Some Students Don’t Receive Needed Test Accommodations

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Disability Scoop reports that “too little is being done to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations on the SAT, ACT and other standardized tests, according to a new government report.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act requires test companies to provide accommodations like extra time or different formats, the Government Accountability Office found that many students with disabilities face significant barriers.

Students say test companies ask for too much documentation to prove their special needs. Many students were frustrated because the test companies refused to provide the accommodations that they received at school.

“For their part, testing companies told GAO investigators that they struggle to ensure that tests remain fair for all students while providing appropriate accommodations for those with legitimate needs.”

About 2 percent of test takers received accommodations based on diagnoses ranging from autism to learning disabilities, GAO found. A much larger proportion of Americans — at least 12 percent — have disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for enforcing ADA compliance in testing situations. DOJ considers individual complaints, an approach that the GAO report described as “inadequate.”

“Without a systematic approach to reviewing complaints that it receives, Justice cannot assure that all complaints are consistently considered and that it is effectively targeting its limited resources to the highest priority enforcement activities,” the report indicated.

The GAO report was requested by U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. After the report was  released in December, the Congressmen have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to take action.

“The current system of applying for and obtaining testing accommodations — and seemingly haphazard enforcement — are barriers to students with disabilities,” wrote Miller and Stark in a letter to Holder. “These barriers cause unnecessary delays to their careers and impose additional financial burdens on students who have already struggled and overcome challenges to reach this point.”

Hat tip to Disability Scoop who posted this article as  College Entrance Exams Run Afoul Of ADA Requirements, Report Finds

  1. It is sad that the students are not getting the help that they needing to be successful. I know that if I was part of the 12% with disabilities, I would want a fair chance at doing well on the test. I think if I had a disability, I would get a test accommodation advocate to help me.

  2. My son is 16 years old and has a profound hearing loss in his left ear. Also, he has ADHD without hyperactivity and a tendency to have anxiety. His IEP has always had a classification of Other Hearing Impaired. The ADHD is mentioned in a status comment. The ACT board denied my son the time and 1/2 testing accommodations. Now he cannot take the April 8 exam and he’s now scheduled for the June 10, 2017 exam. The ACT board requested updated documentation on his condition in order to determine if he will receive accommodations for the June exam. I had to go out of network to get an early enough appointment with a neurologist. The initial consult will cost $375. I don’t know how many visits it will take for the doctor to prepare the necessary documentation we will need. Who can I contact?

  3. After submitting proof of being disabled, medical records from learning disabilities in childhood and previous testing, in 2011 I went out for time extension on my GED math only. After 3 denials and a year long battle. I saw a physcologist who ran required testing and told me what I already knew. Was told with their strict guidlines I would only get approved with a diagnosis of ADHD. Why, I thought? I had accomodations as a child for short term memory loss. He said he didnt want to complicate the report by mentioning my memory retention issues or medical issues.There is less than two years before the GED changes and only 6 attempts, each time I study I have to relearn everything over because I cant retain the info. Its discouraging because you need your diploma for everything in life and im so close yet so far.

  4. The school not only pleads no money/ lack of resources (not adequately funded), they also claim standards pull rank. 2e kids have no rights in this mean-based standards environment, and are very heavily discriminated against. They receive no instructional strategies to enable them to succeed, in this entirely sequential, rote, test-heavy, language-based curriculum designed solely for one type of average sequential language-based learner. Cruel is the only word I have for what is being done to children currently.

  5. To Kathie – Did your school district fill out the request for accommodations to ACT? As part of our child’s transition plan, we have worked with our school district to prepare our child for the ACT, and ultimately for college. The district filled out all the paperwork and sent it in to ACT. We got all of the accommodations approved (read aloud, extended time, computer, calculator). Maybe your school district could help you. I hope this helps! I wish your daughter much luck in taking the ACT. Keep us posted!

  6. I just received a denial from ACT center for my daughter to receive additional time to take ACT tests and it is documented in her IEP that it is one of her accommodation. They approved for her to take the test on multiple days but not the additional time she needs. I suppose I will file a complaint but with little oversight and lack of accountability, it probably wont go very far. Ill let you know if it does.

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