Testing Accommodations for ACT and SAT

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My daughter’s evaluation results said,  she “may experience difficulty in retrieving phonological information from long-term or permanent memory, as well as difficulty executing a sequence of operations quickly and repeatedly.”

She has a Section 504 Plan. Despite her allowance for extended testing time she has been denied both by the ACT and the SAT testing organizations.

Review the ACT and SAT Requirements

The ACT requires a “professionally diagnosed condition, appropriate documentation on file at school, and extended time used on tests in school due to disability”. http://www.actstudent.org/regist/disab/chart.html

The SAT required documentation is listed on page 2 of this list of instructions for the application for accommodations form. http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/ssd/eligibility_form_instructions.pdf

The full information about applying for accommodations on the SAT is here. http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/ssd/application/apply

Print out the information from these websites and look it over.

Meet with the Guidance Counselor

If you do not readily see what is missing from your daughter’s application for accommodations, sit down with the guidance counselor (or the person at the school who monitors the 504 plans). See what the two of you come up with.

When you and your daughter meet with the school person bring:

  • your daughter’s evaluation
  • her 504 plan
  • information from the ACT/SAT websites

This will make it easier to follow along and make notes about what needs to happen.

Rights and Responsibilities

Read Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities


This publication from the Office for Civil Rights answers questions you and your daughter may have about obtaining accommodations at college.

More Resources

College: Continuing and Higher Education https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/college.index.htm

Quick Guide to Accommodations on the SAT for Students with Disabilities https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/college.SAT.accomm.htm

Loans, Scholarships, and Financial Aid https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/college.index.htm#finance


  1. I’m in desperate need of help.
    I’m an adult seeking for a way that I can be tested for the learning disability program IEP is that even possible?
    My education stopped when I was in the 6th grade. My parents didn’t advocate for me cause they weren’t aware of the special need on my education.
    I’ve tried many times to get my GED and haven’t been successful. The lack of education and complicated health hasn’t been easy for me to accomplish my goals. What else can I do?

  2. My daughter is on the college journey as a junior in high school. Her LD is well documented with the most recent neuropysche in Dec. 2015. The key is for students and parents to carefully research and advocate. Self advocacy for the student is key. Documentation for colleges is very specific. Talk to the college’s disability support services. Some colleges ONLY offer reasonable accommodations within the law while others have full-time dedicated staff, computer labs, assistive technology departments, faculty training, etc. The research and college visits are worth the time and effort. Some colleges do charge extra fees for the extra services. Some state schools have a lot of extra services and faculty training with no fees.

    • I want to add that I just contacted a college today (small liberal arts) and the staff member told me that they did not have a dedicated disability services office or officer and worse each college department is responsible for accommodations. She was very apologetic as she understood that such students need much more and worse, there are inconsistencies in such services at each college. Such is a warning to research this topic more on Wrightslaw and talk 1-1 with these colleges during the search process. The websites are very revealing as well as those 1-1 conversations. At the end of the day, it is about the best “fit” and students must move towards independence and strong self advocacy.

  3. Accommodations for outside tests are not always approved just by school. Testing agencies, College Board, etc. must be notified to approve and provide some accommodations and it takes time. Even SOL accommodation processes should be started months in advance. Ideally note needs & WHO will assure it happen in 504/IEP plan. My daughter was honor student w/ a vision issue. 504 said no online tests.School did not request large print PSAT in time, so she took online test & did poorly. Part of my job is teaching her to self advocate professionally & respectfully. She had SOLs on large print paper, but principal denied her geometry tools because “other students don’t have them.” (ignoring that other students had digital tools online) Daughter politely demanded a proctor. Proctor refused to start until tools provided. Confirm everything early!

  4. My son’s Iep clearly states he is to always have a one on one aide with him in view and near him. He got out of not just the classroom but out of the school building unnoticed by his aide and 4 other adults. I wasn’t called for half an hour. He has no awareness of danger and ran across parking lots and busy streets to be found about 50 feet of a freezing current field river which he surely would have jumped into if not found in the nick of time.

    What do I do with this? How could this have happened and how do I prevent it from happening again. I caught them lying to cover their butts too. They admit negligence at least to me.

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