Testing accommodations for anxiety

Parents often ask me questions about how they can best support their child with what they’re learning. Many feel they aren’t doing enough, or aren’t doing the right thing, to help their child succeed. I see a lot of these questions more than once, so I’ve decided to collect them and post them here for … Read more

How to make an ACT study plan

This week’s post about how to make an ACT study plan is a little unusual. These weekly columns typically focus on questions I get from parents about how to support their child with learning differences, not test prep advice. But I’ve been getting a lot of questions like this one lately, and I recently wrote … Read more

Professor won’t grant extensions or accommodations

In absence of that, we’ll need to work on self-advocacy skills a bit. I really wish that [your son] didn’t have to do this, and that his professors were better about providing him with the accommodations he deserves. Unfortunately, this is a pretty big difference from his middle school and high school experience, where his accommodations were federally mandated and he didn’t need to self-advocate. Now that he’s in college, he has to do a lot more fighting for himself, which is a tough change to adjust to.

Paper test or virtual test?

But actually the biggest reason I’d say she should go with the paper test is the benefit to her sustained focus. [Your daughter] tends to to fidget and bounce, especially as she needs to sit still for a long period of time. There are a lot of things she can interact with on a paper test (paper corners to fold, edges to rip, doodles to draw) that she can’t do with a digital test, and I recommend she do those things on her homework. It can be disruptive in class, I know, but when she’s taking this test alone and not distracting anyone, it helps her focus.

Will requesting accommodations reflect poorly on us?

If you’re worried about any note about accommodations making colleges think twice about accepting her, definitely don’t worry about that–they won’t see her accommodations information and they won’t discriminate (or rather, it’s illegal to discriminate) based on that. That information won’t be shared with the school, and even if it was, it won’t reflect poorly on her.

What’s the best way to learn vocabulary?

I am hesitant to spend additional time on flashcards for vocabulary learning at our upcoming sessions. Research shows that the most effective methods for learning vocabulary are explicit instruction on relevant words followed by spaced repetition of practice using those words in different contexts.

Should my kid take the extra time if he doesn’t need it?

The ACT doesn’t report any accommodations to the colleges in the score report–neither the type of accommodation nor if there were any accommodations at all. In fact, a California court recently ruled that reporting accommodations on the score report is discriminatory, and the ACT has a policy not to disclose accommodations in any of its reporting. So please know that accepting these accommodations won’t affect [your son’s] college application in any kind of negative way.

Dyslexia or something else?

[Your son] also seems to think that the questions he missed on the quiz were due to reading errors, but I’m not so sure. His verbal skills are good, and he understood the instructions of the question very clearly. If his dyslexia was affecting his understanding of the problem, then we’d see more questions where he found the answer to a question the teacher wasn’t asking–like he’d misunderstood the question.