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Advocacy Resources Bridges Blog Educational Resources Series: Start Now, August 2021

Start Now: Testing Accommodations for College Board Tests (PSAT®, SAT®, AP®, CLEP®, Accuplacer®)

Start Now: Find out how to get started with requesting accommodations for College Board exams, including the PSAT®, SAT®, AP®, and CLEP®, and Accuplacer®

What Kinds of Accommodations May I Request?

Students may request accommodations from the College Board to make the testing experience accessible to them. Examples of potential accommodation requests include braille tests, tactile graphics, the use of a scribe, accessible assistive technology, and extended time. Read more about the types of requested accommodations here.

How Do I Request Accommodations?

Most students request accommodations through their Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator. Usually, SSD coordinators are special education staff or guidance counselors. These individuals have access to a portal on the College Board’s website that allows them to submit accommodations requests on the student’s behalf. The SSD coordinator will have the student’s parent or guardian fill out the parent/guardian consent form (or the student will fill it out themselves if the individual is 18 years or older). The SSD coordinator will then enter details about the student’s disability as well as the accommodations needed/requested. The SSD will also provide supporting documentation, such as the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. The online portal will alert the SSD coordinator if any additional documentation is needed and will provide the family with information about the status of the accommodations request. Read more about requesting accommodations with your SSD coordinator here.

May I Submit an Accommodations Request Without the SSD Coordinator?

If a student is homeschooled, the school does not have an SSD coordinator, or the family chooses to request accommodations outside of the school, they may elect to submit an accommodations request independent from the school and without the assistance of the SSD coordinator. These requests cannot be processed online, must be conducted through mail or fax, and always require additional documentation. Documentation may involve doctors’ notes which specify the medical need for a particular accommodation, teachers’ surveys, or other documents. Read more about submitting accommodations independent from the school here.

When Do I Submit My Accommodations Request?

Whether you are submitting through the school or separately, it can take up to seven weeks to process an accommodations request, so almost all of the accommodations request deadlines are roughly two months before the test date. That said, a good rule of thumb is, the earlier, the better! This is especially true if you need an alternative formatted test, such as hard copy braille. View all of the 2021 and 2022 testing dates and the corresponding accommodations request deadlines at this link.

What about CLEP® and Accuplacer® exams?

  • CLEP® exams are similar to AP® exams and scores can earn college credit at many schools.
  • Accuplacer® exams are used by many community colleges and four-year colleges and universities to determine placement in entry-level classes in English, writing, science, and mathematics.
  • The College Board does not administer either the CLEP® exam or the Accuplacer® exam. For this reason, SSD approval is not required, but the student will need to communicate with the entity administering the exam to secure needed accommodations. Read more about accommodations on CLEP® and Accuplacer® exams here.

Additional Tips for Requesting Accommodations

  •  When requesting the use of accessible assistive technology, be as specific as possible in the accommodations request. Each software or device must be requested separately. Be sure to include exact product names and any software version numbers.
  • Remember that requesting accommodations does not also register a student for the test in question. Once accommodations are approved, students will be given an accommodations eligibility code, which must be entered when registering for the test.
  • Be sure to contact the test center or school before the testing date to clarify that the student will be receiving accommodations. If the student will be testing on a date separate from the specified test date, be sure to clarify this as well.
  • If a student is taking the CLEP® exam, this exam is not administered through the College Board and thus SSD approval is not required. Read more about CLEP® exams here.

* Acronyms Used

AP® = Advanced Placement®

CLEP® = College-Level Examination Program®

PSAT® = Preliminary SAT®

SAT® = Nothing anymore, used to stand for “Scholastic Aptitude Test”

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Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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