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While general discussion about the ACT test is allowed by ACT, discussion of test questions may violate your agreement with ACT. Please be thoughtful in your posts and replies.

ACT with Extended Time


Replies to: ACT with Extended Time

  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 1,820 Senior Member
    no, why would it be unfair for someone who has a vision impairment or a learning disability, etc.?
    Using that logic, shouldn't a person with weak muscle tone be allowed to run the 100 meter sprint by starting at the 50-meter line?

    The purpose of the ACT and SAT is to allow colleges another way to compare students to each other. It seems to me there are only two fair ways to do this: 1) Have everyone test under the same conditions. or 2) Allow variations, but mark them on the score report.
  • Gandhi21Gandhi21 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    @hebegebe I'm sure most kids that receive extra time would not mind it showing on their score report. I know I wouldn't. The test is supposed to model my readiness for college. Just cause I read a bit slower does not mean that I am any less competent. The fact that I can't bubble quickly cause I can't see the bubbles doesn't make me any less intelligent. And in reality, having more time to stare at a problem you don't know isn't going to help anyone. Problems don't "magically" solve themselves. It is true that the system is abused by many but the ACT has made it quite hard to get extended time. And growing up in a small town with very little money, I think it's somewhat "unfair" that other schools have ACT Prep classes, and at my school the proctor told me he scored a 38. At the end of the day, many kids need the extra time to show colleges how well they can actually perform. The colleges themselves would be missing out on many intelligent kids just cause these kids cant see well or they need more breaks to maintain their health. Just because a few people abuse the system does not mean that everybody does!
  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 1,820 Senior Member

    While it's true that problems won't solve themselves, students often face time pressure. I believe that is by design; the test measures how well students can handle questions with increasing difficulty in a limited amount of time. The time pressure can cause students to make mistakes or run out out time before getting to problems they could solve.

    If the purpose is to only measure what people could do given enough time, why not allow everyone to have unlimited time (within limits of course)?
  • Gandhi21Gandhi21 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    @hebegebe I completely agree with the idea of making the test harder but giving students as much time as needed. However, I'm not the one who makes that decision or designs the test, so my opinion has no value. I take an extremely rigorous courseload and have a 4.0 UW GPA and a class rank of 1/600. My previous score and my practice test scores (without extended time) correlate in no way to my academic performance. I can work as hard as possible and take tons of practice tests, but I will never get my reading speed up to the ridiculous expectations. By the time my eyes focus on a piece, other kids have already read several sentences. Believe me, I would trade my extra time for 20/20 vision in a heartbeat. In a perfect world, I would be able to borrow someone else's vision for the test, but that just isn't possible. :)
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 602 Member
    Rhetorical questions:

    Does one with a disability that necessitates more time on the ACT have a moral obligation to declare the disability in university applications? or do you think that it is acceptable to conceal this information from admission committees?

    Personally, I think that disclosure is appropriate because, once admitted, it is highly unlikely that the OP will get 50% more time on any of the tests taken in his/her classes. And, even if I am wrong and the university does make such accommodations, doesn't the university have the right to anticipate and plan for the allocation of resources for such admitted students?
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 602 Member
    edited February 2016
    Gandhi21, does your high school allow you more time for in-class tests than your fellow students that don't have a disability like yours? Did you take English classes with timed tests that required reading and responses? Did you accomplish your 4.0 UW GPA and 1/600 class rank without special accommodations?
  • Gandhi21Gandhi21 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    @whatisyourquest I have never used extra time nor needed extra time in class. That being said none of my teachers have given a test with as ridiculous a time limit as the ACT. In class, I actually use a monocular to see the board (not kidding). Honestly, I have never had any problems finishing tests in AP English because the teacher always provides the entire class a reasonable amount of time.

    I don't feel like disclosure is a "moral obligation" since getting extra time is in no way cheating or illegal. Personally, I have no problem detailing my disability to colleges for the reasons you listed above^^. After all, I may need certain accommodations from them (seat closer to the board/screen,etc...), however, it is the student's discretion whether or not to reveal the disability not ACT's.

    Lastly, I would never major in a reading intensive subject such as Literature because I know my visual impairment would be a major problem. I plan on majoring in a STEM field because my mathematical ability is not hindered by my vision compared to my reading ability.

    On a side note: I have found it really interesting that, even in past threads, people mainly find extra time unfair when the test taker scores high. Nobody worries about a low scorers accommodations even if their situation is the same as the high scorers.
    In reality, test scores are a very small part of the college admissions process, and no candidate will be chosen by a top tier school if they are not holistically brilliant. The ACT is just one small way of showing colleges that they are picking a student who can handle the course load.

  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 602 Member
    edited February 2016
    @Gandhi21, in #9 you wrote:

    "Do you think I should retake for a 36? I think it may be attainable, but would it be that helpful in the long run?"

    And yet your wrote in #22:

    "In reality, test scores are a very small part of the college admissions process"

    In summary:

    You have a 4.0 UW GPA, are 1/600 in your class, and made an ACT 35C (with extra time) -- which puts you roughly in the 99.6 percentile (!). Yet you are actually considering retaking the test (with extra time)?? Wow.

    I'm sorry. I don't know you, but it really comes across like you are trying to game the system...

    Finally, you wrote:

    "Personally, I have no problem detailing my disability to colleges for the reasons you listed above"

    So, if you are not gaming the system and have "no problem detailing (your) disability", will you in fact disclose this information in your applications (and that you received extra time on the ACT) even if it is not "cheating" or "illegal"? To do so would show honesty and integrity.
  • Gandhi21Gandhi21 Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    edited February 2016
    @whatisyourquest I didn't mean to come off as "gamig the system." I only asked if I should retake since the previous poster had mentioned that scores go up after multiple attempts and I had heard that certain schools give out full rides to specifically 36ers. I was just wondering if the pister had any reasons for why I should retake. I don't have many people in my area (including counsellors) who have much knowledge of this stuff so I try to learn from posters as much as possible. And I made the comment about scores being only a small part of the application cause people seemed to be worried that extra time would lead to under qualified kids getting into good schools and thus having a hard time maintaining their grades. My comment was meant to stress that much more than just scores are looked at to see if a student will thrive at a certain school.

    I have no problem mentioning that I got extra time. After seeing that I have a serious eye problem, they'll probably think I'm lackluster if I don't get extra time when I have the reasons to. They'll probably assume anyways since my reading score moved up 5 points in one month which is unprecedented.

    My primary goal in these posts is to encourage future test takers to consider extra time if they have a serious disability. I don't want them to feel like they're doing anything wrong by requesting extra time. When I applied for extra time, I was morally torn until I realized I was doing nothing wrong. There is no crime or immorality to asking for extra time if it is needed!
  • LKnomadLKnomad Registered User Posts: 1,251 Senior Member
    There are always those who seem unable to understand why someone with a disability should be allowed accommodations. The purpose is the level the playing field, so that those who experience education at a disadvantage, can have as much of a chance to succeed as their non disabled peers.

    It is extremely difficult to obtain accommodations. You cannot just write to the SAT/ACT and say "please may I have more time?" You have to present documentation showing not only that you have a disability, diagnosed by a licensed professional, but that you have been receiving accommodations throughout your schooling. Even with this proof, students get denied and have to fight the system. The testing necessary to show the need for accommodations can run into the thousands.

    For a student, like my younger son, who deals with dysgraphia, phonological problems, and auditory processing issues, accommodations will give him the chance to succeed. It will not give him an advantage over his peers, it will allow him the same opportunities as his peers. It is not about gaming the system. It is about keeping it fair for everyone, even those who have challenges.

    And for many students who receive accommodations, they are also given similar options once they get to college through the university's disability center. There are people there to help as well.
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 602 Member
    edited February 2016
    I push back because something seems very odd. The OP has a 4.0 UW GPA and class rank 1/600 without any special accommodations in his/her high school classes (including English) but needs extra time on the ACT? @celesteroberts what is your opinion about that? Is it harassment to ask for an explanation? What are your motivations for not questioning that disparity?

    At any rate, Gandhi21, I wish you well. With your academic record you should have no trouble being accepted at many fabulous universities.
  • CourtneyThurstonCourtneyThurston Registered User Posts: 1,250 Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    "On a side note: I have found it really interesting that, even in past threads, people mainly find extra time unfair when the test taker scores high. Nobody worries about a low scorers accommodations even if their situation is the same as the high scorers."

    It's only "unfair" when you outscore their kid -- who struggles with no disability, and still can't match you ;)

  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    edited February 2016
    Using that logic, shouldn't a person with weak muscle tone be allowed to run the 100 meter sprint by starting at the 50-meter line?
    With all due respect, that is an absurd argument, the quintessential straw man. The entire point of an athletic event is to find the best athlete or the best team. The point of academic testing is to ensure the person knows the material and to assess the extent of that knowledge by assigning a grade; time is hardly the most important factor in the assessment, while for track time is the only assessment that is important. Now certainly one wants to test a group under similar conditions, so typically the entire class is in a room, monitored for cheating, and allowed the same amount of time.

    However, if most agree that those conditions do not accurately reflect the ability of someone with dyslexia or some other condition to display their true knowledge, they make their best efforts to adjust the conditions, usually time but sometimes by giving the questions aurally rather than in writing for example, so as to allow that student to similarly show their true grasp of the material. Which again is the actual goal of the test, not to see if they know it under some arbitrary time frame. One cannot take that too far, there is not infinite time for people to take on a test. But it is important to always remember what it is one is trying to achieve.

    I would also point out that people with these conditions most likely are having to study an equivalent percentage of extra time. So in that sense there is a measure of fundamental fairness there. For those that talked about the 20% deficit when they got a 50% increase in time...I hardly know what to say to that. How in the world would they ascertain the exact level of deficit for each case, much less administer it? Surprise, it isn't a perfect world.

    Does anyone care if it took Einstein 2 months, 2 years, or 20 years to come up with the theory of relativity? Of course not, all that counts is that he had the brains to do it. Within the construct of the educational establishment, that is what testing is meant to ferret out as well. What do you know and how well do you really understand what you know. We ascertain that within our very human limitations, and try to be fair to all. Before universities were willing to accommodate such needs, we no doubt lost a lot of talent to unfair assessments.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    Some of these posts are coming dangerously close to attacking the OP. Implying ill motives is not allowed. Let's keep the discussion on track and remember the Terms of Service to continue posting on this site.
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