[blindkid] how would you handle this PSAT issue?

Sally Thomas seacknit at gmail.com
Thu Sep 29 17:31:22 UTC 2011

The only thing that keeps me from totally popping a gasket is knowing many
of you with older kids who have managed to live through this!

I called the school a little while ago and asked the testing coordinator
when they requested David's accommodations (we discussed his accommodations
at his annual IEP meeting last MAY and they assured me they would take care
of it).  She told me they had submitted them September 17--almost a month
after they were due.  Fool me once...

I guess I will have to continue to serve as an object lesson for those of
you to not trust your schools to do as they say they are doing.

Sally Thomas

On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM, Carrie Gilmer <carrie.gilmer at gmail.com>wrote:

> Dear Sally,
> Welcome to the next new nightmare on the way to adulthood...the College
> Board. It has been a few years, but here is my recollection (at the time we
> found through the NABS list that our experience was the norm)(also this was
> brought directly to the attention of President Maurer and many others, as
> well as NFB legal representatives, and it was not entirely news to them at
> the time...it is my understanding that to date no concerted effort, to
> match
> the efforts in accessibility to the LAW school entrance exam for example,
> has occurred-perhaps, I hope, either there is some effort I am unaware
> of-or
> in the last two years thru receiving a high number of complaints the Board
> has itself corrected itself...
> The same initial thing happened to us. The PSAT test came unannounced to us
> until it was too late to meet the College Board's requirements of both
> overall eligibility and specific accommodations. Additionally the school
> had
> not considered the need (in its preparations for all students) for ANY
> student needing accommodations~and completely failed to meet the timeline
> requirements of the College Board in order to qualify. We found that the
> Board communicates with a designated test coordinator person in each
> district~the high school counselors/you/the TBVIS need to know and
> coordinate with them...you can also directly communicate with the College
> Board (good luck tho).
> First an individual must become qualified for ANY accommodation through the
> Board's criteria for accommodations (ranging from alternative
> format/alternate site-date/ALL media modes-ie use of braillenote for
> writing-use of a reader or transcriber to need for more time for example).
> There are two entities (one other besides the College Board) who give SAT
> ACT PSAT and all AP entrance exams...
> We had to (within their time line which is fairly long):
> *Prove (with the proper paperwork) Jordan was a blind student AND his need
> for EACH accommodation he required.
> *Pay for the test(s)
> *Get all necessary paperwork into the Board before they had a board meeting
> (it is less the test date and more the time of this meeting BEFORE the test
> date that is your concern at first) where they go over all accommodation
> applications and approve EACH one/or not. They have a specific timeline for
> this.
> *Remind them once he was approved AGAIN that he IS approved, well in
> advance
> of an upcoming test.
> *In the two weeks before the test-call them directly (TBVIS can do) to
> check
> if it is indeed "in the mail"...
> *For every NEW test CHECK that the status of approved accommodations is
> approved and current WITHIN THEIR timelines.
> Even after having done all this correctly, major mistakes can be made. And
> I
> mean major, like no test arrives on the date, or accommodations or parts of
> accommodations are not approved. One test--a full 18 months AFTER he had
> been approved only came 6 weeks late AND after numerous direct calls and
> conversations from the school district and us and finally only got action
> after a three-way conversation with our lawyer actually on the phone...and
> then the test was four years OLD when it did arrive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> THEN if you do get the test, AND the accommodations! Wahoooo!; it is THE
> NORM, that the test is YEARS OLD...they do NOT get the same test as their
> peers. THEN---it is flagged and considered frequently by the higher
> institutions (Universities) as not valid BECAUSE of the accommodations.
> You got me started---in all eloquence, "puke on them", was and is my final
> opinion of the College Board.
> :) Carrie
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
> Behalf Of Sally Thomas
> Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 10:30 AM
> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
> Subject: [blindkid] how would you handle this PSAT issue?
>  Our school district has decided to give the 8-10 grade students a chance
> to
> practice taking the PSAT (in 8th grade it is a pre-PSAT) prior to the 11th
> grade "real" test.  The 8th grade test was new last year when my son was in
> 8th grade and they told me there wasn't a braille version.  I asked about
> the PSAT for 9th grade and the assured me that they were getting the
> accommodations set up and that he would take the test.  I asked again
> before
> the school year started and they said that he'd be ready to go.  This
> morning I received an email from the high school counselor telling me that
> the funding for the test was approved late so they won't be able to get a
> braille version of the test.  Mind you the test is next week so they must
> have known this for a while.
> Doesn't the College Board have braille copies of the test on hand?  Can any
> of you tell me what you think the real reason is for the test not being
> available?  I already told the counselor that I was very unhappy with this
> and asked for the contact information of the people who made the decision
> to
> give the test to all but the blind kids (probably not the most diplomatic
> approach).  Of course I have not had a response but I am wondering who
> would
> be best to contact on this.  I am trying to fight the urge to contact
> everyone in authority until I get some feedback from some of you who are
> informed but a little less emotionally charged about this.
> Thanks for your help.
> Sally Thomas
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