Test-Maker Sued Over Divulging Students’ Disabilities
A major standardized test-maker is being accused of illegally disclosing students’ disabilities.
In a class action lawsuit filed this month, a group of students is accusing ACT, Inc. of sharing information about their disabilities on score reports sent to colleges as well as wrongly selling the information.
“ACT flags students’ test scores, discloses their confidential information to colleges pre-admission and stigmatizes students with disabilities in the admissions process,” said Rahul Ravipudi, a Los Angeles attorney representing students in the case. “Not only does this unlawful practice violate the privacy, security and confidentiality of information entrusted to ACT by the students in its care — it does so for profit, and at the expense of America’s most vulnerable students who are striving to further their education.”
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The suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleges violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act in addition to multiple California laws.
The students say that information about their disabilities and accommodations they received that was collected when they registered to the take the ACT and on test day was included on score reports sent to colleges. The same information was also sold to schools, scholarship programs and other groups that market to prospective college students, they indicate.
However, disability information is omitted from the score reports sent to students and their high schools, the suit alleges.
“I was shocked to learn that ACT was using my disability information against me and making it more difficult for me to get into college and get the money I need to go to college,” said Halie Bloom, a plaintiff in the case whose ACT score reports denoted her “learning or cognitive disability,” in a statement. “I’m speaking out, because I know that someone has to stand up for all of the students who are scared about how their disabilities will be used against them.”
The suit seeks a nationwide injunction to stop ACT from disclosing students’ disability information in addition to damages for affected students.
Ed Colby, a spokesman for ACT, said the company does not comment on pending litigation, but indicated that they are “committed to the appropriate use of information obtained through assessments.”