College Board Accommodations Requests
Who is eligible for College Board testing accommodations?
In general, students approved by the College Board for testing accommodations meet the following criteria:
- They have a documented disability.
- Their participation in College Board exams is impacted by the disability.
- The specific accommodations requested are needed.
- With few exceptions, they receive accommodations on school tests.
How do I request testing accommodations?
To be eligible for accommodations on College Board exams, students and their families usually work with their schools to do the following:
- Submit a request to the College Board.
- Document the disability.
- Document the need for the requested accommodations.
Use of accommodations that have not been approved by the College Board results in cancelled scores. Get an overview of The Approval Process.
Can students approved for school accommodations use them on a College Board exam?
Students who use accommodations in school or have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan are not automatically approved for College Board testing accommodations. They must still request accommodations from the College Board. Most students who receive accommodations at school and request them from the College Board are approved.
What types of formal school plans qualify for automatic approval?
Beginning in January 2017, most students with an IEP, 504 Plan, or other current, formal school-based plan that meets College Board criteria will have their current accommodations automatically approved for College Board exams. College Board criteria for a formal plan (other than an IEP or 504 Plan) include the following:
- Plan was developed using tests or evaluations that 1) are appropriate for the student’s diagnosis and needs, 2) were administered by those who meet state and/or professional guidelines for administering the evaluations and for diagnosing the disability in question, and 3) demonstrate the student’s disability and need for accommodations.
- Plan was created by a group of people who know the student, the meaning of the evaluation results, and the available accommodations. This group may include an SSD coordinator.
How long does the request process take?
When documentation review is required, the request process can take about seven weeks from the day on which complete documentation is received. See Calendar for deadlines associated with specific exam administrations. To receive approval for accommodations in time for the PSAT/NMSQT or the October SAT, it’s best to begin in the spring of the previous school year — well before summer recess.
How are students and schools notified of the decision?
Most students are mailed a decision letter explaining the approved accommodations or the reasons for denial. Students with a College Board My Organizer account who are registered for the SAT can view their decision letter by signing into My Organizer. If the parent’s email is also associated with the student’s My Organizer account, the student and parent receive an email when the decision letter is available, not a letter.
Schools are notified by email when a decision is made. They can then sign into SSD Online and view the decision letter.
Do students need to reapply for accommodations each time they take a College Board exam?
The answer is almost always no: Once approved, it is not necessary to reapply for each College Board exam. Unless we are informed that the student no longer needs them, accommodations remain in effect until one year after high school graduation.
Can a parent or student submit an accommodation request without their school?
Parents may submit a paper request for accommodations (using the Student Eligibility Form) without the participation of their school. Documentation must be provided for the College Board's review.
In most cases, however, parents work with their school to request accommodations — the fastest and most efficient method. At this time, the online system, SSD Online, is not available to parents or students.
What if my request for accommodations was denied?
Your next step depends in part on the explanation provided in your decision letter. You may need to supply additional documentation. Learn more at Denied Requests.
How do I change accommodations after they’re approved?
If you are a student, tell your school counselor or SSD Coordinator.
If you’re an SSD Coordinator, you can use SSD Online to request the change. Managing Accommodations Online has step-by-step instructions.
What about transfer students?
If you are a transfer student who was approved for accommodations by the College Board while at your old school, tell the counselor at your new school.
If you are an SSD Coordinator, you can use SSD Online to move the student to your dashboard.
For more detailed answers to these questions, see Providing Documentation.
When must documentation be provided for College Board review?
Families submitting the paper request form must always submit documentation to the College Board.
SSD Coordinators using SSD Online will be told what’s required for College Board review after they complete an online accommodation request. If documentation review is necessary, processing will not begin until complete documentation has been received.
In most cases, students who are requesting the same accommodations that are included on an IEP, 504 Plan, or other formal school-based plan that meets College Board criteria, and who receive the requested accommodations in school, will be approved without the need for documentation. There are some exceptions.
What documentation does the College Board require?
Documentation must meet very specific criteria that vary depending on the disability and the accommodation requested. All documentation should provide evidence of the following:
- The disability
- The degree to which the student’s activities are affected (functional limitation)
- The need for the specific accommodation requested
See Providing Documentation for disability-specific and accommodation-specific guidelines.
What if I don’t have the requested documentation?
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) asks for the documentation that the College Board finds most helpful in determining a student’s need for accommodations.
If you do not have the requested information and have other documentation that demonstrates the student’s disability, describes its impact on the student’s activities, and supports the need for the accommodations you are requesting, provide it to the College Board, and SSD will review it. Note, however, that there may be a delay in the approval of accommodations if the documentation does not provide needed information.
Why do documentation requests vary?
Documentation requests are tailored to each student's disability and the accommodations requested. For example, a visual evaluation may be needed for a student with a visual disability, while a medical examination would be required for a student with a medical disability. For certain accommodations, such as extended time or computer use, additional documentation may be requested.
What is SSD Online?
SSD Online is the College Board's online accommodation request and management system. It enables schools to request testing accommodations for students with disabilities.
SSD Coordinators can use SSD Online to:
- Request testing accommodations for their students
- Track the status of accommodation requests
- View information about all their SSD students in one place
Why is SSD Online a better choice than the paper form?
SSD Online is easy to use and provides advantages over the paper process. It does the following:
- Guides SSD Coordinators through the request process step by step.
- Tells SSD Coordinators what, if any, documentation must be submitted.
- Enables SSD Coordinators to upload documentation and submit requests electronically.
Get more information about SSD Online.
Who can use SSD Online?
Counselors and other school educators get access to SSD Online by becoming SSD Coordinators. At present, the system is unavailable to parents and students.
Can multiple school officials use the online request system?
Yes. A school can have multiple SSD Coordinators, educators authorized to use SSD Online. Each staff member needs an individual College Board professional account and SSD Online access code.
What is the parental role in the online submission process?
The student's parent or guardian must sign the consent form prior to the submission of an online request. If the student is 18 or over, the student may sign the form.
As an SSD Coordinator, you can print a form from the SSD Forms link on your SSD Online dashboard before beginning a Student Request for Accommodations, or if you’ve started a request, use the links within the form.
Keep the signed form on file at your school.
How do SSD Coordinators submit supporting documentation?
SSD Online notifies users if documentation review is required. It generates a printable cover sheet for use when submitting documentation by fax or mail. Documentation can also be uploaded electronically. Get detailed instructions on Managing Accommodations Online.
Can SSD Coordinators use their own cover sheet instead of the one provided by SSD Online?
We prefer that you don’t. Attaching the system-generated cover page to supporting documentation is important. It includes a bar code that enables us to link the documentation with the student's file electronically.
How do SSD Coordinators submit additional documentation?
If, after submitting the student's initial request, you wish to submit additional documentation, upload it using SSD Online or print out a form from your dashboard.
Select Options next to the student’s name and choose Print Cover Sheet to fax or mail documents or Submit Documentation Online to upload the documents.