Disabilities & Accommodations

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9 bits of wisdom from long-time member Carol F:

  1. The easiest thing to get is time and a half. Anything more is tricky.
  2. My eldest got double time for the writing portion of the act and for composition clep. I had to call around to find a venue that would accommodate this need. I found one at a small prestigious secondary private school. As homeschoolers, the venues don’t have to accommodate. If they are in school at the venue they tend to be more accommodating.
  3. It is also easy to get preferred seating. They tended to tolerate a grounding item like a chewy or a sensory toy that is small and quiet.
  4. For vision processing, a ruler was provided by them to line up bubbles to the correct number. They did not want us to bring our own flag edge in case it was cheating.
  5. Breaks are something we never endeavored with. That is tricky also. I know they accommodate diabetes so they have to allow breaks
  6. The proof is key and laying out a well outlined and well-explained case is imperative. Drs often ask me to write the letter and they sign. The wording is tricky and needs to be done to clearly justify the accommodations especially now that many have been caught inappropriately using accommodations to better scores.
  7. A neuropsychologist evaluation is extremely helpful and possibly required depending on who reviews the file. Getting this early is very important.
  8. A new act rule is that ADHD has to be diagnosed before the age of 12. I assume this is to prevent bogus claims.
  9. Submit requests far in advance and don’t be afraid to appeal. They likely don’t have enough explanation or proof.

Advice from Lisa C.  
Can students with disabilities earn college credit? Certainly, though if there is an intellectual disability earning college credit while in high school might be too difficult for the student.
Are some ways better than others?  Online? On-campus? Credit by exam? I think that will be specific to the student and class.  Many students do better on campus because they learn better when interacting with the instructor and their peers.  For my chronically ill son, being on campus is too draining and he does well with online classes. Credit by exam is a great way to earn college credit and accommodations can be requested.  Plan far in advance.
What have you learned through your experience? If your student wants to take dual credit classes, it is important to meet with someone in the Disability Services office to discuss what kind of accommodations are needed and can be provided.  My son is allowed time and a half on exams and allowed to type answers to exams rather than handwriting (I’m not sure any exams are handwritten anymore).  Several times he has had to ask his instructors for more time to turn in an assignment due to his illness and each time it has been granted.

 

Credit by Exam:  CLEP 

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

from The College Board’s CLEP page

If you have a learning or physical disability that would prevent you from taking a CLEP exam under standard conditions, you may request accommodations at your preferred test center. Contact your preferred test center well in advance of the test date to make the necessary arrangements and to find out its deadline for submission of documentation for approval of accommodations. Accommodations that can be arranged directly with test centers include:

  • ZoomText (screen magnification)
  • Modifiable screen colors
  • Use of a reader, an amanuensis, or a sign language interpreter
  • Extended time
  • Untimed rest breaks

If the above accommodations do not meet your needs, contact CLEP Services for information about other nonstandard options at clep@info.collegeboard.org or at 800-257-9558 before you register through My Account.

Shelley D:  “My teen has dyslexia but never formally diagnosed. I was really worried that she wouldn’t get accommodations (for CLEP) without one. However, all that is required is an original letter from a doctor describing issues and requesting accommodations. For us, the doctor said test anxiety and visual processing issues. My daughter is able to get double time on most exams and triple time on math.  I just thought I’d share, in case there are other parents in your groups that are stressed over it.”

Carol F:  “We did have trouble with the language clep. Middle has an auditory processing disorder and she literally could not remember what she heard and in daily life needs things repeated many times. After going around many times she ultimately decided to skip the test. Their final resolution was to do written tests only. They had no method to repeat the sound byte with current technology. “


Admissions Exams: ACCUPLACER, PSAT & SAT

Note: this section is a direct copy/paste from the official College Board website – these links will take you off this site.

ACCUPLACER Testing Accommodations

ACCUPLACER accommodations are available but are not approved by the College Board. Contact the test center at your college or other institution for more information.

PSAT 8/9 Testing Accommodations

PSAT 8/9 accommodations are approved by schools. Families should contact their school to learn more.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

College Board’s Eligibility Page

Some students with documented disabilities are eligible for accommodations on College Board exams. Students cannot take the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams with accommodations unless their request for accommodations has been approved by Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).

In general, students approved by SSD for College Board testing accommodations meet the criteria discussed below:

Some examples of disabilities include blindness and visual impairments; learning disorders; physical and medical impairments, such as cerebral palsy and diabetes; and motor impairments. There are many others.

Students must have documentation of their disability, such as a current psychoeducational evaluation or a report from a doctor. The type of documentation needed depends on the student’s disability and the accommodations being requested. In some cases, documentation must be submitted to the College Board. Learn more about Providing Documentation.

The disability must result in a relevant functional limitation. In other words, it must impact the student’s ability to participate in College Board exams. Students whose disabilities result in functional limitations in the following areas may need accommodations:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Sitting for extended periods

On the other hand, students like these may not need accommodations:

  • Students who need assistance walking in the hallways or participating in physical education.
  • Students with a hearing impairment who need assistance taking notes in class. College Board exams are primarily written exams.
  • Students with certain psychiatric conditions, such as some specific phobias, that don’t impact them during test taking.

The student must demonstrate the need for the specific accommodation requested. For example, students requesting extended time should have documentation showing that they have difficulty performing timed tasks, such as testing under timed conditions.

Other typical accommodations include Braille and large-print exams, use of a computer for essays, and extra breaks. However, accommodations are not limited to these; the College Board will consider any accommodation for any documented disability.

With few exceptions, students who request an accommodation on College Board exams receive that accommodation on tests that they take in school. However, students who receive an accommodation in school or have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan that includes the accommodation do not automatically qualify for the accommodation on College Board exams — they must still be approved by the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities, and in some cases documentation will be requested for the College Board’s review.

The student’s history of receiving accommodations in school and information provided by the school are important in the College Board’s review of requests for accommodations. Yet College Board exams can differ from classroom tests. When requesting accommodations, schools and students should consider whether the accommodations that are used for classroom tests are needed for the specific College Board tests that they are taking.

College Board Accommodations Requests

In general, students approved by the College Board for testing accommodations meet the following criteria:

  • They have a documented disability.
  • Their participation in College Board exams is impacted by the disability.
  • The specific accommodations requested are needed.
  • With few exceptions, they receive accommodations on school tests.

Get the details on eligibility.

To be eligible for accommodations on College Board exams, students and their families usually work with their schools to do the following:

  • Submit a request to the College Board.
  • Document the disability.
  • Document the need for the requested accommodations.

Use of accommodations that have not been approved by the College Board results in canceled scores. Get an overview of The Approval Process.

Students who use accommodations in school or have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan are not automatically approved for College Board testing accommodations. They must still request accommodations from the College Board. Most students who receive accommodations at school and request them from the College Board are approved.

Beginning in January 2017, most students with an IEP, 504 Plan, or other current, formal school-based plan that meets College Board criteria will have their current accommodations automatically approved for College Board exams. College Board criteria for a formal plan (other than an IEP or 504 Plan) include the following:

  • Plan was developed using tests or evaluations that 1) are appropriate for the student’s diagnosis and needs, 2) were administered by those who meet state and/or professional guidelines for administering the evaluations and for diagnosing the disability in question, and 3) demonstrate the student’s disability and need for accommodations.
  • Plan was created by a group of people who know the student, the meaning of the evaluation results, and the available accommodations. This group may include an SSD coordinator.

When documentation review is required, the request process can take about seven weeks from the day on which complete documentation is received. See Calendar for deadlines associated with specific exam administrations. To receive approval for accommodations in time for the PSAT/NMSQT or the October SAT, it’s best to begin in the spring of the previous school year — well before summer recess.

Most students are mailed a decision letter explaining the approved accommodations or the reasons for denial. Students with a College Board account who are registered for the SAT can view their decision letter by signing into BigFuture. If the parent’s email is also associated with the student’s account, the student and parent receive an email when the decision letter is available, not a letter.

Schools are notified by email when a decision is made. They can then sign into SSD Online and view the decision letter.

The answer is almost always no: Once approved, it is not necessary to reapply for each College Board exam. Unless we are informed that the student no longer needs them, accommodations remain in effect until one year after high school graduation.

Parents may submit a paper request for accommodations (using the Student Eligibility Form) without the participation of their school. Documentation must be provided for the College Board’s review.

In most cases, however, parents work with their school to request accommodations — the fastest and most efficient method. At this time, the online system, SSD Online, is not available to parents or students.

Your next step depends in part on the explanation provided in your decision letter. You may need to supply additional documentation. Learn more at Denied Requests.


Dual Enrollment Classes

Having worked in the community college system for over 2 decades, I can tell you with confidence that community colleges are GOOD at making accommodations and supporting students.   4-year universities will vary.

Unlike a k-12 program, college programs require that your student self-identify to the instructor (each instructor, every course).

In terms of practicality, online courses allow you (the parent) to help your student at home in the same ways you’ve always done.  Courses on campus require more independence, so take that into account.

My student is homeschooled and is currently taking two online courses at our local community college for dual credit. He has ADHD and is receiving accommodations including time and a half for exams. With documentation, they were fairly easily provided to him through the disability resource center at the college.

-Tammy B. HS4CC parent

 

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