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Expert Q&A

How does a high school senior who is on a 504 plan obtain accommodations for the SAT or ACT?

My son is a high-school senior interested in attending one of our local colleges. He is currently on a 504 plan, with accommodations for reading, writing, note and test taking. He recently took his SAT test and didn’t score so well on the literary sections, as he wasn’t able to finish. I’m wondering if there is a special accommodation that carries over to the SAT or ACT, so he could have more time to process the test. He was diagnosed with ADHD at age 4, has been on and off IEPs throughout his school years. He was dropped from the IEP last year due to his progress and success in his studies. I fought hard to get him on the 504 plan in hopes to have the accommodations when in need. He struggled through school and most subjects all the way until last year, his junior year. Last year he put all his might into his studies, found success and loved it. Continuing his education is something he never showed interest in, as he didn’t think he could. His transcript right now is a 2.9%, which is brought down by his 1st two years in high school. He ended last year with a 3.6 and is heading in the same direction this year. How does the 504 plan transfer to higher education and do the accommodations for testing apply?

Thank you.

First, a child with disabilities may qualify for accommodations for the SAT and ACT, but this doesn’t happen automatically. Typically, the school applies for accommodations on behalf of those students who have IEPs or 504 plans, but if they don’t do this, the parent can do it. Your son can apply for accommodations on the SAT, and if granted, retake the exam with the accommodations. Typically, the accommodations on the SAT and/or ACT should parallel the accommodations the school has been providing, but this is ultimately up to the testing agency to decide. If they refuse a particular accommodation, each testing service has a procedure by which parents can appeal the denial of the requested accommodation. Both the ACT and SAT administrators are covered by the American with Disabilities Act and are required to provide reasonable accommodations for those students who are able to document the presence of a disability that impacts the ability to perform on the test and who require reasonable accommodations. Generally, the testing services require up -to-date evaluations documenting the disability, documenting that the child has an impairment in comparison to the general population and that the student requires accommodations. Generally, there needs to also be a history of disability and a history of special education or 504 eligibility, although this is not an absolute requirement.

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