A lot is riding on the ACT, especially for homeschoolers where the test can often receive more weight than your GPA. Yet for students with special needs, there is an additional challenge of getting accommodations for the ACT without the assistance of a traditional guidance counselor. Here are the steps you need to go through:
You will need a valid, current Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan (504 Plan), or documentation that specifies a "professionally diagnosed physical or mental impairment that substanially limits one or more major life activities" and "requests allowable accomodations that are appropriate and reasonable for the documented disability" (from ACT guidelines, see here for full text).
If you do NOT have an IEP or 504 you will need to submit the ACT Exceptions Statement Form.
Accommodations are also typically provided if a student has past IEP or Section 504 Plan, even if expired, especially if the student has a history of receiving accommodations on similar exams.
Usually, you would think of working out arrangements first, but on the ACT the process actually requires you to register for the test first, then apply for accommodations.
You need to register for the ACT and pay the registration fee. You can find my post on how to register for the test here.
The online registration will ask you to indicate your accommodations needs. When signing up, you will either choose national or special testing. The ACT has a diagram comparing the two here.
National Testing: Accommodations can be provided at a test center, such as one and one-half time, extra breaks, wheelchair access, large print, a writer/scribe to help with recording responses, an ASL interpreter, or translation materials.
Special Testing: Accommodations can NOT be provided by a typical testing center, such as double or triple time, alternate test formats, a scribe to record answers, or a computer for the writing essay.
NOTE: After you have registered, ACT will email you instructions to work with your school to submit an accommodations request, but that email will NOT apply to homeschool students and you do not need to forward to anyone.
While not required, ACT has indicated that supplying an exceptions letter can increase the chances of the accommodations being approved. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has a great sample letter that you can use as a template here.
Again, while not required, ACT has indicated that this will help your chances. The form can be filled out by someone who can attest to your student's needs. People who could complete the form would include you the parent, a co-op or tutorial teacher, a tutor, music or art teacher, a teacher from church or a sports coach.
The ACT has a Teacher Survey Form here.
Submit the forms above and required documentation to [email protected]. ACT encourages email submissions for the fastest response. You can also contact their accommodations center at 319.337.1332.
Looking for more resources to help you prepare for the ACT? Check out our FREE 10-page ACT Prep Guide here, or our full Online ACT Prep Course here!
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