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The Latest Data on Testing Accommodations

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), standardized testing companies (like the ACT, Inc. and the College Board) must grant accommodations to students with qualifying disabilities. Recently, the Government Accountability Office, GAO, did a review to see how the testing companies are doing.¹ We’ve dug through the report and here are the big takeaways:

1. The percentage of accommodation granted varies – a lot.

Across the five testing companies with available data, 86 percent of individuals received all of their requested accommodations. Among individual testing companies, this rate varied substantially, ranging from 39 percent at one unspecified company to 98 percent at another company.

2. Extra time is the most common accommodation.

Extra time accounted for 55 percent of both accommodations requested and granted.

  • Learning disabilities accounted for about 45 percent of both accommodations requested and granted.
  • Nearly a quarter of accommodations requested and granted were for individuals with ADHD.
3. Certain accommodations requests now receive higher scrutiny.

Certain requests, like requests to test at an alternative site far from the individual’s residence, now face increased scrutiny after the 2019 “Varsity Blues” admissions scandal.

4. The high costs of disability evaluations are an impediment.

Representatives from three organizations said the costs for disability evaluations can be an impediment for individuals who do not have a current record of their condition. 

  • Evaluation costs cited by representatives from two disability advocacy organizations ranged from $2,000 to $7,000.
  • Individuals who attend schools with fewer resources may be less likely to be identified as having a disability.

Supporting a student who learns differently can be like solving a puzzle, and accommodations are just one piece! Join Premium Tutor Jenna Berk for LD/ADHD/2e: How to Support Students who Learn Differently for tried and true tips.

¹Their conclusions are based on data from six testing companies for the calendar years 2019 and 2020. The audit only includes the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and will not account for the major changes coming to the SAT later this year.

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