ACT has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that accuses it of disclosing – without proper authorization – the disability status of certain applicants to colleges and scholarship organizations.
ACT did not admit any wrongdoing and says in the agreement that it agreed to settle only to avoid litigation costs and the uncertainty of protracted litigation.
However, ACT is making real changes in its practices and has agreed to pay out $ 16 million for violations of state law to members of the class who live in California.
FairTest: The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, which monitors lawsuits against testing companies, says $ 16 million is the largest settlement ever accepted by an admission testing company.
Under the agreement, ACT cannot:
- Provide any information on the score reports for the ACT test “… that discloses that the candidate has received disability-related testing accommodations or that the candidate has a disability (including candidates who identify as having a disability) . “
- Use “school” or “national” to “identify the location of an exam administration on the score reports for the ACT test … which would identify whether a person took the ACT test by means of a national or special test “.
- Include “any candidate’s response to any questions regarding disabilities on any ACT test score report sent to any covered program, for any test taken for reporting to the college”.
- Find out about “a candidate’s disability status upon registration”.
For years, testing companies have resisted efforts by people with disabilities to get accommodations on standardized testing. These accommodations are now guaranteed by federal and state laws. Much of the fighting over housing since then has centered on disclosure. Advocates for people with disabilities argue that colleges are less likely to admit a person with a disability.
Halie Bloom, the main complainant (of 65,728 in the class), said in a statement: “It took a lot of courage to stand up for myself publicly and for others like me, especially knowing that in our society, test results are considered an I am honored to be a part of this change which has a permanent impact on university admissions and the recruitment of students with disabilities and gives us the power to decide for ourselves whether and how to disclose our own unique stories. “
ACT issued this statement: “Neither the regulations nor the court found that ACT violated any laws or the rights of students with disabilities or their rights to privacy. ACT’s mission is to serve underserved populations, including students with disabilities. ACT creates opportunities in education for students with disabilities; this has been a long-standing priority for ACT and will continue to be. “