Extra Time Guide: Sample Parent Appeal Letter Petitioning for Extra Time

The sample parent letter below is intended as a model example of the kind of letter a parent can write in the appeals process for extra time from the ACT or College Board. See sample student and tutor letters in Forum’s guides to getting extra time on the SAT and getting extra time on the ACT.

To the College Board Appeal Board for [insert SSD],

My daughter, ______ , has been working throughout her academic career to achieve excellence. She has always been a diligent and motivated student with a great deal of autonomy, completing her work well and independently at a very rigorous school. When ______ sensed something was wrong in the way she was able to complete her work relative to her peers at age 14, she asked us to get evaluated to try and reconcile this difference. _______’s diagnosis made perfect sense with the feedback she had been giving us, and that her teachers observed; she has high intellectual potential, but her acute attention issues were making it more difficult for her to process her work and participate in class fully, as well as making it hard for her to complete her tests in the time provided.

In the most recent appeals rejection letter, it states that ______’s learning difference does not demonstrate “severe academic impact,” and I would like to address that issue. ______ was granted these accommodations at precisely the time when her schoolwork became more demanding at the beginning of 10th grade. Because their work got much more difficult and her classes became longer at the same time as she was given extended time, the accommodations effectively prevented her learning disabilities from having a severe negative impact on her grades.

In this way, the accommodations worked exactly as they should- they allowed her to exercise her full potential, which has been and will continue to be high. She has fully used her extended time accommodations in school for several years, and both _____ and her teachers report she uses all the time and would not complete her exams without it, most notably and recently her practice AP exams which she has spent all year preparing for. She has been practicing all of these tests with extended time and succeeding, but removing these accommodations that she is now accustomed to would have a very strong negative impact on her academically.

We attempted to have her take the SAT in January even though her accommodations were denied, and the results were far below her potential, which you have a record of. She was unable to complete a single section, and she was barely half way through both Math sections before she ran out of time, despite knowing the concepts and being an excellent Math student in school. As you will see in the letter of support from her tutor, the difference in scores between regular and extended time demonstrate that her potential is well above average. Given ______’s diagnosis, her years-long record of using extended time in school, and her strong academic performance in school because of those accommodations, her father and I, as well as her psychologist and her school, are very confused by the College Board’s continued denial to grant these same accommodations in order for her to demonstrate her full abilities.

The argument the College Board seems to be making is that, because ______’s performance without extended time is “average,” therefore she should not be given accommodations that would make her performance “above average.” I urge you to reconsider this viewpoint; a disparity between a student’s impaired work and their unimpaired work should be taken seriously and considered equally regardless of a student’s starting point. This logic would keep keep brilliant students with learning disabilities out of universities appropriate for people with their GPA’s, knowledge, and abilities.

Denying accommodations to ______ on this academic platform would be equivalent to denying accommodations that would enable physically challenged students to do better than average work. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 show that academic performance, and not just whether someone can learn, must be considered when evaluating the disabling effects of ADHD. Furthermore, an ADHD diagnosis meets the DSM-IV standard of the American Psychiatric Association that she has “significant impairment in functioning.”

My daughter is an intelligent, mature young woman with strong work ethic and drive who has fought the limitations of her disability in order to succeed, in concert with the accommodations granted her in school. We will fight for our daughter’s legal right to these accommodations, and we will continue to appeal and provide any documentation needed in order to secure her opportunity to show her above-average abilities. Please incorporate the additional documentation and context we have provided in order to reconsider your decision on this matter.



To see the full guide to Extra Time, go here.