High stakes tests should, along with being valid and reliable, always be fair. Fairness entails equitable treatment of those living with physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major activities or functions. When a standardized exam is used as a criterion for educational admissions, licensing, certification, or credentialing, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to fairly compete for such opportunities. The provision of needed testing accommodations by testing entities permits test-takers with disabilities to demonstrate their true aptitude.
All the organizations administering admissions exams for secondary, undergraduate, or graduate programs adhere assiduously to ADA requirements and offer clear public guidance on how to apply for testing accommodations.
- Applying for SAT Accommodations
- Applying for ACT Accommodations
- Applying for SSAT Accommodations
- Applying for ISEE Accommodations
- Applying for GRE Accommodations
- Applying for GMAT Accommodations
- Applying for LSAT Accommodations
- Applying for MCAT Accommodations
1. The application process should begin with an honest evaluation. Do you qualify for testing accommodations? Applicants must be able to prove a documented disability that impacts testing and establish that certain accommodations have created fair testing conditions for them in the past.
2. The second step in receiving needed accommodations on the test of your choice is simple: apply for them. As the administrators of the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT, and Advanced Placement Exams says, “Use of accommodations without approval by the College Board results in cancellation of test scores.” The same rule goes for every single standardized test on the planet. No application means no accommodation.
3. Your third step is to plan ahead. Even certain approvals don’t come instantaneously. ACT generally takes takes 7-14 business days to reviews requests, but usually requires registration for an exam before accepting applications. On the other hand, College Board predicts about seven weeks for an accommodations request to be processed when documentation review is required.
4. Your fourth step entails completing the required forms and submitting your application. Some test takers engage directly with testing entities to submit applications. However, families of high school students should always work through their schools whenever possible. Just about every high school includes at least one staffer who assumes the responsibilities, if not title, of Test Admissions Coordinator or SSD Coordinator. These coordinators often work out of the Counseling or Guidance office and have special online channels to facilitate easy and complete applications. Just as important, they bring extensive training, experience, and insight to what can be a daunting process.
Once your application is submitted, you’ll have anywhere from two to seven weeks to wait for a decision. Use that time to learn not just what the different testing accommodations entail, but what the tests themselves entail. In other words, prepare.