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Accommodations on the SAT and ACT

Many high school students with learning disabilities or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder require additional assistance and accommodations when they are required to complete lengthy examinations such as the SAT and the ACT.  These adolescents often are unable to complete the examination within the time frame allotted to them or exhibit difficulties with certain aspects of the examination because of their learning disability.

It is important for parents and academic staff to be aware that the testing boards are clamping down on allowing accommodation on these examinations.

There are several factors that need to be met in order for an adolescent to qualify for accommodations:

  • There has to be documented evidence of a learning disability or medical condition that impacts the individual’s performance.
  • There has to be school evidence that the symptoms from the condition have an impact on the adolescent’s academic performance.
  • There should be a ‘paper trail’ established in which the individual has a history of accommodations and interventions within the academic setting.

Once the necessary requirements for accommodations have been met, it is then important to help determine what specific accommodations the individual would necessitate for the examination.

Accommodations are created based upon the individual’s specific needs; however, a list of possible accommodations that many adolescents with ADHD and/or learning disabilities may benefit from include:

  • Extended time under a minimum of time and one half conditions
  • Small group testing
  • Ability to type responses as needed
  • Ability to write in the test booklet as opposed to having to transfer responses to a separate bubble sheet or scantron form

The most important thing for parents to understand is to not wait.  If you speculate that your child might need accommodations on formal testing, have an evaluation completed as soon as possible in order to help establish the needed diagnosis and paper trail.  Visit our Neuropsychology Diagnostic and Testing Center for more information on formal testing.