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ACT Accommodations

Applying

To apply for ACT accommodations, you need to first register for a test date with standard time and conditions.  This hurdle often results in families waiting to apply.  It is better to just register for a test date even if you do not plan to sit for that test.  That way, you can move ahead with the process of applying, get your accommodations in place, and know what the testing conditions will be before making a testing plan.  Once the accommodations are approved, you are all set to use them for any test date going forward.  If the accommodations are not approved, you have time to go through the re-application process. 

When applying, provide as much of a paper trail as possible of documentation and use.  For most accommodations, the student must have had a psycho-educational evaluation within the last three years and should have either an IEP or 504 plan set up in school.  

 

There are 3 categories of accommodations:  

1. National Standard time with accommodations  

Request this only if you can test at a regularly scheduled national test center under standard time limits and use either a regular type (10-pt.) or large type (18-pt.) test booklet, but require other accommodations due to your disability. All scores achieved through National Testing are reported as "National." No details about any accommodations provided are reported. 

Examples include:

·   assignment to a wheelchair-accessible room

·   large type test booklet (18-pt.)

·   marking responses in the test booklet

·   permission for food, drink or medical supplies in the test room

·   stop-the-clock breaks 

And for examinees with hearing impairments:

·   seating near the front of the room to lip-read spoken instructions

·   sign language interpreter (not a relative) to sign spoken instructions (not test items)

·   printed copy of spoken instructions with visual notification of start, time remaining, and stop times 

To apply for these types of accommodation:

·   Register online for standard testing

·   Student/parent fills out a 2-page form from here: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/disab/opt1.html

·   Send in filled out form with supporting documents (IEP, 504 Plan, etc.) and a copy of your admission ticket for standard testing

·   The request must be received prior to the deadline, which is typically five weeks prior to the test date

2 - National Extended Time (50% time extension)

Request this only if you can test at a regularly scheduled national test center and use either a regular type (10-pt.) or large type (18-pt.) test booklet, but require up to 50% more time due to your disability. 

To apply for this accommodation:

·   Register online for standard time testing

·   Print out this form: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/disab/opt2.html

·   Student/parent must fill out a portion of the form and a school official (counselor, special education teacher, principal) must fill out another portion of the form. 

·   Send in filled out form with all supporting documentation and a copy of your ticket for standard time testing.

 

3 - Special Testing (at school) 

Special Testing is designed for students who:

·   normally use more than time-and-a-half for tests (or use extended time only on writing tests) in school, or

·   require testing over multiple days, or

·   normally use alternate test formats such as braille, DVDs, or a reader; or a computer or scribe for essays, and/or alternate response modes, (such as responding orally) 

Special Testing (at school) for both ACT and ACT with writing is available only during the designated three-week testing windows listed on the request form. 

To apply for these types of accommodations:

·   Do not register online

·   This application: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/disab/opt3.html will be filled out and submitted by the Special Testing coordinator at your school.  It is important to identify this person as early as possible and communicate what accommodations you would like to request and when.  You should review with them the deadlines for submission and ask to review the application prior to its submission to make sure it is complete and correct. 

 

Taking the Test

National Test Date: 50 Percent Extra Time

 If you are taking the ACT without the essay, you will be allowed up to five hours total to work on the multiple-choice tests at your own pace. If you are taking the ACT with writing, you will be allowed six hours total to work on all five tests. 

The open-ended nature of the test is the big advantage.  The test can be bent to the needs of each student.  A student may not need more time on the English section but may need double time on the Reading section.  This can be accommodated with the right plan.  If you don’t have a plan, it can lead to a real missed opportunity.  The students will be given no direction on pacing from the proctor for sections or breaks.  The student may spend as much or as little time as desired on each section.  In addition, the student can take breaks or not take breaks between each section.  The clock never stops.  Thus, the student should have personal specific time guidelines to follow for each section and each break to cover the entire five or six hours.

 Here are a few examples of how certain students might break up the six hours:

Example Student 1:
Strong Math/Slow Reader/Strong Writer
 

·   English: 80 minutes

·   5-minute break

·   Math: 85 minutes

·   10-minute break

·   Reading: 70 minutes

·   5-minute break

·   Science: 60 minutes

·   5-minute break

·   Essay: 40 minutes

Example Student 2:
Weak Math/Strong Reader-Writer 

·   English: 55 minutes

·   5-minute Break

·   Math: 120 minutes

·   15-minutes break

·   Reading: 50 minutes

·   5-minute break

·   Science: 65 minutes

·   5-minute break

·   Essay: 40 minutes 

Special Testing: Multi-day 

When you go to multi-day testing, the ACT timing becomes more rigid, but the advantages can outweigh the disadvantages, particularly for ADHD students.

For multi-day testing, a student has a designated three-week window to complete the test.  The student can take the test over the course of one to five days within that window.  The student will take the test at his or her school. 

It is important that you work out certain issues with the school ahead of time:

·   How many days of testing are appropriate for your child?

·   Over what time period will the tests occur?

·   What time of day will the tests occur?

·   Who will proctor and where?

·   If more than one test is being taken in a day, how long will the breaks be?

For multi-day testing, you can get 50% extra time, 100% extra time or 300% extra time.  The percent extra time you request should be based on your documentation and what you receive at school.  The 300% extra time is typically reserved for students who require a DVD or a reader.

 

ACT Accommodations: Recommendations  

·   If you have a disability, document it and get in school accommodations as soon as possible.

·   Get in touch with your SSD coordinator sophomore year to get accommodations in place for both the SAT and ACT.

·   Advocate for maximum accommodations even if SSD coordinator expresses skepticism.  This skepticism usually occurs in cases of multi-day testing, 100 percent extra time, and reader/DVD assistance.

·   If multi-day testing for ACT, take it over four days even though schools usually assume/prefer you take it over two days.

·   Do not take any practice SATs or ACTs until the student has some idea of what he or she is doing, especially under regular time conditions.   Free practice tests are not free.  Negative experiences have consequences, so “getting to know the test” and having a poor result is getting to know that you “hate”/”can’t do” that test. Every student has a limit on the number of practice tests he or she can handle, so save them for when he or she knows what to do, has proper testing conditions, and is taking the test he or she has the greatest potential on.

·   Get assessed to determine whether you should be focused on the SAT or ACT.  Consider issues of content, strategies, timing and accommodations.

·   One-on-one tutoring.  It is nearly impossible for students with learning disabilities to get the specific help they need for standardized testing in a classroom environment.
 

ACT Accommodations: Resources

Set up ACT account:
 
http://www.actstudent.org

Phone for ACT testing with accommodations:
319.337.1332

e-mail for ACT testing with accommodations: actaccom@act.org

ACT website for examinees with disabilities: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/disab/

 

 

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