<p>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.</p>
<p>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. </p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>If true -it would in fact be a scandal, and I cannot understand how the number could be this high</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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
<p>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. </p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>I have no personal experience to report. Being the cynic I am, my gut feeling is that there are probably outrages on both sides.</p>
<p>I wonder how the Greenwich percentages compare to those of other affluent areas.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>I also wonder if colleges have seen any differences in their admitted classes once the flagging of nonstandard administrations ceased.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>The Greenwich case is being cited everywhere - however apparently those who would know for sure - are holding back the info</p>
<p>one of many examples:
<p>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</p>
<p>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!!</p>
<p>welcome citiation X to the wonderful world of driver, pasrents2noles, fountainserien and the like.</p>
<p>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: </p>
<p>"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."</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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?</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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?</p>
<p>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. </p>
<p>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?</p>
<p>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?</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>well, obviously the extra time didn't give them that much of an advantage.</p>
<p>the mean SAT scores at my public highschool are 1250ish. </p>
<p>in fact, if you are taking honors courses and get in the mid 600s, you are deemed "retarded". </p>
<p>the only place where i'm ashamed of my 2250...haha.</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>70 to 80 points for the SAT (old scale combined) is one estimation of the difference, and it could be higher for certain students</p>
<p>Ok - if the time doesn't matter - just give everyone an extra 3 hours</p>
<p>"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?"</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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?</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>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...</p>
<p>life isn't fair. deal with it. then beat the crap out of the cheaters by owning them at life.</p>
<p>This is just another reason that the College Board is an unreliable indicator of college success. It really is true that the extra time doesn't add all that much of an extra score for most students who get it, and the irony is that now with the test so long anyway, the extra time can actually create a problem since most kids don't have the stamina for a test of this extended length. The issue is that lots of kids who truly need the extra time because they have been given it for documented LD aren't getting it because their schools are flagged for having "too many" LD kids, while other kids are getting the time when they may not have the same level of need. For many individual families who have tried multiple times to persuade the powers that be at the College Board that a particular student truly has valid reasons for needing extended time, it feels like dealing with an insurance agency, fighting to get essential care that is being denied. Tenacity and time and a lot of documentation which can cost a lot of money can sometimes achieve desired results - and the privledged are in a better position to have that time and money. But generalizations are not useful. Any child, regardless of socioeconomic class, may or may not have real needs, but the College Board is way too big and bureaucratic to be able to make accurate assessments.</p>
<p>A world without SATs sounds good in theory - but it would be a disaster for colleges as they would be unable to distinguish excellent students from average students - as high school grades/rank/recommendations etc - can tell very little about certain students</p>
<p>As for Greenwich - the number seem too high to be real: however I see Wayland, MA - another very wealthy community somehow having (amazingly enough) 12% of its students LD designated for the SAT, which is way too high also. Certainly the SAT is being LD gamed big time in certain locales</p>
<p>More time for SATs a concern
By Ron DePasquale, Globe Correspondent | June 1, 2006</p>
<p>A Wayland High School guidance counselor has questioned the unusually high number of suburban students who receive extra time on the SAT college entrance exam because they have a learning disability, warning that some may not be truly disabled.</p>
<p><code>Like everything else in life, the rich have access to things that others don't, and kids with subtle learning issues can afford to pay a psychologist to call it a disability" and gain an edge on the test, said Norma Greenberg, guidance director at Wayland High School.</code>`There are a hell of a lot more doing this now."
Statewide, about 5 percent of students are granted accommodations (usually extra time) on the test, more than twice the national average of about 2 percent.
In Wayland, 12 percent of students get accommodations, said Greenberg, who injected herself into a national debate over the issue when she was quoted on network TV earlier this spring.
Brian O'Reilly, spokesman for the College Board, which administers the SATs, said he saw nothing nefarious in the fact that the number of students receiving accomodations nationally has nearly doubled since 1995.
Many years ago, students with disabilities were not considered eligible for college," O'Reilly said.Fortunately, that's changed a great deal, and there are many more students with disabilities taking the SAT."
O'Reilly said more suburban students are classified as disabled than urban students because suburban schools are simply better equipped to spot and assist them.
Greenberg, however, said that wealthy students who simply aren't great at the SAT are turning a simple weakness into a learning disability.
In the old days, you could tell students they were not good test takers, and they were OK with that," she said.Some people can't shoot a basketball -- that doesn't mean you're disabled. With learning, it's the same thing, everyone has strengths and weaknesses."
Parents who want to boost their children's scores refuse to accept that their child simply has a weakness, Greenberg said.
In most cases, a team of school officials that usually includes a guidance counselor and a school psychologist first evaluates disability evaluations before sending them on to the College Board, which then must approve them, O'Reilly said. Some students, usually from private schools, apply directly to the College Board for extra time.
O'Reilly said the number of students receiving extra time leveled off about five years ago. In the fall of 2003, the College Board discontinued its practice of flagging a student's scores when they had been given extra time. There hasn't been a significant jump in disability determinations since then.
Thom Hughart , Wellesley High School guidance director, said he was concerned, too, about students seeking an unfair advantage on the test.
Wellesley students can expect a strict evaluation of disability before it even goes to the College Board, Hughart said. Students only interested in receiving extra time on the SAT and not in other forms of assistance are treated suspiciously, he said.
I've got one or two I'm now looking at that I'm probably not going to grant," Hughart said.Students can't just say they get distracted and nervous and they need extra time."
Harvard graduate student Sam Abrams , who is studying how the issue plays out in the Washington, D.C. , area, said the situation is ``an absolute disaster."
``Students of high status with money, who are white and attend ing private schools or elite suburban high schools , are the ones who take advantage of the relative ease to gain disability qualifications and extended time on the SAT," he said.
Some college admissions officials, however, downplayed the SAT's importance and said they didn't fear widespread abuse.
``I've heard the same rumor and innuendo for years, and I'm very skeptical," said John Mahoney , director of undergraduate admission at Boston College.
Mahoney called the disparity between the number of suburban and urban disabled students a concern but said he saw progress overall.
When I first stepped into a classroom 25 years ago, if a kid said he had a learning disability, you didn't even know what he was talking about," said Mahoney, who once taught at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers.There's so much more awareness now."
Wendy Byrnes , a family advocate with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, based in Berkeley, Calif., said she thinks that most students receiving extra time are genuinely disabled.
``This is a necessary process that allows them to participate like other students," Byrnes said.</p>
<p>This coming weekend are the final SAT tests for the season.</p>
<p>Greenberg and some other critics have a suggestion they believe would restore fairness: Give all students as much time as they need to finish the test.</p>
<p><code>The MCAS is not timed, so why shouldn't the highest-stakes test for kids be the same?" said Wayland's Greenberg.</code>It would make such a huge difference for so many. Just the knowledge of having as much time as you need would help kids relax a bit."</p>
<p>I must say I am mystified by the Greenwich statistics cited here. If you'll scroll down to the CC LD board, you'll find a number of families with students with serious, legitimate LD's that have been properly diagnosed and then accomodated in their public and private schools for years, who are nevertheless being turned down for accomodations by ETS and ACT. Some receive appropriate accomodations and others don't in a process that sounds, in some respects, random. I would be very interested in knowing more about the internal, decision-making processes of the ETS and ACT in granting and denying accomodations, and whether they believe that they are, in fact, bound to comply with the standards of the Americans With Disabilites Act, or with LD students' IEP or 504 plans. The notion that some vast number of suburban rich kids somehow got shady testing firms to dummy up their psych and neuro-psych testing to the point that their schools and ETS/ACT bought it just doesn't seem plausible -- so what is going on, and why are so many legitimately LD (and I don't mean what Citation is calling some "inventive" LD that suddenly pops up, say, 45 minutes before the deadline to apply for SAT accomodation) students being denied?</p>