The goal of any testing program is to make the test as accessible as possible to all students, while at the same time ensuring the validity of all student scores.With this ongoing goal in mind, The Enrollment Management Association updated several key elements related to testing accommodations (formerly special accommodations) for the 2015-16 testing year and beyond. Complete information about the new requirements and guidelines can be found at www.ssat.org/ta.
To help The Enrollment Management Association better understand each child’s needs in order to provide the most appropriate accommodations, additional information about the student’s disability (a legal term) is collected at the time the request is made.
Those verifying the requests must also verify their identities when submitting online approval. “Known approvers” will not be required to submit identification for three consecutive
In order to facilitate student requests for accommodations, The Enrollment Management Association has expanded the documentation types we accept and, depending on the disability, requests may or may not require
submission of documentation.
Students who meet three criteria are eligible for Direct Access,and will not be required to submit documentation (please see www.ssat.org/ta for complete details). The vast majority of accommodations requested fall into this category. If a student isn’t eligible for Direct Access, they must submit documentation to The Enrollment Management Association for review. It is important to note that this allows many students who have nontraditional documentation types to be approved for accommodations.
For those students eligible for Direct Access, approval from The Enrollment Management Association takes just a couple of days. Requests that require documentation submission require up to two weeks for review—well below industry standards. In either case, please remind students to start the process early enough to be approved for accommodations before registering for the SSAT.
While accommodations such as 1.5x time, the ability to answer directly in the test book, or the use of a laptop for the writing sample are common requests, it is important to recognize that each student’s disabilities and needs are unique. Parents may choose “other” and indicate additional accommodations that are necessary. The Enrollment Management Association will then review the request and make every effort to make reasonable accommodations.
Accommodations are also provided to students with religious beliefs that prevent them from testing on Saturdays, when all SSAT Standard tests are administered.
Administering the Test Accommodations
If you are an SSAT administrator, please know that the process and rules for administering the SSAT have changed very little. One change to note is that all students with approved accommodations should be tested separately from students without accommodations—previously there were some exceptions that allowed mixed testing.
Ensuring that appropriate accommodations are approved is just one piece of this puzzle. As a community, we need more test sites to accept students with accommodations! Please contact us and let us know if you want to start accepting students with accommodations at your test center. The Enrollment Management Association provides increased honoraria amounts for testing students with accommodations.
Resources & More Information
Visit ssat.org/ta for new guides and resources:
Testing Accommodations Guide: Provides all the information parents need to request accommodations for their child.
Testing Accommodations Approver Overview: Details what approvers need to know and do.
Test Administration: Read and understand the Testing Accommodations section in the test guide and script.