College Board Streamlines Process for Requesting Test Accommodations

December 12, 2016

In a recent press release, the College Board announced changes to the process for students with disabilities who request testing accommodations. These changes improve alignment with the testing accommodations provisions of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) final regulations. Beginning January 1, 2017, the majority of students—who are approved for and who are using testing accommodations at their school through a current individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan—will have those same accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT®, PSAT™10, PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT Subject Tests™, and AP® Exams. ASHA has actively lobbied both the College Board and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on this issue since 2010.

Furthermore, English language learners (ELL) will also receive support when taking the SAT. Effective January 1, 2017, ELL students who take a state-funded SAT during the school day will have access to testing instructions in several native languages and will have access to approved word-to-word bilingual glossaries. In Fall 2017, ELL students who take a state-funded SAT during the school day can also receive extended testing time (up to time and a half) and the opportunity to test in an environment with reduced distractions.

ASHA has lobbied the DOJ for improved access to these high-stakes tests for students with disabilities, particularly for students with communication disabilities. ASHA members and parents have reported that testing companies deny requests for accommodations from students with communication disabilities even though these students have existing IEPs and documentation. This simplification of policy is good news for students with disabilities, and we look forward to other testing entities taking similar steps toward providing simpler, easier access to their high-stakes tests. 


On September 15, 2010, the DOJ published revised final regulations, which implemented the ADA Title III (Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities) [PDF]. Among other things, the rules contained provisions on examinations and courses that address testing accommodations for individuals with disabilities provided by private entities. DOJ followed up with a technical assistance resource on testing accommodations under the ADA for individuals with disabilities who take standardized exams and other high-stakes tests. 


For more information, see the College Board's press release, or contact Catherine D. Clarke, ASHA's director of education and regulatory advocacy, at or by phone at 800-498-2071, ext. 5611.


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