For students who regularly use colored overlays in the classroom to address visual stress and visual processing problems, there are often questions and anxiety about whether they will be allowed to use this assistive technology on state and standardized tests. The use of colored overlays on state standardized tests and college boards is generally allowed, but it is important to check with the specific testing organization to confirm their policies. In most cases, the student must provide documented use of colored overlays in the classroom in the form of an IEP or 504 plan.
The College Board in the United States, lists colored overlays as an accepted accommodation on all standardized tests and college entrance exams, including the SAT and AP exams. https://accommodations.collegeboard.org/typical-accommodations/other
Most states offer color accommodations for instruction and assessment. For online/computer assessments, contrast/color choices are available, and for paper-based assessments, colored overlays are available. Most states require that color accommodations be used for both instruction and assessment throughout the year, as well.
Colored overlays can be helpful for individuals with certain visual processing issues, such as Irlen Syndrome, by reducing visual stress and making it easier to read and comprehend text. If a student needs to use colored overlays during testing, it is important to communicate this need to the testing organization well in advance and provide any necessary documentation or evidence to support the request. The testing organization may have specific procedures in place for accommodating such requests, such as providing the student with colored overlays during the test or allowing the student to bring their own.
It is also important to note that the use of colored overlays may not be a suitable accommodation for all individuals with visual processing issues, and other accommodations such as extended time or a reader may be more appropriate.
To learn more about how to request the use of colored overlays on state or standardized testing, visit your state’s appropriate testing website.