Today the ACT rolled out its brand new Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) system. Let’s take a look at what changes we can expect to see and how those changes could affect students.
What is the TAA?
The TAA is an online system students with recognized learning differences must use to submit requests for ACT accommodations. Under this new system, paper requests will no longer be accepted unless an ACT representative expressly authorizes it.
How does it work?
To apply for accommodations using the TAA, first register for an ACT test date. During registration, the system will ask if you have a disability that requires accommodations. Select yes.
Next, the system will present you with two options: National extended time or Special Testing. In most cases, students in the United States, Puerto Rico, or Canada who are applying for standard time-and-a-half will select the first option while all other students will select the second option. However, that is not always the case. We recommend that all students research these two options and talk to a counselor before making a selection.
After selecting the type of accommodation you need, simply fill out the rest of the ACT registration form as you normally would.
About 48 hours after you complete your online registration, the ACT will send you an email acknowledging that they received a request for your accommodations. The title of this email will be “Requesting Accommodations on the ACT”. This email will contain instructions for how to forward the email to the correct school official. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully so that the email is sent to the right person.
Once your school official receives your email, he or she will submit any other needed documents to the ACT on your behalf.
If you are approved, your school official will email you the type of accommodation you were approved for as well as your personal identification number (PIN) for TAA. If you are not approved, your school official will email you the reason your accommodations were not approved.
What if I am not approved?
In some cases, your school official may be able to request reconsideration if you are not initially approved. If you believe there was an error, talk to your counselor or school official and let them know you’d like to submit a request for reconsideration.
What if I don’t have a school official?
If you are out of school, homeschooled, or not otherwise affiliated with a school, you may still be able to apply for accommodations directly through the ACT. Try contacting them by phone at 319.337.1332 and select option 3.
When should I apply?
If you plan to apply for accommodations, be sure to register early. Your school needs to submit all documentation of your learning difference to the ACT by the published registration deadline for your preferred testing date.
How will this impact students?
The new online system should make the request for accommodations process faster and easier for students. By computerizing this process, recognized school officials will generally bear the burden of collecting and sharing needed documentation with the ACT. Moreover, email is theoretically faster and more reliable than mail, so the ACT should be able to review and approve more requests in a shorter amount of time.
It’s important to note, however, that this does not mean more students will get approved for accommodations. The ACT will use the same standards to evaluate student eligibility.