Section 504 and IEP accommodations are not automatically given to students on the PSAT, SAT, AP and ACT exams. These are nationally-normed exams that are governed by private, not-for-profit entities. Some students with documented disabilities may be eligible for accommodations on these exams. Prior to receiving accommodations, requests for accommodations must be approved through the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office of either College Board or ACT.
The PSAT, SAT, SAT subject tests, and AP exams are governed by College Board. Once approved for accommodations through College Board, the approved accommodations will apply to all of these tests and remain in effect until one year after high school graduation.
The ACT is a separate company and test. ACT requires that a student register for an exam before submitting an application for accommodations; however the process is much easier on subsequent tests.
In general, students approved for SSD testing accommodations meet the criteria below:
- Student has a documented disability.
- Participation in the exam is impacted.
- Requested accommodations are needed.
- Requested accommodations are received on local school tests.
Facts to Consider
- Not all students with disabilities require accommodations. Some students with disabilities who receive accommodations in school may not require accommodations on College Board/ACT exams.
- The inability to finish a College Board/ACT exam in the allotted time does not equate to the student having a disability nor would that student require accommodations.
- The SSD review process is thorough. Documentation must support both the existence of a disability and the need for the requested accommodations.
- Some accommodations are administered differently on College Board/ACT exams than they are at schools. Therefore, students who do not regularly use accommodations sometimes prefer not to request them. For example:
- Readers or scribes require a one-to-one setting.
- Students with extended time must stay the entire allotted time even if a section is completed early.
- No partial-oral administration is available; the entire test is read to the student (by a person or recording.)
- College Board and ACT are outside, not-for-profit companies whose exams are not considered part of a student’s education as provided by a public school district. This means that a Section 504 or ARD committee cannot add an accommodation to a student’s plan only for the purposes of use on the College Board/ACT exam if the accommodation is not appropriate for the student in the classroom on a regular and routine basis.
All reasonable requests for accommodations needed by students with documented disabilities are considered, however approval tends to be more strict than what is common in the classroom. Accommodations in presentation, responding, timing/scheduling, and setting are available as appropriate. Available accommodations are not limited to those listed. Most commonly requested accommodations include:
Requirements vary per disability. In order for LISD to file an accommodation request on a student’s behalf, we ask that the student has a Section 504 Plan or Special Education IEP with the requested accommodation(s) in place, usually for a minimum of 4 months. Further information can be found on the SSD websites.
College Board will mail or email a decision letter to the student and the campus explaining the approved accommodations and/or the reasons for denial. ACT will send their decision notice to the campus, who will then communicate with the student.
Please keep in mind that the decision is made solely by College Board/ACT, not Leander ISD.
ACT requires that accommodations requests accompany registration for a specific administration of the exam. College Board requests can be sent in at any time during the year whether or not an exam is scheduled for the student. Keep in mind that once you return an application to the school, the coordinator must then apply on your behalf. We ask that the applications are received by the school at least one to two weeks before the posted deadlines.
Ready to Apply?
If you have read this information and feel accommodation(s) are appropriate for your student, please fill out the College Board and/or ACT consent form linked below AND the LISD Non-School Testing Accommodations Request. Both completed/signed forms should be returned to the campus 504 Coordinator or Special Education Team Lead.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When are these tests taken?
- PSAT 8/9 is taken in the fall of 8th and 9th grades
- PSAT/NMSQT is taken in the fall of 10th and 11th grades
- AP exams are taken by students in 9th – 12th grades enrolled in AP courses
Is there a different policy for PSAT 8/9?
Yes. Please refer to LISD Procedure for Accommodations on PSAT 8/9 for more information.
For LISD questions, please contact your campus 504 Coordinator or SPED Team Lead for assistance.