It’s Time for New Rules for College Entrance Exams
The Department of Justice just made it easier for students with accommodations to take standardized tests.
Many teens make preparations to go to college toward the end of their high school years. They fill out applications, visit schools, and take entrance exams. For some students, especially those with ADHD and learning disabilities, these standardized tests, such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT, can prevent them from getting into the school of their choice.
During high school, many of these students received accommodations, including extra time to complete tests or taking the test in a resource room or library to minimize distractions. While these accommodations are available during the standardized entrance exams, it is hard for some parents to get approval for the accommodations, or the approval doesn’t arrive in time. The Department of Justice just fixed all that.
The new rules are meant to make it easier to receive accommodations and to limit the documentation needed for accommodations to be approved. These rules cover the PSAT, SAT, and ACT, as well as entrance exams for professional schools (LSAT, MCAT), graduate schools (GRE, GMAT), licensing exams for trade schools, and high school equivalency exams (GED). Some of the highlights of the new rules include:
• A student who received accommodations on similar standardized and high-stakes tests should generally receive the same accommodations for additional tests. Documentation of previous accommodations should be sufficient.
• Documentation should be limited to what is needed to determine diagnosis and the need for accommodations. Recommendations from medical professionals, proof of previous accommodations, and observations of educators are some of the accepted documents.
• Students who receive testing accommodations in school based on an IEP or Section 504 Plan should generally receive the same accommodations for standardized and high-stakes tests. If a student received these accommodations in a private school, without an IEP or Section 504, he or she should generally receive the same accommodations.
• Students who perform well academically should still be provided the needed accommodations. High grades should not prevent a student from receiving accommodations. Those students who received informal accommodations should not be considered ineligible for testing accommodations.
• Test results should not indicate that a student was given accommodations or in any way indicate the student has a disability.
In addition, the Department of Justice stated that testing entities should provide timely responses to requests for accommodations. Timely responses include allowing the student time to sign up and prepare for the test and providing enough time for the student to pass along any additional documentation.
Updated on September 26, 2017