The Big College Scam: Extra time on SAT and ACT

19 Jan 2010

“- Find a past history of the disorder. Legitimate cases of ADHD tend to start at an earlier age, rather than erupting in college. In the United States, about 5-7% of children and up to 5% of teenagers are diagnosed as having ADHD. Typically there will be a “paper trail” of reports of unruly and inattentive behavior. Erratic performance on standardized tests is another indicator. Some who misuse this diagnosis whiz through undergraduate school. However, they ask to have ADHD privileges when they get into graduate school.”

19 Jan 2010

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects 2-3% of college students. These students may also have other disorders, like reading or math difficulties, or dyslexia (writing problems). They struggle to concentrate and apply themselves to their studies at school. Although they may demonstrate adequate intellectual and academic abilities, ADHD students still cannot finish homework assignments, papers and tests. They have trouble organizing their work, taking notes in class, and remembering due dates. They are easily distracted by unrelated stimuli during lectures and tests.

However, while juggling many social and academic obligations, similar problems occur with students who don’t have ADHD. Some students - who think they have ADHD - only need help in managing their time and developing efficient study methods.

19 Jan 2010

“Mardys Leeper and Carol Merrill, former teachers at West Philadelphia High School in Pennsylvania, say a special-education administrator there ordered them to pass special-education students. Ms. Leeper says she made concessions for students with disabilities, such as letting them write shorter essays or copy paragraphs she wrote onto a word processor rather than composing their own. But when those students didn’t make an effort, or skipped class, both teachers say they sometimes sought to fail them — only to have the administrator insist on passing grades. The reason they were given: Students had met the goals of their federally mandated individual education plans, IEPs, spelling out goals and services for each special-education student.”

19 Jan 2010


The proportion of disabled children who spend the bulk of their day in special-education classrooms at regular schools has fallen steadily since the early 1990s, as more students are mainstreamed.

Percentage of special-ed children who spend more than 60% of their day outside a regular classroom

19 Jan 2010

“Standardized tests are not meant to define people; they are used to measure a person’s aptitude on a certain type of test. If we are trying to measure fairly, we cannot give a certain class of people advantages, because then the tests no longer measure the same types of skills they were meant to in the first place.”

19 Jan 2010

“Equality in the United States used to mean equality of opportunity; everyone has a chance to take these standardized tests. Now we are faced with a different sort of equality; a type that homogenizes Americans into mediocrity. Excellence needs to be valued, not minimized. It is important to protect those with disabilities, but in an increasingly competitive world, we need to allow the best and brightest to succeed.”

19 Jan 2010

According to a 2003 New York Times article by Tamar Lewin, less than one percent of schools account for 24 percent of all accommodations nationwide. This means that a very small portion of students, in most cases the affluent, private-school educated students, are taking advantage of the system (unless there is a correlation with being more affluent and having learning disabilities, take your pick).

Why is this happening in the first place? A central goal of standardized tests is to serve as a predictor of future success. Students are not given extra study time in college or graduate school. If it takes one person 25 minutes to complete an assignment or prepare for a test, and another four hours, which person is more likely to succeed? In the work force there is no extra time. If one does not finish an assignment by a deadline, they cannot tell a client, “Well, actually, I qualify for extra time.”

So why should standardized tests allow some people extra time, while others are limited to a certain number of minutes per section? Furthermore, this time factor is discounted now that admissions officers cannot see which students have or have not received extra time on their exams.

19 Jan 2010

This is a scam!

Standardized tests should be STANDARD!

19 Jan 2010

Standardized tests are a factor of admission to nearly every school. Whether you take the SAT or ACT for college admission, the SSAT for private school, or one of the the many tests necessary for admission to graduate programs, standardized testing unwaveringly plays a part in the admissions process. The goal of these tests is evident in the name: standardized. Standardized tests are meant to evaluate every student who takes the test the same way, giving neither an advantage to someone who attends an uncompetitive school nor a disadvantage to someone who goes to a highly competitive school. A person who goes to a prestigious prep school or college may have an advantage in other aspects of the admissions process, but for the SAT, the LSAT, or the MCAT, the playing field is the same. The point of a standardized test is to ensure that every person taking the test has the same opportunity to perform to the best of their ability.

A significant factor in these tests is time. It is very limited and in theory rewards people who can think efficiently and accurately. Since 2003, however, the College Board has not reported to admissions officers whether or not students have received extra time on the SATs. While a relatively small number of students apply for, and receive, extra time on exams, these are often the students applying to competitive undergraduate and graduate schools.

19 Jan 2010

s→Educational Testing Service
Firm Agrees to Stop Flagging Disabled Students’ Test Scores
Exams: After being sued by rights group, Educational Testing Service drops policy of using an asterisk to mark results of those who got extra time.
California and the West

The Educational Testing Service announced Wednesday that it will discontinue flagging the results of disabled students who received extra time or other special accommodations on standardized tests widely used by colleges and graduate schools.

The new policy, developed to settle a lawsuit by an Oakland-based disability rights group, covers the Graduate Record Exam; the Graduate Management Admission Test, popular among MBA programs; the Praxis, a test of teachers; and the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

The new policy does not cover the SAT, the nation’s most popular test used for college admissions. Nor does it cover exams that help determine who gets into law school or medical school.

"The testing industry flags scores not to identify students as disabled, but rather to let score users know that the tests were taken with extended time," said Kurt Landgraf, ETS president.

The longtime practice of flagging such tests with an asterisk has been the subject of increasingly heated debate since Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Act a decade ago.

Educators and admissions officers argue that the asterisk gives them insights into certain students’ scores on tests that are all supposed to be taken under identical conditions. Sometimes, they said, an asterisk can help explain why a student does not do as well on standardized tests.

Meanwhile, advocates for the disabled said the flag, “Scores Obtained Under Special Conditions,” subjects such students to potential discrimination. Some have argued that colleges reject disabled students to avoid the extra costs of providing them with an education.