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Extra Time for Students With Learning Disabilities Does Not Skew SAT Scores

Requests for extended time are the most common but contentious accommodation requests made by students with learning disabilities (LD) and/or AD/HD taking college entrance and licensing exams. According to a new study in Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, students given extra time respond to exams similarly to average students under normal time constraints.

According to my research, there is no real evidence to suggest that the scores on the Critical Reading, Math, and Writing sections of the SAT Reasoning Test have different interpretations when examinees receive extended time, says study author Jennifer H. Lindstrom, an assistant professor of education at the University of Virginia.

Study results indicate that students who take the SAT within the normal allotted time and students with LD and/or AD/HD given extended time both responded to all sections of the test in the same way, suggesting that the test is measuring the same aspects of knowledge for both groups.

College admissions officers should consider these results as evidence that scores from an extended-time administration of the SAT have the same meaning, and therefore can be interpreted in the same way, as scores from standard time administrations, says Lindstrom.

In recent years, disagreements over the provision of test accommodations on licensing exams have been so controversial that some students have filed lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against licensing boards. I hope that this study will serve as an important basis upon which accommodation-related decisions can be made by licensing boards and, ultimately, prevent future cases from occurring, says Lindstrom.


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