Accommodations for Testing

Accommodations are nothing to be ashamed of. They are meant to make the SAT more accurate for each individual that is assessed. Since the SAT is one of the most important evaluations considered by colleges when applying for admission, it is critical that each test-taker gets a fair opportunity to perform to their full potential. In order to achieve this relative equality on this standardize test, students must advocate for themselves by simulating the environment that allows for the best possible performance. For some people, this simply means preparing and learning various strategies or ways of navigating the test, while for others it means utilizing accommodations that are available to them. It is essential to know that these accommodations are not handicaps in any way, rather they are highly valued by both the College Board test makers and colleges because they provide a better representation of prospective students academic capabilities.

The Most Common Accommodations (SAT)

Extended Time:
Students can be allowed extra time on the test. Test-takers can have time extended by 50% or time-and-a-half, 100% or double time or time can be unlimited. In other words, if a student is allowed double time, for example, then calculate each section length by simply doubling it. The complete test becomes much longer and is often split up between days. A test with double time ends up over seven hours long.

Additional Time Changes:
In addition to extended time, test-takers can have other changes applied to their test schedule. Tests can be spread over more than one day, especially when extended time has made the test very long. Extended breaks or more frequent breaks can also be provided. Finally, the time of day the test is administered can be changed.

Modified Environments:
most students who receive accommodations are given private rooms to take the test in. This is because each test is administered by a proctor who follows a particular time schedule. So, students with extended time will be with other students who are taking a test of the same length or they will be provided with a room of their own. Environment changes are meant to make the test site more conducive or allow for other accommodations, like test readers for example. In addition to private or semi-private rooms, changes include special lighting, special acoustics, rearranged seating and special test sites.

Test Readers:
For students who have difficulty with written instructions, the test can be read by a computer or a person. Depending on the processing issue and need for assistance, the test instructions can be read for each section or the entire test can be read.

Scribe/Answer Recorder:
Students who have difficulty with writing or filling in answers can have assistance in a variety of ways. Test-takers can use a computer to type the essay or answers, they can be allowed to record answers in the test booklet, highlight answers, use special large-print answer sheets or dictate answers.

Test Modifications:
The test itself can be changed to accommodate students specific needs. These modifications include larger print in the test booklet, less questions per page or colored paper.

***These accommodations are the most common; however they are not the only change available. The SAT test-makers know that every learner is different and that accommodations are meant to make the test more realistic for each individual taking it.

How to Get Accommodations

In order to be eligible for any accommodation, students must be officially evaluated and diagnosed with a learning disability. When a professional determines that a student has a learning disability, they recommend the appropriate accommodations for school and for standardized tests like to SAT. This evaluation can also be part of determining an Individualized Education Plan ( IEP), a long term plan to meet all of a student's needs. You may already have an idea about what accommodations you need, which is helpful to express to those who evaluate you, so that they can decided on specific recommendations. After being evaluated and getting an official recommendation, students need to apply for the specific accommodations in order to register them with the College Board.

If you HAVE school Accommodations: If you are using accommodations at school, then the application process should be pretty simple as you will already have documentation on file citing your needs. If you have accommodations, but have not used them at school for four months before applying for them, then its like not having them at all. If you have been using them at school for four months at school, then you should expect to receive similar accommodations after applying. However, it is important to remember that you must register well in advance.

If you DON'T HAVE school Accommodations: You might still be completely eligible for accommodations, but you will need to complete the entire eligibility review process, which needs to be started many months in advance. The deadline for all paper work is six weeks before the test. The direct number for the College Board Office of Services for Students with Disabilities is 609-771-7137.
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