scantronNew from the College Board: 

“Beginning January 1, 2017, the vast majority of students who are approved for and using testing accommodations at their school through a current Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan will have those same accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT®, PSAT10, PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT Subject Tests, and AP® Exams. Most private school students with a current, formal school-based plan that meets College Board criteria will also have their current accommodations automatically approved for College Board exams. This streamlined process builds on the College Board’s August 2016 expansion of testing accommodations that can be approved directly by schools without the need for additional documentation.

“Educators, students, and families have asked us to simplify our process, and we’ve listened,” said David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board. “The school staff knows their students best, and we want to cut down on the time and paperwork needed to submit a testing accommodations request.”

Under this new policy, school testing accommodation coordinators need to answer only two questions when submitting most requests for students: “Is the requested accommodation(s) in the student’s plan?” and “Has the student used the accommodation(s) for school testing?” If the answer is yes to both questions, eligible students can be approved to receive most accommodations on College Board exams. This new process is expected to reduce the approval time for an overwhelming majority of accommodation requests.”

The statement continues:

“These changes build on the College Board’s recent work to level the playing field for students, including offering students 43% more time per question on the SAT than on the ACT and giving all students access to free, personalized Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy® so they can feel confident and prepared on test day.”

For English Language Learners:

“Effective January 1, 2017, ELL students taking a state-funded SAT during the school day will have access to testing instructions in several native languages and approved word-to-word bilingual glossaries. In the fall of 2017, ELL students taking a state-funded SAT during the school day can also receive extended testing time (up to time and a half) and the opportunity to test in an environment with reduced distractions.

“We welcome these changes. They are the right thing to do to improve access to the SAT and remove barriers for English language learners and students with disabilities,” said Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna R. Wentzell. “We have been working with the College Board over the past year on the issue of testing accommodations, and we applaud them for taking steps to make the SAT more accessible to all students.”

The College Board expects to announce in the near future an expansion of these ELL testing supports to students taking the SAT in all states.”

This is a long overdue policy change by the College Board, a change that will hopefully level the playing field for college-bound students with dyslexia. This new policy will make it even more essential that appropriate accommodations are documented in individuals’ school systems. There are many challenges that will continue to affect dyslexic students – among them, the fact that the ACT (different organization from the College Board) has NOT enacted a similar policy, dyscalculia-related issues (‘calculator-free’ section of the SAT, almost non-existent recognition of dyscalculia in public schools), access of most students to appropriate comprehensive diagnostic testing; however, it is a step in the right direction.

Read more from the Washington Post.