For parents of children with disabilities, requesting accommodations for standardized testing is something they know they will have to do. However, that doesn’t make the process any less intense or confusing.
Start by reading this article—Taking the ACT with Disabilities—in our ACT Free Help Area. It will give you a great starting point for understanding how the ACT accommodations request process works, and what you need to do.
Deciding what kind of accommodations your child will require is an important second step. The ACT has different procedures depending on which types of accommodations you will require.
- If your child normally uses up to time-and-a-half for tests in school, can use a regular type (10-point) or large type (18-point) test booklet, and will test at a test center in the U.S., U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, or Canada, you need to apply for Extended Time National Testing.
- If your child normally uses more than time-and-a-half for tests (or uses extra time only on writing tests), requires testing over multiple days due to the nature of the disability, normally uses alternate test formats such as Braille, cassettes, audio DVDs, or a reader, or a scribe/computer for essays, or needs extended time or alternate formats and will test outside the U.S. or Canada, you need to apply for Special Testing.
To see how each type of testing differs and what you need to complete and submit for each, please see this chart on the ACT website.
The forms and documentation required to request the different types of testing will vary; make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions in order to ensure that your request is handled in a timely manner. However, although the requirements for each request will be different, they all require that your child’s disability be a professionally diagnosed condition, that you have appropriate disability/accommodation documentation on file at their school, and that extended time used on tests in school due to disability.
The ACT requires the documentation of your disability to be done by “a qualified professional whose credentials are appropriate to the disability,” and also requires that the disability have been “diagnosed or reconfirmed by a qualified professional within the 3 academic years prior to the date of the request.” In addition, “applicants are asked to submit information regarding whether accommodations have previously been provided in an academic setting or on other standardized tests due to the disability” which, for the ACT, is usually a current Individual Education Plan (IEP), or a Section 504 Plan.
In order to ensure that your child’s request is processed promptly, make sure complete all required forms, submit all necessary supporting documentation, and mail everything (paper copies are required) to the appropriate addresses (which vary depending on the accommodations requested; make sure to double-check that you are sending your application to the correct one!).
Questions about ACT Extended Time National Testing can be directed to (319) 337-1851. Questions about ACT Special Testing can be directed to (319) 337-1332.