College entrance exams (like the SAT or ACT) can feel like a test of fortitude and academic endurance to any student. For those with certain disabilities, however, the task of taking an hours-long exam could be even more daunting. If a disability impacts a student’s ability to take the test, certain accommodations may be available.
These accommodations might include Braille or a large-print exam booklet if the disability involves vision, longer or additional breaks, more time to test, or the use of a computer for written portions of the exam. The accommodation must allow the student equal ability to sit for the exam, but is not designed to “help” them regarding their final score.
Here are a few things you need to know:
The disability should be documented before the exam, and approval for the necessary accommodation should be received before the scheduled exam date. You can submit a Student Eligibility Form yourself, or work with your school counselor to request accommodations. Make sure you allow at least seven weeks for processing of your request, as it can take quite a bit of time to get this done.
If your student previously received these types of accommodations for tests throughout high school, they stand a better chance of being approved for them during college entrance exams.
If your student receives approval for use of accommodations at one test, they will be able to re-use that approval for all future test dates (should they decide to retake the test several times).
Some disabilities won’t require accommodations, and not all accommodations will be deemed appropriate. If denied, you can always seek additional documentation of the disability and desired accommodations. Then submit another request along with the new information.
If you have more questions regarding accommodations and college entrance exams, work with your school’s SSD coordinator. They can help gather the appropriate documentation, and submit the request online for faster processing.