Understanding extended time on standardized tests


Education should be fair for everyone. Some of us have issues that require more time on standardized tests in order to truly measure our abilities.

Understanding who is eligible and how to apply is important for college-age students and their parents.

Common conditions eligible for extended time

Dyslexia is a life-long condition that causes difficulty with reading. This condition is the most common learning condition, with experts suggesting that it affects somewhere around 5 to 10 percent of people. Others believe the number may be as high as 17 percent.

Dyslexia may make it difficult for

  • reading comprehension
  • spelling
  • writing
  • math

It is vital for those affected with dyslexia to understand dyslexia is not a reflection of intelligence; it only adds challenges to the learning process and requires an extra effort to find each person's own unique learning style.

Furthermore, people with dyslexia need more time to accommodate their condition. With added time, the playing field is leveled, anxiety lessens, and success is within reach. Click here to read an inspiring and informative story about a woman growing up with dyslexia who went on to get a master's degree.

Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD) also causes difficulty learning in classrooms. Extra time can take some of the pressure off in a test situation and may help improve performance.

Other conditions eligible include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Physical/Medical Disabilities 
    • Cerebral Palsy
    • Diabetes
    • Short term injuries/disabilities

Professional assessment and diagnosis

In order to receive extended SAT test time, The College Board requires evaluation, diagnosis, and documentation of the condition. The information must be current and up to date (over the last 12 months).

Additionally, the relevant history that supports the diagnosis such as educational records, and developmental and medical history must be provided.  Below are details which The College Board will require:

  • Historical information concerning the onset of the condition
  • Description of current abilities
  • The impact on the performance of accommodations that have been made in-school
  • Response to medication or other interventions.

Get your evaluation

If you're in need of extended time on standardized tests or other aid in the classroom, be in touch with a psychologist in your city that provides evaluations. To get testing and evaluation in your city, click here for a list of therapists that can help, or take the first step by speaking to your or your child's teacher.

Dr. Winarick is experienced and provides documentation assessment for extended time for standardized tests.

About the author: Dr. Daniel Winarick is a licensed clinical psychologist in Manhattan. He specializes in treating a range of mental health conditions, and provides educational testing for children and adults, including neuropsychological testingADD testingpsycho-educational evaluations, emotional functioning testing, and personality testing.

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