placement class work grade and the grade on an advanced placement exam.
    • Comparing his performance in completing written homework assignments and his scores on essay tests.
    • Discuss the amount of help your child needs on homework.
    • Compare grades on regular classroom work versus tests.
    • For ADD/ADHD children, discuss the help your child needs despite taking medication (if currently taking medication).
    • Compare performance with and without accommodations such as readers, scribes, calculators, computers, etc...
  1. If you waited too late to request ACT testing accommodations, there may still be a possibility your child could get ACT accommodations if special conditions exist. Some testing agencies will allow requests for accommodations in the final year of high school under special circumstances. In some rare instances, disabilities may not be identified until late in a child's school career. For example:
    • Learning disabilities can be acquired later in life as the result of a brain disease or injury.
    • An invisible disability such as attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity may go undiagnosed for years.
    • Some mental disabilities that can affect learning may not appear until late in adolescence

Meet With a School Counselor to Discuss Accommodations

Once you've gathered and organized the information you gathered in the steps above, make an outline of the most important points. Make copies of all supporting documents you have such as testing reports and report cards. Make an appointment with your child's school counselor to discuss your requests for accommodations. Make copies of the forms from the ACT website, and share them with the counselor.

Your child's counselor or testing supervisor will help you with completing the ACT testing accommodations and will explain the submission process. Before ending the meeting make sure you have determined:

  • Who will complete the forms and submit them.
  • What (if any) additional documentation is needed and who is responsible for getting it.
  • Deadlines for submission of the ACT testing accommodation documents.
  • Mark your calendar to remind yourself of tasks you are responsible for. Mark your calendar at least two weeks before the deadline to contact the counselor to ensure everything is in order, applications have been submitted, and that the process is complete.

Applying for ACT accommodations does not guarantee your child will be permitted to have accommodations, but you can improve your child's chances of getting accommodations by following these suggestions.

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