ACT Testing Accommodations: An Intro

Like most other standardized tests, the ACT offers an array of options for students who qualify for testing accommodations. In this post, I’ll take you through some of the most common accommodations on the ACT, such as extra time, and then we’ll finish by going over how to get accommodations on the ACT. Let’s dive in.

 

ACT Accommodation Options

 

The ACT emphasizes that it approves accommodations “based on the examinee’s diagnosis and needs,” so the specific accommodations available to you will vary depending on whether you’re applying because of a learning disability, an attention disorder, a physical handicap, or another condition. Some of the most common accommodation options include:

  • 50% time extension (“time and a half”)
  • 100% time extension (“double time”)
  • Multiple-day testing
  • Alternate test formats (such as Braille or audio)
  • Wheelchair-accessible room
  • Use of a computer for the Writing Test

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, and I always encourage students & parents to contact the ACT directly in order to get the most comprehensive picture of the various testing accommodations that may be available to them.

 

How to Apply for Extra Time (and Other Accommodations)

 

  1. The first step is to register for a test date. During the registration process, you’ll be prompted to provide some initial information about any accessibility needs that you have. Once the ACT has processed your test registration and accessibility request…
  2. You’ll receive information to pass along to the official at your school who is in charge of assisting with the application process for testing accommodations; this may be a guidance counselor, a learning specialist, or some other staff member. You’ll work with that school official to…
  3. Complete the rest of the process, which primarily entails providing documentation to the ACT. This documentation must demonstrate A) that your condition or disability is professionally diagnosed and limits “one or more major life activities” and B) that accommodations are “appropriate and reasonable for the documented disability.”

Step 3 is typically the biggest obstacle for students looking to get testing accommodations on the ACT, particularly because the ACT can be a bit hard-nosed in some cases regarding proof of a diagnosed condition. Acceptable documentation can include an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or a Section 504 plan, so students who already get accommodations in school (and therefore typically already have that documentation) tend to have an easier time getting ACT approval.

If you’re planning to apply for accommodations on the ACT, make sure you allow plenty of time to complete the process. This is especially true if you don’t currently get accommodations in school: you’ll need to get a formal diagnosis, submit the required paperwork to the ACT, and give them time to make a decision before your test date. Certain disabilities require accommodations that can’t be provided at a standard test center, so you may need to set up a separate test date at a special testing site that is equipped to meet those needs. Finally, you also want to make sure that you leave enough of a time cushion for an appeal. If the ACT denies your application for accommodations, you may be able to reapply with additional documentation, so don’t limit your options by cutting it too close to the test date!

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That wraps up our overview of ACT testing accommodations. The best way to get more information about how to get extra time or other accommodations on the ACT is by contacting the ACT directly, or by consulting with the official at your school in charge of the application process. If you’re looking for support with any other aspect of the test, head over to Inspirica’s ACT headquarters. We offer a diverse range of prep options to fit a ton of different timelines and budgets, and our squad of test gurus would love to help you crush the ACT.

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