PSAT, SAT and ACT Testing Accommodations and Inattentive ADHD

I recently received a question from a reader about standardized test and the accommodations available for students with Inattentive ADHD. The testing providers are each a little different with regards to what they require to document an accommodation need.

Both major testing companies require documentation that the Inattentive ADHD diagnosis was made using an accepted diagnostic measure or diagnostic test and that this testing be no older than five years from the date of the standardized test. The basic documentation required by the SAT/PSAT College Board company is included at the bottom of this post.

Not every child with a diagnosis of ADHD-PI will need accommodations and some kids will require accommodations for problems unrelated, but co-existing, to their ADHD. Kids with Inattentive ADHD and visual convergence issues may need to be allowed to not "bubble-in" responses. These kids will write the letter of the correct answer next to each question. Kids with Dysgraphia and ADHD-PI may need a scribe to write their essay.

The testing companies generally will work with the school and the parents to provide the necessary accommodations once the diagnosis has been established and the process for applying for these accommodations can be found at the testing company websites.  For the PSAT and the SAT, the information is at this site and for the ACT, the accommodation information can be found at this site.

Some kids will, as I mentioned before, may not need special accommodations.  These students may simply need to practice taking many sample SAT or ACT exams to familiarize themselves with the process. All test takers should take as many PSAT, SAT and ACT practice tests as possible. Time saving tips need to be mastered and practice tests help with this.

Having a watch available during test taking and watching the time is necessary for many teenagers with ADHD as their sense of time passage is impaired. General test taking tips for the SAT can be found at this site and more comprehensive tricks and tips for taking standardized test can be found at this site.  As an example, one time saving tip involves, on the reading comprehension part of the exam, reading the questions first and then reading the passage quickly rather than reading the paragraph, which is to be comprehended, word for word. 

If you have a middle school child, as I now do, you may want to consider starting the process of getting the documentation that you need together so that if you need to ask the College Board or the ACT for accommodations for your child, all your ducks are in a row.

Keep me posted and let me know how you are doing and if you have found any other information that may help our readers with standardized testing.  Thanks for visiting the Primarily Inattentive ADD Forum page and for being loyal visitors to this website!!

College Board SAT Basic requirements for disability documentation

The College Board Guidelines for Documentation lists the information that it considers fundamental in determining eligibility. Without the information, it is extremely difficult to determine if a student has a disability that requires accommodations, and whether specific accommodations meet a student's needs on our tests.
Seven guidelines for documentation

Documentation must:

1. State the specific disability, as diagnosed. Diagnosis should be made by a person with appropriate professional credentials, should be specific, and, when appropriate, should relate the disability to the applicable professional standards, for example, DSM-IV.

2. Be current. In most cases, the evaluation and diagnostic testing should have taken place within five years of the request for accommodations. For psychiatric disabilities, an annual evaluation update must be within 12 months of the request for accommodations. For visual disabilities, documentation should be within two years, and for physical/medical, an update must be within one year from the time of the request.

3. Provide relevant educational, developmental, and medical history.

4. Describe the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis. Include test results with subtest scores (standard or scaled scores) for all tests. See Documenting Specific Disabilities for a listing of frequently used tests and what they measure.

5. Describe the functional limitations. Explain how the disability impacts the student’s daily functioning and ability to participate in the test.

6. Describe the specific accommodations being requested on College Board tests, including the amount of extended time required or the maximum amount of time the student can be tested in a day, if applicable. State why the disability qualifies the student for such accommodations on standardized tests.

7. Establish the professional credentials of the evaluator (for example, licensure; certification; area of specialization).

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