Accommodations for the ACT
The ACT offers several test day accommodations for eligible students. Examples of these accommodations include extended time, multi-day testing, and small-group testing. To qualify for accommodations, students will often need an official diagnosis from a credentialed professional.
How to Apply for Accommodations on the ACT
Step 1 – Determine Student Eligibility
A student is eligible for ACT accommodations if three conditions are satisfied:
- A credentialed professional has diagnosed and documented the disability.
- The student’s performance on the ACT will be directly impacted by the student’s disability.
- The student has been provided similar accommodations in similar settings, such as school tests.
Step 2 – Choose National Extended Time or Special Testing
Eligible students must choose to apply for either National Extended Time or Special Testing.
National Extended Time is a good fit for students whose accommodations can be provided at a testing center on a testing center date. This includes students who are not proficient in English.
Examples of National Extended Time Accommodations:
- 50% Extra Time (also called one and one-half time)
- Breaks as needed
- Small-group testing
- Wheelchair accessibility
- Large Print test booklets
- Proctor to mark answers in the test booklet
- Sign language interpreter for verbal instructions
- Use of an authorized bilingual word-to-word dictionary or translated written test directions
Special Testing includes any accommodations that cannot be provided at a test center on the scheduled testing date. These accommodations are typically administered by a testing coordinator at the student’s school or another site that can provide the requested accommodations.
- Double or triple time (these automatically come with a multi-day testing accommodation)
- Multiday testing (split the test into 2-4 days)
- Individual testing environment
- Alternative testing formats (braille, audio recording, screen reader, or human reader)
- Scribe for recording student’s answers
Step 3 – Documentation for Accommodations Request
Two kinds of documentation are necessary for ACT accommodations requests:
- Educational or neuropsychological testing completed by a credentialed school official or private evaluator.
- Records of the accommodation being implemented by the school.
If the testing has been completed in the local public school system, results are typically filed in an Individualized Education Program or 504 plan. These documents contain the student’s diagnosis and accommodation plan that must be implemented by the student’s school.
For private school students, testing can be sought through the school or a private evaluator. Results are typically distilled into a service plan that functions similarly to a 504 plan by providing the school with instructions for accommodations.
For students with learning disabilities, the ACT requires that all testing be conducted within the last three years. For students with visual impairments or psychiatric disorders, testing must have been conducted within the past year.
Step 4 – Submit Your ACT Accommodations Request
ACT requires that students register for a test date online before submitting an accommodations request. During the registration process, the student will be prompted to specify which accommodations package they are applying for–National Extended Time or Special Testing.
After registration is complete, students must work with their school’s test coordinator to finish their accommodations request through the Test Accessibility and Accommodations System (TAA). To begin this process, the student’s parent or guardian must sign a consent form to release information to ACT.
The average review time for ACT accommodations requests is 10-14 days. Special testing requests can take longer.
Step 5 – Respond to ACT Decision Letter
The school test coordinator receives an electronic decision notification in TAA with an approval message if the accommodations are accepted. Students are not automatically notified of the approval and should check with their school’s test coordinator.
If National Extended Time has been approved, the student can log into their ACT account to print their registration ticket, which will indicate the accommodation. If the student retakes the ACT on another test date, they will not need to reapply and can check a box indicating that they would like to reuse National Extended Time.
If the student is approved for Special Testing, the school test coordinator will review which accommodations were approved and make arrangements for testing. Often these tests will be administered at the student’s school. However, if your school is unable to administer the test, you can find another school to work with and request a Test Location Change From by contacting the ACT. If the student retakes the ACT on another test date, they must notify the school test coordinator after registration. The test coordinator then corresponds with ACT via TAA to implement the Special Testing accommodations.
How to Use Your ACT Accommodation on Test Day
For students who are approved for National Extended Time, the accommodation is noted on their registration ticket. Print out the registration ticket to bring on test day, and the accommodations listed will be provided.
For students with Special Testing accommodations, the school test coordinator will work with the student to provide the logistics for the test day(s). Students must complete their exam within the special testing window.
If you do not wish to use all your approved accommodations on the test day, you must contact the ACT more than one week before your test date to update which accommodations you plan to use.
To request accommodations for the ACT you will first need to be registered for the exam. All accommodations requests and appeals but be submitted to the ACT by the late registration deadline for your exam date.
If the student’s request for some or all ACT accommodations is denied, the student may work with their school’s test coordinator to submit a reconsideration request. This will involve submitting additional or new documentation (e.g. a more detailed letter from school staff explaining why the request is reasonable) or applying for different accommodations. Review of reconsideration requests may take up to 6 weeks.
If you have a temporary disability (e.g. a broken limb) you can still apply for accommodations. To get “temporary arrangements,” you must email ACTAccom@act.org for a “request form.”
Homeschool Students or Not Currently Enrolled Testers
If you are homeschooled or are not currently enrolled in a high school, you can still register for accommodations. You can find more information on how to do that here.
Many schools will request 50% extra time for students under the National Extended Time package without considering other accommodations. The accommodation that often seems to be overlooked that we highly consider each family of a student with disabilities to consider is the multi-day testing option. This is often a game-changer for students as it allows them to take the exam during a 2 – 4 day period, which minimizes the time your student needs to concentrate on each day. The student does still have to take all sections in the order they are traditionally proctored on the exam.
If you need to contact ACT for any reason, and your student has been approved for accommodations, we suggest contacting the ACT Accommodations Team at 319-337-1332, instead of the general ACT Customer Service line.
If you have any questions about ACT accommodations, please reach out to our accommodations expert Hailey Andler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-307-2750.