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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

What if everyone gets extra time on SAT?

Many more students are getting extra time to complete the SAT, primarily due to learning disability diagnoses.  Is the SAT still valid?, asks Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, who blogs at School Law Pro, in Education Week.

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In 2003, the College Board, which runs the SAT, stopped flagging results of students with disabilities who used extra time and other accommodations. The number of requests soared, as did fears that affluent parents were gaming the system to boost the scores of their not-really-disabled children.

“College Board set up a rigorous approval process for students seeking such accommodations, trying to keep the lid at around 2 percent of all test-takers,” writes Freedman. But, under pressure by the U.S. Justice Department, College Board has made it easier for students to get approval for extra time and other accommodation requests for the SAT, PSAT, SAT subject tests, and Advanced Placement exams. The ACT has made similar changes.

Next to come are accommodations for English Learners, writes Freedman.

Or are these modifications?

Allowing more time on a timed test is like changing font size on an eye exam. It’s no longer the same test.

But perhaps the SAT’s three-hour time limit (with an extra 50 minutes for those who choose to write an essay) is merely an administrative convenience, writes Freedman.

If timing is not essential to the SAT’s test validity, every student should be allowed unlimited time without question. These options would bypass the need for a disability or English-language-learner designation.
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