We are eager to help your child receive the accommodations they deserve on standardized tests, which testing companies refer to as “special testing.” In order to ensure a less stressful, more efficient special-testing application process, Menlo collects consent forms that authorize the school to submit applications on your child’s behalf when they enter the Upper School or receive their first Upper School SSP. Menlo also obtains a digital copy of your child’s most recent psycho-educational testing report because the College Board and ACT review this document before they issue a decision about accommodations. Finally, we share your child’s current Student Success Plan (SSP) with both testing companies to strengthen the quality of our application for accommodations. The remainder of this page answers common questions families have about the special testing accommodations process.
Here is the College Board’s release, which covers the PSAT, SAT, and any AP exams your child may choose to take. Please note: this form requires your child’s signature. Here is the ACT’s parental consent form, which is specific to that test.
The College Board requires the psycho-educational evaluation data Menlo uses to apply for accommodations to be no more than five years old. ACT requires the evaluation data used to request accommodations to be no more than three years old. Both testing companies require applications for accommodations based on a medical condition (e.g., a traumatic head injury) or psychiatric impairment (e.g., anxiety or depression) to be no more than one year old.
For the College Board, we typically apply for accommodations immediately before your child’s freshman year. As part of your child’s transition to the Upper School, we aim to meet with all families of students with learning plans prior to the summer before freshman year. For the ACT, we apply for accommodations whenever a student registers for a specific exam date, typically in the summer or fall of junior year.
College Board and ACT issue decision letters between one to eight weeks from the date Menlo applies for special testing accommodations. Both companies can take up to seven additional weeks to process appeals of adverse decisions. Therefore, it can take up to four months to determine the status of your child’s accommodations. Please consider these timing parameters before registering for an exam.
In rare cases (2 to 3% of all applications Menlo makes each year), a testing company will reject all or some of the accommodations Menlo requests. Depending on the accommodation(s) a testing company denies, your family may choose not to appeal the testing company’s decision. Alternatively, if your family determines an appeal should be made, we will work with you to acquire additional documentation (e.g., letters of support from tutors, educational therapists, and teachers; report cards and other academic records; or letters of recommendation from your child’s psycho-educational evaluator). While we cannot guarantee success, testing companies often approve our appeals when additional documentation related to your child’s learning difference can be provided.
Once your child has been approved for accommodations by the College Board or ACT, these accommodations remain valid for the duration of their time in high school. They cover every test your child chooses to take. Your child would only reapply for accommodations in the event their psycho-educational profile changes after initial approval.
No. Menlo can only apply for accommodations that appear in BOTH your child’s evaluation report and Menlo SSP. Moreover, both testing companies can and do deny accommodations listed in a student’s SSP or evaluation report when they consider them unreasonable in relation to your child’s diagnosed learning difference(s). Based on many years of experience, the ACT is more likely than the College Board to deny an accommodation that appears on your child’s SSP.
Both the College Board and ACT require the majority of students eligible for special-testing accommodations to test at designated national testing centers. Only students granted double time, access to an MP3/audio version of a test, and a small range of other accommodations may test on campus.