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ACT to Streamline Accommodations Process



Imagine a student with a motor impairment. He has limited use of his dominant arm and he can’t get a firm grip on his pencil.
 
He’s also got a big test coming up, the kind where you use a Number 2 pencil to indicate the correct answers.
 
The student is well prepared academically, but, try as he might, he cannot completely fill in the ovals as is required for scoring.
 
Should he fail the test simply because his disability prevents him from showing what he knows?
 
Of course not, which is why he should request, and receive, an appropriate accommodation—for example, one that allows him to circle his answers in the test book, and then have a monitored “scribe” transfer those responses to his answer document for scoring.
 
In addition to conditions that are readily apparent, some disabilities may not be visible from the outside. For instance, an inability to maintain attention—while serious—does not affect the underlying capacity to calculate the correct solution to a math problem. It may, however, require an accommodation.
 
At ACT, we want students to show what they know. That is why for decades we have allowed appropriate accommodations for students with demonstrated disabilities.
 
We also want to minimize the burden on students and families applying for accommodations while ensuring the integrity of the testing experience. To that end we are pleased to announce several enhancements to our accommodations systems that will streamline the application process.
 
The Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) system will create the following opportunities:
  • All students will now be able to register online to take the ACT® test at act.org.
  • There will be a uniform experience for students seeking accommodations.
  • There will be one online form to fill out.
  • The application process will require minimal (but sufficient) documentation.
  • For most students there will be no requirement for additional requests or reviews, if the disabilities and accommodations are included in their approved IEP/504 plans.
  • The information and documentation collected can be used to secure accommodations for all future National test dates.
 
ACT’s new TAA system will become operational for students testing in fall 2016 and beyond.
 
Nothing eliminates the challenges associated with disabilities, but we are pleased to take these important steps that will make it simpler for all students to show what they know—which is the larger point of the assessment process.

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