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IVY's accept Greenwich, Connecticut untimed SAT scores? Why?

CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
edited November 2006 in College Admissions
http://www.slate.com/id/2141820/device/html40/workarea/3/?nav=ais

It has been widely reported by various souces that in Greenwich, CT ALLEGEDLY somewhere between 30 to 50% of students in this highly affluent community are taking either UNTIMED SAT tests (or at a min getting 50% more time) . This of course is just the tip of the iceberg, but if true - represents possibly the most outrageous use of untimed SAT testing.

It may or may not be true - as it's difficult to ascertain for sure

Such non-standard testing conditions offers huge advantages to test takers

A decade or so ago approximately one-half of ONE percent of SAT takers were given special extra time, probably the majority for very valid reasons, and now its more than 2% nationwide, yet Greenwich, CT is apparently somewhere between 30 to 50%?

Educational Testing Service will not release precise figures to answer this question

Note that people with learning disabilities before 2003 who used the LD status to obtain special conditions - had it noted on the test

Since 2003, such non-standardized test taking conditions are not noted on the test results - meaning the colleges are now effectively operating blind

How is this possible that THIS many people have "Learning Disabilities in this community"?

Why would top colleges accept SATs results when this many students are quite clearly gaming the system?

Consider that the legal case that caused this LD non-disclosure to become standard - was a case about a student w/o hands - yet is now being abused by people with SOMETIMES either exaggerated or made-up or hyped-up learning disabilities, syndromes, or even claimed slow reading or slow processing deficits - which represents a massive abuse of the SAT testing system
edited November 2006
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Replies to: IVY's accept Greenwich, Connecticut untimed SAT scores? Why?

  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    From a local real estate company web site bragging about Greenwich SAT scores:

    Excellent Education

    Greenwich Public Schools (10 elementary, 3 middle and 1 high school) are rated first or second in Connecticut—40% of the graduates go to the "Most Competitive Colleges." The school budget is $70 million. The average class size is 20 students and over 90% of the teachers have masters degrees. SAT scores had a mean of 1125 (571 in math and 554 in verbal). Eighty-one percent of the students scored at the Mastery Level set by the State of Connecticut
    http://www.greenwichspecialists.com/Overview.htm
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  • lionofjudah89lionofjudah89 91 replies24 threads Junior Member
    that is sad.
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  • wheretogo777wheretogo777 6 replies2 threads New Member
    isn't slate supposed to be a comedy/parody type site. I don't think it's true. Greenwich is likely to have high scores anyway. It is one of the richest towns in America. Money means better education (usually).
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  • dadx3dadx3 1486 replies73 threads Senior Member
    I find parts of this story literally difficult to believe. I know that CB will give either 50% or more rarely 100% extra time as an accomodation, but have never heard of an untimed administration. For me, this apparent inaccuracy in reporting calls into question the entire story.
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  • Irishmomof2Irishmomof2 945 replies18 threads Member
    It is true, actually - it was reported several years ago in The Hartford Courant that the county with the highest number of students who were identified as Learning Disabled was Fairfield County, CT, which is where Greenwich is, and where all the money is, too.

    Because so many kids are diagnosed LD, they are able to get exceptions to various tests, like the SATs. I'm not sure if it's completely untimed, or whether they are simply given a set amount of additional time. Not all Greenwich students get this perk, just the students who are diagnosed LD. The parents of kids in Greenwich are top executives, lawyers, doctors - basically, people at the top of their professions. I imagine they tend to be extremely competitive and will find whatever advantage they can to keep their kids in the same tax bracket.
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  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    LD who for example are slow readers or "slow processors" by nearly all accounts either receive and extra 1.5 hours or "unlimited time" (whatever that means, maybe until the sun sets?) . However this 50% number in reference to the number of non-standard test takers for Greenwich does seem very high and makes one wonder how Ivy League schools could even consider a test result from that district as valid

    Ask yourself this: the non-LD students UNDER NORMAL TESTING TIME GUIDELINES - who are Greenwich students - how would they be judged? A college wouldn't be able to segregate who did what in what time.

    If true -it would in fact be a scandal, and I cannot understand how the number could be this high

    By some definitions, nearly every person on the planet might have some "learing disability" The SAT exam will soon become meaningless if these clear abuses continue

    Now we have companies which offer "Psychoeducational evaluations." Check out this "resource" and you will see how much potential abuse is likely going on here
    http://www.edufax.com/faqld.html
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  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    Time to accomplish a task is an integral component to nearly any form of intelligence - and in real life situations the airline pilot landing the plane, the doctor in the operating theater, or the lawyer in the courtroom - time and pressure can and does matter.

    Part of the problem apparently is that ETS in their haste to prove that the SAT is not partly a disguised IQ test (which it no doubt is on a timed basis) - started to suggest the time factor was only one of logistics in the testing centers, when everyone knows time is an integral component to nearly any measure of intelligence - even the so-called non-standard measure of intelligence such as EQ skills and/or introspective or other abilities etc
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  • DianeRDianeR 1521 replies20 threads Senior Member
    This does seem peculiar. Hanging out on other forums, I hear about how hard it is for kids with actual disabilities to get accommodations, even if they have been in special ed for years, have all the testing, etc. The perceptions seem to be quite different depending on which perspective is being reported.

    I'm not talking simply about slow reading or processing. I've heard a number of parents who have gone through the wringer to try to get added time or a computer for the writing sample for kids with severe dysgraphia, fine motor problems that significantly slow the ability to fill in dots or write an essay by hand.

    I have no personal experience to report. Being the cynic I am, my gut feeling is that there are probably outrages on both sides.

    I wonder how the Greenwich percentages compare to those of other affluent areas.

    To what extent is added time an advantage? Do people feel they could have significantly higher scores if they had more time? I know that the ACT seems more time constainted to many. But do people have problems finishing the SAT in the time given? My kids did some sample tests at home, both timed and untimed, and their scores were pretty much the same for both.

    I also wonder if colleges have seen any differences in their admitted classes once the flagging of nonstandard administrations ceased.

    I know, I am raising more questions than giving answers. This subject is one of concern to many; I wish there were some hard facts out there.
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  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    The Greenwich case is being cited everywhere - however apparently those who would know for sure - are holding back the info

    one of many examples:
    http://www.connsensebulletin.com/badidea.html
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  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    Note SO FAR the MCAT (for medical schools) and the LSAT (for law schools) have both resisted pressure and still do not allow extra time for these so-called Learning Disabilities -meaning the non-physical ones for sure
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  • tanyanubintanyanubin 440 replies40 threads Member
    Yea, they are ruining it for everyone who actually needs the extra time. My daughter has a visual disability that greatly slows down her reading (her eyes don't work together so the words jump around). We have tons of medical documentation. We've tried 3X to get extended time for the SATs. She's been turned down 3X. So she'll take them normally. They did give her a larger font booklet for the PSAT, which turned out to be so large and unwieldy that she turned it in at the first break for a normal booklet. She did fine on the math, but was unable to finish the reading. So her Critical reading score is sure to be far below her math. Whatever. We tried our best to get it done, and it was a year-long fight. It is just extremely frustrating to hear that the people with the big $ and lawyers are abusing the system to the detriment of kids who actually need the help. AAAARGH!!
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  • tsdadtsdad 3882 replies153 threads Senior Member
    welcome citiation X to the wonderful world of driver, pasrents2noles, fountainserien and the like.
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  • dadx3dadx3 1486 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Is it just me, or do others find the reporting in the Slate article slippery? Here's the key quote apparently referenced by the OP:

    "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."

    There is no source quoted as saying this. "Said to be" is an easy way to avoid quoting a source, if there really is an authoritative source. What does "close to 50 percent" mean? And I find it extremely difficult to believe that anything like 50% of the kids are literally taking the test untimed. Although I am aware of accomodations of 50% extra time and 100% extra time, I am not aware of these tests being literally untimed. If this is an accomodation that truly is available (it is not one of the options on the CB application form), I'm sure it happens extremely rarely, even in Greenwich, CT.

    Given the sloppy reporting in the article, I have trouble accepting any of its conclusions. While I'm sure that abuse does exist, and that families with lots of money have more potential to game the system, I know that CB has made the hurdle quite high for those applying for accomodations.

    I looked at the paper referenced in the Slate article. It reported that test takers getting time accomodation in recent years were getting scores that were on average 0.1 to 0.2 standard deviations higher than the authors expected. This means about 10 or maybe 20 points. I don't think this something to get overly excited about.
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  • DianeRDianeR 1521 replies20 threads Senior Member
    No, it isn't just you. The article is full of comments that seem to call for documentation that isn't there, like: "Since they can no longer rely on flagging to help them suss this out, some college admissions officers have become generally skeptical of SAT results." Really ... where are they saying that?

    The article says close to 50% in Greenwich are taking untimed tests. Yet the other article says it is nearly one in three that are labeled (more common to be labeled than to get additional time, and untimed tests would be rarer than being given a certain amount of additional time). Both cannot be correct.

    The article says that some DC parents are trying to get their kids into Ivy League schools by means of accommodated tests. With average scores of 1,105, I don't think they are getting very far. The fact is that only motivated (and likely affluent) parents are likely to get accommodations or special ed in DC schools. Without accommodations in one's school, there is no way of getting them from the College Board.

    The DC special ed system is very bad. (The sources of my conclusion: I live in a suburb and for a time had a child in a private special ed school. I met many DC parents during that time and they all told the same story. There are also periodic lawsuits and exposes in the paper and we know some attorneys handling such work.) To get service at all often requires hiring an attorney. The likelihood that there are kids who should have accommodations but don't is fairly high in the District. Couple this with the fact that socioeconomic level or parental interest in education tend to make for higher scores, and I see nothing sinister in the fact that scores from nonstandard tests are higher than those with standard tests in the city. The regular education system is also poor.

    This time through I read the Connecticut psychiatrist's response. This is closer to the anecdotal reports I've heard in recent years of the difficulty in getting SAT accommodations.

    I wonder if some are assuming that anyone with an IEP or a Section 504 plan necessarily is being allowed to take the SAT with extra time or completely untimed?

    Interestingly enough, I share some of the second article's concerns about kids being labeled and accommodated, rather than having weaknesses being remediated. There seems to be too much of a tendency to label those children on the far side of the normal curve in developing certain abilities as having disabilities that need accommodating, rather than as weaknesses that might be overcome with the proper intervention (or the passage of time). My daughter went through the labelling game for years and we reached the point where all the public school wanted to do was accommodate. That is simpler and cheaper than actually remediating. They even gave her accommodations she didn't need and we didn't ask for; it was much easier to treat all special needs kids the same way.

    So how much of the increase in accommodations is due to parents trying to game the system and how much due to trends in special education, with educators telling parents that their children need those accommodations?
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  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom 12783 replies375 threads- Senior Member
    has anyone done studies as to why such a community has so many kids with LD? is it the water, the air, the video games?

    seriouslly, we have a community with a much higher average rate of breast cancer and studies are finally being done, after much pressure from famlies, etc.

    so why aren't these families going, hey wait a minute, is there something wrong here? why are our kids so much more affected with LD than other students around the country

    if it was really an true case of that many kids with LDs or whatever, I can assure you those parents wouldn't just make the one adjustment with a national test
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  • MissSuperFantasticMissSuperFantastic 573 replies28 threads Member
    well, obviously the extra time didn't give them that much of an advantage.

    the mean SAT scores at my public highschool are 1250ish.

    in fact, if you are taking honors courses and get in the mid 600s, you are deemed "****".

    the only place where i'm ashamed of my 2250...haha.
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  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    Anyone that thinks getting an extra 1.5 to 3 hours or maybe longer doesn't matter with for example a student (diagnosed with an inventive "learning disability") who might (w/o special conditions) already be at in the 1400 range - is not dealing with reality. An SAT old scale 1450 and a 1530 can be in some cases be the difference between being accepted at an Ivy League college or not being accepted

    70 to 80 points for the SAT (old scale combined) is one estimation of the difference, and it could be higher for certain students

    see: http://www.hoover.org/publications/ednext/3346301.html

    Ok - if the time doesn't matter - just give everyone an extra 3 hours
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  • CITATION XCITATION X 729 replies12 threads. Member
    "has anyone done studies as to why such a community has so many kids with LD? is it the water, the air, the video games?"

    That is the big mystery, and something very strange must be happening there, however one factor could be that many of the firms doing so-called "Psychoeducational evaluations" -may tend to be located in these affluent areas such as Greenwich or nearby -not that is matters anyways because some of these firms offer "fly-in" in person diagnosis anywhere in the country

    What I cannot fathom is: if it turned out certain kids (with the help of LD status) ended up getting 2400 SAT scores and other (non-LD) kids in the class were scoring in the 2300 or lower range - and these fake LD kids were grabbing the slots in the top colleges - wouldn't someone at these schools blow the whistle?

    Note that apparently a publication called EDUCATION WEEK back in 2001 flagged Greenwich as a problem with 1 out 3 (at that point) designated as Learning Disabled - years before Slate and other spoke of a 1 in 2 rate

    see http://www.connsensebulletin.com/badidea.html
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  • citygirlsmomcitygirlsmom 12783 replies375 threads- Senior Member
    I gt that most of the kids diagnosed in this community are really with the LD affliction, but why isn't the community concerned at all at the staggering numbers, why is the school district concerned, the board of education

    I remember on place where all these boys were given meds for ADD and ADHD, an outrageous percentage, WAY above the norm, it was a doctor who was saying that the behaviors weren' t "normal" they were...
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  • azsxdcazsxdc 756 replies76 threads Member
    life isn't fair. deal with it. then beat the crap out of the cheaters by owning them at life.
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