Can the School Deny Section 504 Accommodations in an AP Course?

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teen girl in school classOur daughter has Section 504 accommodations that include keyboarding for written work longer than 1-2 sentences.

The school says she can not use this accommodation in an AP course, because the College Board determines who is eligible for accommodations on the actual AP exam.

In fact, although my daughter has the prerequisites and is capable of AP work, the school recommends she not take the AP class because of the need for accommodations.

If your child has a Section 504 plan, the school needs to provide the accommodations in the plan – even in AP classes.

Did we misunderstand the question?

Section 504 ensures that a child with a disability has equal access to an education. Under a 504 Plan, your child may receive accommodations and modifications.

When a school develops a Section 504 plan for a student who needs accommodations, how is the College Board involved?

How does the College Board determine what accommodations a child with a disability should receive in a school class? It is unclear how the College Board can “prohibit” a student on a 504 plan from taking AP classes.

OCR says – “The practice of denying, on the basis of disability, a qualified student with a disability the opportunity to participate in an accelerated program violates both Section 504 and Title II.”

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-20071226.html

You’ll find this OCR Letter on the Wrightslaw 2-e page at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/2e.index.htm

The College Board does require prior approval of accommodations for a student taking SATs. http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/college.SAT.accomm.htm

Update: July 2017. The College Board simplified its request process for test accommodations. Most students who have testing accommodations at their school through an IEP or 504 Plan will have those same accommodations automatically approved.

Work with your school for documentation of a disability and specific timelines for submitting a request and required documentation. The College Board does allow a school to submit materials for students. Their website recommends that families take advantage of the SSD Online tool by working with their school.

But the College Board does not dictate a student’s 504 plan accommodations in public school.

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Issie

Our situation little different school guidance counselor NEVER SENT ANYTHING TO COLLEGE BOARDS for approval. I was just made aware college boards at testing school. ( when they stated that accommodations weren’t sent to them either. (Two different schools because my daughter is online student but AP testing has to be done at B n M school)

dcaa

You have to do the paperwork yourself to request the accommodations then you give it to the school to enter the paperwork electronically.

ASHLEY

also this has and is happening to my daughter. she is 8 years old and been having a hard few years now. after changing schools and getting additional help i am saddened to say i have learned she was miss behaving in her 504 class so the teacher then at that point assured my daughter that she was no longer allowed to come to her class….. then the next day my daughters home room teacher stated to my daughter that she was not allowed to return to the 504 class to get help. then at that point my daughter told the teacher that she needed to call me to let me know what was going on and the teacher yelled at her to the point of tears in the middle of the FULL classroom. what can i do please please help.i have a meeting Thursday and would love to some advice. thank you.

Marcus

The teacher cannot just kick your daughter out of class. That is outrageous!!! It sounds like your daughter has a 504 plan and I hope that the teacher knows that by removing her from class she is not following the plan.The homeroom teacher should not have embarrassed her like that. It is shocking to me what happens to students with disabilities in public schools. I do hope that you were able to prevail at your meeting.

Rick

My Son has a 504 agreement with the school that we discussed during the beginning of the year. However, We recently had a incident where 3 of the teachers are not following the agreement. What are my options and what can I do? I have tried talking to them and it continues.

Marcus

Rick,
Have you requested a 504 meeting because you can. i would email the principal along with the Special Education director outlining your concerns that the 504 plan is not being followed. The teachers are legally required to follow this plan in order for your son to receive FAPE. If you get no where with the meeting you can use your states dispute process or request mediation.You can also contact your state and parenting training center. They should have other resources available to you
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/

Lisa L

My son has an extended time accommodation for assignments of tests and quizzes however, the teacher is determining how long the ‘extended time’ is for and isn’t allowing him to turn in late homework assignments. What does ‘extended time’ legally provide as an accommodation? If he has this accommodation, can the teacher then tell him “No, you have had enough time/days to do that assignment?

Chuck

There is no federal definition on this, but a state, or district might. If the district/campus does not have a written policy/procedure on this, I suggest asking for a IEP meeting to define this term for your child.

Debbie

My sons time is set on his 504 for 50% extended time. With what I have gone through, if it’s not spelled out, it’s teachers choice. I am still having issues w/ him now in HS because teachers do not think they have to follow a 504 plan.

Jacob

I strongly recommend you go to https://www2.ed.gov/policy/landing.jhtml?src=image and reference the bottom left for accommodations and compliance. I also encourage you to be assertive in informing the school if their refusal to be in compliance with laws such as section 504, the ADA, etc. continues after more than three redemptory attempts. If you do want to report a school for failing to accommodate a student, you should note that filing a compliant is taken extremely seriously and it should be one of the last things you do get a resolution to your child’s needs. One should never falsify a compliant either as one should never fake a 911 call because it is a criminal offense. That being said don’t be afraid to file one if everything else fails.

Jacob

The (public or government funding recipient) school should help you and your son/daughter get the accommodations that she is afforded. Again, if the school doesn’t comply with the various anti-discrimination laws against students and you’ve had multiple 504 or IEP meetings with little progress (or have been denied access to a 504/IEP meeting, the parent should inform the school that (s)he will report the school to the Office of Civil Rights, the Department of Education, the Justice Department, hire an attorney and take all courses of action necessary to crack down on the school being out of compliance because the school is discriminating. I strongly recommend parents of students with learning disabilities to reference pacer.org for ensuring that students with disabilities are accommodated.

Jacob

Of course not. If a child has been diagnosed with a disability, visible or invisible, that impairs his or her ability to perform and execute the expectations of their teachers, the school must:
1. address the parents that their child’s needs are not being met and schedule a 504 or IEP meeting to address the needs of the student/child to better their performance and adhere to section 504 among other laws
2. adhere to all accommodations listed on any plans agreed upon between the school, the parents, and the student
3. have a special needs coordinator that works for the district and/or on the school’s campus
4. provide a copy of the student’s rights to the student’s parents
If school fails to comply after numerous attempts of remediation through various meetings and such, report to OCR

Pat

Can a high school deny a student extended time in an AP class for exams if the student only has a gifted IEP without a documented disability? The student has “extended time on exams” written into his IEP, but likely will be denied extended time on the AP test due to a lack of documented disability. Are gifted IEP’s legally binding under IDEA if the student does not have a disability?

Chuck

Under IDEA a student must have a disability. Your state parent training & information center will be aware of your state rules, & should be able to help you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

Shannon

Can a high school deny a student accommodations under his iep for a pre-ap level class? He is able to do the work and understand the course just needs some assistance that the other students in the class do not get – word bank during tests(this is given in the level classes). I am being told by his high school that they do not allow modifications to the curriculum of any kind within a pre-ap class.

chris

the school CAN deny a 504 student access to an advanced class if that student did not meet the criteria that ALL students are held to with accommodations.. So for example if the student was required to take a placement test for entry to the class, he/she would have had to meet the same standard as other students with accommodations on that test if stated in the 504 (extended time for example)

Laurie

My son’s school ensured that they requested extended time, per his 504, for the ACT, which reflects on *them*, but denied the AP class was eligible for accommodations. Now they are blaming us for not requesting *they* request extended time thru College Board-we only verbally requested they apply his 504 to his AP, but we did meet with them repeatedly. Are we screwed? My son only finished 41/55 questions because he thought he had the extra time and he was making sure he did them right! The parent advocates told us we need to file an OCR complaint.

Margaret

There is still a lot of ignorance at the high school level. My son (dyspraxia + high-functioning autism) was entirely in mainstream classes in high school and no modifications. Yet at least one teacher asked a the sophomore IEP meeting, “Can a kid with an IEP even take AP classes? Is that allowed?!?” So yeah… We still have work to do. 🙂

Laura

My child has a 504 plan. Her guidance counselor tried to persuade her not to take AP courses. My child is capable, had the prerequisites, and took several AP courses. In my opinion, I think the problem lies with a lack of understanding of the IDEA. I would highly recommend you contact the school district Head of Special Education. Request to be provided specific written documentation from the IDEA that “proves” your child cannot have accommodations in AP courses due to a 504 plan. That ought to get the ball rolling!
If your student needs AP testing accommodations, it is the responsibility of the site testing coordinator (usually this is someone at your child’s school) to submit the request for accommodations (via The College Board) on behalf of your student. You cannot complete this process, although you will have to sign a form giving permission for the school to do so. The College Board approved testing accommodations for my child less than a week after they were requested.

Vikki

Isn’t a 504 Plan ADA regulations? You might be leading them in the wrong direction. IDEA is for children with IEPs. You can have a child with an IEP, which is IDEA and ADA regs, but 504 Plans follow under ADA regs.

Laura

504 plans in a school setting are part of the IDEA. To read more about this: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

wasks

The process is that the parents have to fill out the paperwork and gather the documentation and give that to the school to submit to the College Board. Also people get confused but students with IEPs, 504s, and Child Study plans can get accommodations for the SAT and ACT.

M Schaefer

My son has a 504 plan. He takes AP classes and is allowed to use his accommodations in the classes. However for the AP exam and SAT or any college board exam, you have to have the college board accommodations in place. You have to submit to the college board for these accommodations. My son was able to get all of the accommodations that we requested. We did have to appeal after they only allowed 50% more time, he has 100% more time now. And he uses every minute. Our doctor submitted documentation that really helped. Plus I wrote a very detailed letter explaining his accommodation needs. Remember though when you are signing up for the AP exams you have to document that he has accommodations in place. We did not do that for his AP exam his sophomore year and he did not get to use his accommodations. I will never forget that again.

Laurie

Isn’t it the school’s responsibility to request the accommodation?

Lance M

The school does submit the paperwork but you should definitely follow up with them to be sure it gets done.

Alma

Our public school counselor made the request for accommodations from the CB the parent’s responsibility. He says it easier for parents. The district literally took two months as page by page of the electronic form was sent to us one at a time, and it missed the 7 week cutoff for the CB by a week, CB took 10 weeks. School AP coord. told us they would give him the extra time, proctor said they were not told-so no. SAT-we got a call that he was done at the same time as the students without accommodations – the scribe had not given him the extra time, and had told him to put his watch away. College board did not give us credit for the next test, saying it is the school we need to talk to. School said no even when they agreed they did not follow the accommodations. Enforcement seems impossible.

wsaksa

The parents have to provide the documentation. The school wouldn’t have all the info especially if you’ve done private testing at any point.

L Litzinger

There is no permission process at College Board to sign up for an AP course. My daughter born with a disability took 8 APs. She used her high school mods “dictation, extra time” (she has no use of her hands) on her PSAT, SAT, AP, even GRE tests. College Board stipulated that the person she dictates to must not be one of her teachers, so another high school provided their teachers.

College Board allows for you to use your current modifications on their exams, provided that your school counselor applies for the mods 3 months prior to signing up for a test, and on the counselor’s form, he/she must prove that your mods have been in your 504/IEP for over 6 months. So mods on the 504/IEP must have been in place for 9 months minimum, prior to the first test. Keep this in mind to be ready for the PSAT.

This process required by College Board means that a HS must be on your side for mods and for applying to College Board on your behalf. Occasionally, a school will weed out students via mid-term grades to have a good national AP ranking, so ask other parents about this.

I found the people at College Board to be easy to talk with in order to learn the process.

Linda

We had the same issue last year. Accommodations must be provided with or without the college board’s approval for class work. If your child wan’t to take the AP exam with accommodations those must be approved by the College Board. If your child is college bound, and it sounds like she is, then it is worth getting the accommodations in place since she will require College Board approval of accommodations on college entrance exams. Good luck!

Nancy L.

My child was not allowed in a magnet school because she needed resource for math. She had the GPA needed and made all As in the rest of her courses. It is too late for her now, but could she have received resource help in a magnet program?

Lorri

I have a child in AP classes with accommodations. Students do need the College Board to approve the accommodations, like computer usage. Otherwise, the student has to practice to take the test just like everyone else, without accommodations (say for the written portion). The teacher would be doing a disservice to the student to give them accommodations in class, because they wouldn’t be preparing them to pass the AP exam. But, with a need, the College Board does approve accommodations, so then the student can practice for the test with those specific accommodations, computer usage, more time, etc! Then, it’s not an issue.

Judith

I find it helpful to really think about what is an “accommodation”. We all use accommodations – some more frequently than others, depending on our varying needs and the situation. I can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, so I use stairs or an elevator to go from one floor to another. Stairs are an accommodation for my inability to fly. Some of us wear glasses to accommodate for poor vision. I have a very different perspective about accommodations and do not feel that it is a disservice to a student for a teacher to provide them any more than denying someone the use of their glasses presents a disservice. If a teacher is not providing what has been determined to be required for a student, irrespective of the class, they are in violation of the the student’s IEP or 504 Plan.

Sue

It sounds like the end of course AP test is the issue. The guidance department should carefully check what accommadations can be used on the test, and what documentation is needed. It sounds like they don’t want to do the work required for accommadations. They can’t deny her a seat because she has a disability!

Pilar

I believe we have established the fact that students can have accommodations.Please do not assume that counselors and other school officials will take the lead for CB SSD and other. They are not required to, because College Board advertises that parents should initiate the process. This may be offensive, but it is good practice of self-advocacy that students will need for college.