In affluent areas, many more students with poorly defined learning disabilities are boosting their scores by taking untimed SAT tests, writes Arthur Allen in Slate.
Nationwide, only 2 percent of students who have taken the SAT over the past 10 years have done so untimed. Most of these students’ diagnoses are presumably genuine. But in places like Greenwich, Conn., and certain zip codes of New York City and Los Angeles, the percentage of untimed test-taking is said to be close to 50 percent.
The number is going up as the SATs no longer flag untimed scores sent to colleges.
Despite threats of lawsuits, the (Association of American Medical Colleges) has refused to stop flagging results from untimed MCATs. Research led by the director of the MCAT, Ellen Julian, has shown both that MCAT test results are good predictors of medical-college performance, and that time extensions, on average, improve scores. Medical practice, of course, does not generally allow the luxury of time. “We think people with the ability to work speedily and efficiently will do better in medical school and as doctors,” Julian says.
Being able to work quickly and under pressure surely correlates with success in many fields.