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Thomas Broderick

Multi-Day ACT Testing

Hello Magoosh readers! In today’s article I’m going to put on my teacher hat. It’s a little dusty, but it’ll get me ready to discuss today’s topic: multi-day ACT testing. You may have never heard of it, but for some of your peers, it is the best way for them to take the ACT.

In this article I’ll describe multi-day testing, what it’s like, and why you might benefit from it.


What is multi-day testing?

Ever since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was first passed into law in 1975, the federal government has mandated special education services in America’s public schools. A key component of IDEA is the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a legal document listing modifications to a student’s education. An option for some students with IEPs is to take the ACT over multiple days, either one or two sections each day.


Because ACT is very concerned with both test security and not giving any student an unfair advantage, the regulations regarding multi-day testing are extensive. The student and his or her school are required to submit documentation regarding the student’s disability and requested accommodations. Though  the forms are overwhelming at first glance, a student’s special education teacher should already have experience with the process, and be able to assist students and parents.


What Is ACT Multi-Day Testing Like?

The largest difference is that multi-day testing takes place during the school day. Depending on a student’s IEP, the process could take 2-4 days.

In addition to multi-day testing, the student’s disability also can alter the testing experience. For example, a student with blindness can request a braille test or one read aloud. A student with paralysis can use a scribe for the ACT Writing Test.

Once the test goes back to ACT, it’s graded just like any other test. The multiple choice scanner and person reading the essay have no idea that the student had an accommodation.


Will It Help Me?

In my career as a teacher I worked with many students with IEPs. Though the term IEP applied to them all, each of them was an individual with unique strengths and weaknesses. If you have an IEP, and are unsure about taking the ACT in a single sitting, talk about it with your teachers.  They know you as a test taker, so they can give you an opinion on whether multi-day testing might work for you.

On the other hand, if your IEP recommends multi-day testing, you still have the right to take the ACT with your peers. As a third alternative, you can also request 50% more time on the ACT. This accommodation is officially known as National Extended Time.

If you decide forgo multi-day testing, make sure it’s because what you think is best for you, rather than what will make your friends/parents/teachers etc. happy.

That’s all for now, multi-day ACT scholars. Good luck on test day(s), and I’ll see you next time!

Go here for more on how to apply for accommodations on the ACT.

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About Thomas Broderick

Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

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