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New accommodation for the SAT and PSAT

With the redesign of the SAT and PSAT, College Board recently introduced several new options for test takers with disabilities. Two of these are new formats to make the test more accessible for students with physical disabilities: an assistive technology–compatible test format and an MP3 audio test format. The other new accommodation allows approved students to use a four-function calculator to complete calculator-prohibited math sections. This could be very helpful for some students with learning disorders in math.

Additionally, several changes have been made to policies regarding extra time. The bullet points below have been copied directly from the page on the College Board website created to explain the impact of changes on test-takes with disabilities:

  • Because of changes to the assessments, some accommodations (for example, the timing of breaks) will be administered differently.

  • Students who are approved for extended time will also be provided extra breaks in between test sections.

  • Students who are approved for extended time for only part of the SAT (e.g., math only), will receive extended time for only the designated sections.

It will be important for students who have been approved to receive extra time on one or more parts of the SAT to consider how these changes will affect them. However, the addition of extra breaks between sections for students who receive extra time should provide some much-needed relief from the fatigue of an extended test-taking session, as well as a chance to reset their attention and working memory.

Overall, CollegeBoard appear to have carefully considered the needs of test-takers with disabilities when redesigning their exams, and they seem to be providing reasonable accommodations to provide an equal opportunity for test takers with disabilities to do well on the revised PSAT and SAT. College Board recommends that any students with questions or concerns about these changes consult with the coordinator of disability services for students at their school.

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