Who deserves extended time on the ACT & SAT?

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When we think about applying for extended time for the ACT and SAT, we usually think that extended time is only for those who have learning disabilities, such as ADD, ADHD or Dyslexia, or those with physical impairments, like blindness.  There is a significant group of students, however, who can receive extended time on these tests and may not realize it. 

Who?  Students who have suffered from multiple concussions.  Why do these students need extended time?  Because as anyone who has suffered from a concussion knows, it is not that tough to pay attention for a short period of time, such as when you are taking a test or quiz in a high school class period.  However, when you have to take a 4-5 hour test like the ACT or SAT, the head discomfort and lack of mental focus that ensue can cause serious problems. 

It is completely understandable that students with multiple concussions can slip through the cracks, because they likely do not need an IEP or 504 plan for anything they do in school.  As a result, parents and students must take the initiative to secure documentation from a doctor and have an IEP or 504 plan that specifically provides accommodations for longer assessments.  Perhaps they should be taken over several days, perhaps they should have 50-100% extra time.  (I have had students in each of these situations). 

Accommodations are there for a reason – to make the playing field level for everyone taking the test.  Make sure you make the necessary applications for extended time if you suffered from multiple concussions or some other injury that makes it extraordinarily challenging to maintain attention for a multi-hour period.  To find out about how to apply for extended time, please see my guide

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