Monday, April 06, 2009

Policy Change for the Better: Eligibility Requirements for Accommodations on the SAT

Until recently, college-bound students with learning difficulties faced a huge obstacle qualifying for accommodations for the SAT (much better for the ACT - so we generally recommended students choose that test over the SAT, all other issues being equal). The reason for this was an elaborate requirement for 3-part documentation (including recent IQ testing), but the good news now is that the latest posted eligibility guidelines have changed, are much more reasonable and in line with ACT requirements, and posted here. Many of the same tests are listed (e.g. WIAT-II, Nelson-Denny), but there seems to be a more flexible pathway for determining eligibility.

The change may have occurred because the passage of the ADA Amendments Act late last year. The ADA Amendments Act overrides some narrowly written Supreme Court decisions that put undue burdens on people with learning or other disabilities to prove their need for accommodation.

The ADA Amendments Act is also likely to affect several court cases regarding students with disabilities. For example the case of Jenkins vs. the National Board of Medical Examiners Although 3rd year medical student Kirk Jenkins had a nearly life-long diagnosis of dyslexia and appropriately received time accommodations for the ACT and MCAT, the National Board of Medical Examiners declined his request for accommodations. With the passage of the ADA Amendments Act though, the court decision is being returned to the court.

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