What ACT/SAT Accommodations Are Available For Students With Disabilities?

As with most tests, the ACT and SAT makes accommodations for students with documented disabilities. There are a number of examples of accommodations, which depends on the student’s needs. But, here are some of the more common ones:

Extended SAT Time

Extended time is available for students who may need longer to complete specific sections or the entire test. When a student applies for accommodation, they must specify the sections they need extra time for and how much time they will need.

However, note that if you receive extra time, they have to stay for the allotted period. Even if a student completes a section or test faster than expected, students cannot leave early or continue on to the next section.

Reading and Seeing

As with the extended time, students must specify what accommodations they need when it comes to reading or seeing. Some examples of these are audio format, reader, scribe, braille, large print, or a magnifier.

In some cases, students will need more than one of these reading and seeing accommodations. As long as it is stated beforehand, it is accepted.

Computer Use

Computer usage for short answers or essays is available to students who are unable to write or have learning disabilities. All students approved for this accommodation take the test at their school on a school computer. They are also restricted to a word processor. Spell check, word prediction, and cut and paste cannot be enabled or used during the test.

Longer or Extra Breaks

The ACT has a single break which lasts 10 minutes, while the SAT has a 10-minute break and a 5-minute break. If this is not long enough, or simply not enough breaks for a student, accommodations can be made. Students receive extra breaks at specific times, while doubling the allotted time for extended breaks.

Some students may also be eligible for “breaks as needed.” An example of this would be a diabetic who has to test blood sugar. Students can raise their hands to let their proctors know and timing will be paused. Time continues when the student is ready to begin again.

Other Accommodations

There are a number of accommodations that can be made, aside from the three listed above. Four function calculators may be made available to students who have a disability that interferes with their ability to do mathematics (graphic calculators are not allowed). Other examples include using a highlighter, ASL instructions, tape recorders, testing over multiple days, private rooms, and other test sites.

Students who believe they have a disability that interferes with their ability to take the ACT or SAT should apply for accommodations as soon as possible. Acceptance of the requested accommodations usually takes four to seven weeks before the test begins. Students should also make sure to request all the accommodations they need while providing the appropriate documentation to ensure they are granted their requests.

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