The new school year is in full swing which means that high school students will be preparing for various College Board tests. With regard to students with disabilities, it’s important for parents to be knowledgeable about the process in which your son or daughter must follow in order to apply for accommodations on the College Board Tests. According to www.collegeboard.com, in order for a student to receive accommodations on tests, they must be approved by the College Board Services for Students with Disabilities in advance. If accommodations are used without prior approval the tests scores will not be valid. Another important fact is that even if a student has been receiving accommodations through an IEP or 504 plan, they do not automatically qualify for assistance on their College Board Tests. The College Board has laid out specific instructions for students regarding eligibility, application and documentation requirements.
The College Board offers 2 different ways a student can be found eligible for accommodations on tests:
1.) School Verification-The SSD Coordinator verifies that the student meets the College Board’s criteria and that the documentation meets the Guidelines for Documentation. Note that some documentation requests cannot be verified by schools.
2.) Documentation Review-The College Board reviews a student’s disability documentation to determine if it meets the criteria and guidelines. Students may also directly request that the College Board SSD office make the eligibility determination.
Most students apply with the help of their school, parents or guardians are required to complete a consent form; however, parent’s can apply directly to the College Board if the school is unwilling to help. For some student’s, additional documentation is required for the Board to make a determination on eligibility. If the student is applying directly to the College Board without the assistance of their school, Documentation review is required. It’s important to apply early because the review process can take approximately 7 weeks from the time they receive all the necessary paper work.
There are 7 requirements which need to present in the documentation the student provides to the College Board:
1.) State the specific disability, as diagnosed
2.) Be current, the evaluations and tests should have taken place in the past 5 years
3.) Provide relevant educational, developmental and medical history
4.) Describe the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnoses, include test results and subtest (standard and scaled scores)
5.) Describe functional limitations, explain how the disability impacts the student in daily life and on tests
6.) Describe specific accommodations being requested for the College Board tests
7.) Proof of professional credentials of the evaluator of each test
After submitting all the necessary documentation, the student should receive notification of whether eligibility has been approved. The school will also be notified of the College Board’s decision. If approved, included in the letter will be an SSD Eligibility Code listed for the student. If a student is taking the SAT, they must bring the Eligibility letter along with the Code to the test. If the student is taking AP exam or PSAT/NMSQT, the school must be notified that accommodations have been approved so that they can make arrangements for any appropriate materials necessary.
I hope this information is helpful to parent’s who have children preparing to take the College Board exams. For more detailed information on this subject, please check out the Services for Students with Disabilities website.