Students may fall behind in school for a variety of reasons. When these problems are due to a learning disability, developmental delay, or other significant cognitive or emotional difficulties they may qualify for accommodations in school and on standardized testing. In the school system, students can receive accommodations through either an individualized education plan (IEP) or a 504 plan.
A 504 plan is a simple plan that can be agreed upon during a meeting between parents and teachers. The 504 plan does not state explicit goals for the child, but it can provide behavioral modifications and/or supports within the classroom.
An IEP is a more specific and formal document for students who qualify for special education services. An IEP is based on a formal evaluation process and lists explicit, measurable goals for the student. The IEP describes an individualized education plan for the student, which can include one-on-one tutoring, special educations classes, testing accommodations, etc. The IEP is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that the goals that have been set and the interventions and/or accommodations that have been recommended continue to be appropriate for the student.
In order to receive accommodations on standardized testing, a comprehensive evaluation such as a neuropsychological evaluation, must be completed and demonstrate areas of cognitive functioning and/or academic achievement that are significantly below the performance of the child’s peers.
While your child may have been assessed by the school system, one of the strengths of a neuropsychological evaluation is the ability to objectively measure a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The information gathered through a neuropsychological evaluation can provide empirical support for the need for accommodations. The information about a student’s strengths and weaknesses provided by a neuropsychological evaluation can be used to create an effective treatment plan to be implemented in a student’s IEP or 504 plan.
A neuropsychological evaluation begins with a thorough clinical interview that reviews developmental history, medical history, academic history, family history, and current situation. In addition, the evaluation includes neuropsychological testing that addresses general cognitive abilities, attention, memory, learning, decision-making and problem-solving, and academic achievement. Finally, the evaluation may also include the completion of rating scales by the child, family members, or teachers.
The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized test required by most colleges and universities in the United States as part of the admissions process. If you have a disability and need accommodations on the SAT, the process can be done by the following steps:
- Register with the College Board's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Coordinator: Contact the College Board's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Coordinator to register and request accommodations. You will need to provide documentation of your disability and the specific accommodations you are requesting.
- Complete the SSD Accommodations Request Form: After registering with the SSD Coordinator, you will need to complete the SSD Accommodations Request Form. This form can be found on the College Board website and should be completed as soon as possible to allow enough time for the review process.
- Submit the required documentation: Along with the SSD Accommodations Request Form, you will need to submit documentation of your disability and the specific accommodations you are requesting. This documentation should be from a qualified professional, such as a physician, psychologist, or learning specialist, and should be current and specific to the accommodations requested.
- Wait for the review process: The review process can take several weeks, so it's important to submit the request and required documentation as soon as possible. The College Board will review your request and determine whether the accommodations you are requesting are reasonable and necessary.
- Schedule your test: Once your accommodations have been approved, you will be able to schedule your test. Be sure to indicate that you need accommodations when you schedule your test, and ensure that the accommodations you requested will be provided on the day of the exam.
It's important to note that the SAT offers a wide range of accommodations such as extended testing time, additional breaks, or the use of assistive technology, and the process may vary depending on the specific test center. Accommodations are not guaranteed and the College Board has the right to deny a request if they determine it is not reasonable or necessary.
In conclusion, if you have a disability and need accommodations on the SAT, you need to register with the College Board's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Coordinator, complete the SSD Accommodations Request Form, submit the required documentation, wait for the review process, and schedule your test. The process may take some time, so it's important to plan ahead and allow enough time for the review process. Make sure to indicate that you need accommodations when you schedule your test, and ensure that the accommodations you requested will be provided on the day of the exam.