ACT offers several accommodations on test day for students with disabilities. The most common accommodations include extended time, computer use for the essay portion of the test, large-print test booklets for the visually impaired, and small group testing for students with anxiety or who are easily distracted. For many of these ACT accommodations, the student must be diagnosed by credentialed professionals.
Deadlines to Apply for ACT Accommodations
Before walking through the steps to apply for ACT accommodations, you should know what the deadlines are for this application process. The table below specifies the deadlines for applying for ACT accommodations for the remainder of the 2019-2020 test dates.
|December 14, 2019||November 22, 2019|
|February 8, 2020||January 17, 2020|
|April 4, 2020||March 13, 2020|
|June 13, 2020||May 22, 2020|
|July 18, 2020||June 26, 2020|
Step 1 – Determine Student Eligibility for ACT Accommodations
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.
Once you have determined that the student is eligible for ACT accommodations, you should consider the two possible accommodations options: National Extended Time and Special Testing.
The National Extended Time package works best for students who need no more than 50% additional time on the ACT.
Special Testing includes any accommodations different from that 50% extended time package. These accommodations are typically administered by a testing coordinator at the student’s school or another site that is able to provide the requested accommodations.
Step 2 – Gather Documentation for ACT Accommodations Request
Two kinds of documentation are necessary for ACT accommodations requests: 1) educational or neuropsychological testing completed by a credentialed school official or private evaluator AND 2) 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 (IEP), Response to Intervention (RTI) plan, or 504 plan. These documents all contain the student’s formal 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 an IEP, RTI, or 504 plan by providing the school with instructions for accommodations.
For students with learning disabilities or ADHD, 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 3 – Submit Your ACT Accommodations Request
ACT requires that students register for a test date online in order to submit the 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, ACT will email instructions for the remainder of the accommodations request. Students must work with their school’s test coordinator to submit an online 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 often take longer because test coordinators must coordinate with ACT for the school to become a testing site, determine the appropriate test window for the student, or find an alternate testing venue that can accommodate the request.
Step 4 – 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 approval and should check with their school’s test coordinator within 2-7 weeks of the request submission.
If the student applied for National Extended Time, once it has been approved, the student should log into his or her ACT account to print the registration ticket, which should indicate the extended time status. If the student retakes the ACT on another test date, he or she will not need to reapply for extended time. During registration for the second test date, the student can check a box indicating that he or she would like to reuse National Extended Time.
If the student is approved for Special Testing, the school test coordinator will review the accommodations that were approved and make arrangements for testing. If the student retakes the ACT on another test date, he or she must notify the school test coordinator after registration. The test coordinator then corresponds with ACT via TAA to implement the Special Testing accommodations.
If the student’s request for ACT accommodations is denied, the student may work with their school’s test coordinator to submit a reconsideration request. This may involve submitting additional documentation or applying for different accommodations. Review of reconsideration requests may take up to 6 weeks.
How to Use Your ACT Accommodation on Test Day
For students with National Extended Time, the accommodation is noted on their registration ticket. Print out the registration ticket to bring on test day, and the accommodations 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. Often these tests will be administered at the student’s school.
If you have any questions about the ACT accommodations request process, a Mindfish representative can walk you through the process. The earlier you submit your accommodations request, the earlier the accommodations can be worked into your student’s tutoring package.