What is a 504?
A 504 is formal school plan written by a 504 team (often consisting of the students, the school counselor, the 504 coordinator, a classroom teacher, and a parent/guardian) to prevent discrimination due to a disability in the academic setting. Essentially it is a blueprint for how the school will provide support and remove barriers for students with a disability, so the student has equal access to the general education curriculum.
These plans aren’t part of special education, so they don’t provide individualized instruction, like IEPs do. But a central purpose of 504 plans is to give kids with disabilities access to the same education their classmates are getting.
Impairment does not automatically imply eligibility:
Not all students with a disability automatically qualify for a 504 plan. 504 plans are about providing equality of opportunity. If a student does not have access to the same educational opportunity to succeed as other students who DO NOT have a disability, that student may qualify for a 504 plan to bridge that opportunity gap. It is extremely important that the 504 plan does not provide a student with a disability with an unequal advantage when compared against students without disabilities. There is a large difference between what is necessary for a child to succeed and what is beneficial for a child to succeed. If the 504 does too much, as educators, we are limiting the learning opportunity for that child.
Questions often asked to determine if a student is eligible for a 504:
504 Plans & Testing:
All 504 plans do not inherently equate to testing accommodations when it comes to Collegeboard (SAT, PSAT, or AP Exams) and the ACT. Just because a student receives state-approved 504 accommodations for state testing does not automatically make them approved for accommodations on national tests (AP tests, PSAT, ACT, SAT, etc.).
Receiving accommodations for national tests is a fairly complex and thorough procedure.
Please contact Mrs. Favant (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to request accommodations for the PreACT or ACT. AP Students who would like to request accommodations must inform Dr. Reed (email@example.com).
Options for students with 504 Plans:
Students who receive accommodations in school do not automatically receive those accommodations for college-entrance exams. Generally, students have 3 options when it comes to testing with accommodations.
Students take the standardized ACT or SAT as offered WITHOUT accommodations. This test score is considered reportable to all colleges and student may send these tests scores to any college they choose to apply to during senior year.
Please note: Community Colleges do NOT require ACT/SAT test scores. However, reportable test scores may be beneficial to help a student place out of remedial courses upon entry into community college.
Student may use their state approved 504 accommodations (those that are approved by and used at SWA.) However, these scores are NOT reportable to colleges and therefore, your student’s test scores will NOT be accepted by colleges and universities.
Student applies for ACT and/or SAT approved accommodations. ACT or CollegeBoard-approved accommodations are much more strict than state-approved accommodations. These accommodations are not guaranteed simply because a student receives accommodations at school. Often times, accommodations received in school are not approved by the ACT organization or CollegeBoard. If accommodations are approved, these scores are reportable and accepted by colleges and universities.
To learn more about ACT approved accommodation: