ACT Allows Calculators for LD Students

University Testing

Until March of this year, the American College Testing Program (ACT) did not allow the use of scientific calculators as a reasonable accommodation for students with learning disabilities. After a review of several concerns raised in response to its position on calculator use for these students, ACT adopted a new policy. This policy states: "While calculators are not permitted during a standard administration of the ACT Assessment, ACT has concluded that a calculator is an appropriate testing accommodation for students with certain disabilities."


Some of the issues raised by a school for students with learning disabilities, in response to ACT's original calculator policy, were based on an interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ACT had failed to demonstrate that offering a particular modification would fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the examination is intended to test. Also, ACT did not appear to have the necessary research foundation to establish sound educational and psychometric policy in the area of learning disabilities, although in most instances the expense of such research may not be considered an undue burden on a private entity with the resources of ACT.


Now included with the Request for ACT Special Testing, the initial application in the accommodation process for students with learning disabilities, is the Calculator Policy Statement for ACT Assessment Special Testing.


For more information, contact Gretchen Turner in ACT's Special Testing section, at (800) 553-6244, ext. 1332 or 1448.