Farmer, M., & Laing, J. (1987). Characteristics of students with learning disabilities who take the ACT assessment under special conditions . Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability , 5 (1), 27–32. https://www.ahead.org/professional-resources/publications/jped
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Accommodations available on the ACT assessment to students with disabilities include presentation—large print, braille, reader, and oral delivery (by audio recording)—as well as dictated response and extended time.
Participants were current high school students who took the ACT assessment. There were two comparison groups. One group was 5,534 students with learning disabilities taking ACT assessment under special (or accommodated) conditions in 1983–1984, 1984–1985, or 1985–1986. Another group was 729,606 students taking ACT assessment under regular conditions. The group of students with learning disabilities comprised less than 0.1% of total study participants. Additional demographic data reported include sex, ethnicity/race, and family income.
The dependent variables reported for each comparison group in this study included ACT subscales (English, mathematics usage, social studies reading, and natural sciences reading) and composite scores, high school grades, college grades, a self-reported measure of high school satisfaction, and a self-reported measure of aspirations and future plans.
The study compared basic characteristics of students with learning disabilities using accommodated ACT assessment, and students without disabilities using standard-format ACT assessment. The findings were descriptive, showing comparisons including ACT scores, high school grades, high school satisfaction, college grades, and future plans such as degree and career aspirations. The ACT assessment results indicate that students with learning disabilities receiving accommodations scored a composite mean of 13.6 (SD=5.4), and students without disabilities with no accommodations scored a composite mean of 18.8 (SD=5.9); other subscale scores were also reported. The students with learning disabilities reported a lower proportion of satisfaction with high school overall, and different plans and aspirations for college and career. Further, a subset of students with learning disabilities for whom college grades were available had additional data reported, yet it was noted that the relative size of this sample may be too small to draw conclusions. Another limitation reported was that the students with learning disabilities did not complete a comparable amount of high school classes that were college preparatory coursework.