Total Pageviews

Friday, December 23, 2016

Have Special Needs? An IEP or 504 plan? Testing Tips

The College Board, home of the PSAT, SAT, AP, and SAT subject tests just changed their policy for getting testing accommodations. (December 2016) :
"At the College Board, we believe that all students should have access to the testing accommodations they need so they can show their best work on our assessments.  We've heard from SSD coordinators, counselors, students, and families who've asked us to simplify the process of requesting College B testing accommodations.
We recognize that educators know their students best, as we want to cut down on the time and paperwork needed to submit a College Board testing accommodation request.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the vast majority of students who are approved for and using testing accommodations at their schools through a current IEP (Individualized Education Program) or 504 Plan will have those same accommodations automatically approved for taking the SAT®, PSAT™ 10, PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT Subject Tests™, and AP® Exams. Most private school students with a current, formal school-based plan that meets College Board criteria will also have their current accommodations automatically approved for College Board exams."
Homeschoolers Please Note
The above mentions private schools.  In many states, home schools are considered private schools.  Contact the College Board about getting accommodations for your children who need them. 

Regarding the CLEP exams

The CLEP tests are not mentioned in the College Board's announcemnt, probably because they are primarily taken by adults or homeschooled students, neither of which typically have IEPs or 504s. These tests are also designed to be college equivalency tests, where IEPs don't exist and 504s are generally modified.  If you have questions, please contact the College Board directly.

What about the ACT?

The ACT has not made a similar announcement at this time.  Given the incredible competition for students between the two companies, a similar announcement is expected in early 2017.

The Power of PSAT Scores

Your PSAT Score is a Key to Scholarships and Much, Much More!
PSAT results are due to arrive in mid-December.  For sophomores, this is the first nationally compared test score.  For juniors, if you are in the top 10% of scores in your state, you are a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist.  In a few months, you’ll be contacted by the National Merit Scholarship people so you can take the next steps to qualify as a finalist.
College Search (Key to Happiness and Scholarships!)
For Sophomores, this is a VERY useful piece of data.  The College Board now includes an estimate of your SAT score based on your PSAT score.  If you plan to take the ACT, you can search the internet and easily find either the College Board or the ACT’s correlative tables so you can translate the score to an ACT.  Now your search for colleges can get MUCH more focused.  Are you looking to be accepted into the honors college or program?  Are you on track to score in the range required?  Do you need to adjust your sights a little or get serious about test prep?  If you score well and are now serious about going to top tier schools, it’s time to explore the possible AP and CLEP exams you can take this year and next year. 
What to do next summer? A Key to top tier schools and Scholarships
Your increased clarity regarding the tier of college or university you are realistically aiming for will be the conduit to additional clues.  What should you do with next summer?  Take college courses?  Go to a summer camp? Do some research?  Etc.?  What are the schools you are now targeting looking for?  What can you do that develops your skills and abilities and explores your interests in order to continue to prepare to be a competitive applicant at those schools?  Do your research.  Many of the summer programs have applications which are due in January so there’s no time to lose.
For both Sophomores and Juniors, you have gained experience with the College Board’s testing style.  The ACT poses its questions differently and covers slightly different material.  It also includes a science section, which students planning to study majors with heavy science requirements do well to take.  If you choose the SAT, verify with your schools; sometimes SAT subject tests are required to supplement the SAT scores.
Professional Guidance
Given the fact that selecting a college is a $150,000 - $280,000 proposition, getting professional guidance is prudent. If you would like additional help with college selection and college preparations, let’s talk.  Finding the right schools to apply to is absolutely essential if you want to get the best college education you can for the least cost to your family.  Since 93% of all college scholarship dollars come directly from the schools, as do the various programs and majors, college selection is MISSION CRITICAL.  Email or call today to schedule your private college readiness consultation.  We’ll discuss your goals, preparations so far, most pressing needs, as well as available resources.  Schedule yours here.

You may call me at 858-705-0043 or email me at Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS, Founder and Chief College Planning Specialist at Celtic College Consultants.