Accommodations for Standardized Tests Shouldn’t be Easily Accessible
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Students in junior and senior year spend between one and ten hours a week studying for their ACT or SAT. They spend their time and money on classes, tutors, and books trying to show colleges that they’re good students. But do these standardized tests show who the students are? How smart they are? No, these tests show how well they cope under pressure. But more importantly, these tests show how much a student is willing to pay to get the “perfect” score.
According to Huffington Post, College Board signs off on 85 percent of students who apply for accommodations for the SAT, and ACT, Inc. approves 92 percent of students for the ACT. These accommodations include extended time, longer breaks, a reader or writer during the test, and word to word dictionaries. While I agree that there may be people who have learning disabilities and therefore have difficulties understanding information or take longer processing it, I believe that the accessibility of accommodations is being taken advantage of. A learning disability isn’t just a disorder that develops during the beginning of junior year, but a condition that a person has had since they were young. Many students spend their whole high school careers receiving decent grades, but when they reach junior year, they decide that they deserve special treatment. All it takes is between $1000 and $5000 and a student is suddenly the victim of some learning disability.
This extended time accommodation is affecting every upperclassmen in the country, including myself. A few month ago, I sat in a college counselor’s office distraught over my low ACT score. My report card is full of A’s and B’s but my uncontrollable stress has led to a disparity between my score and my GPA. Desperate to find a solution, my counselor suggested applying for extra time. I went home and considered this option. After a few days of looking back at my high school career, I realized that if I had received ideal grades and proven to be a good student for 3 years, I shouldn’t get extra time. I didn’t apply for an accommodation not because I was afraid of disappointing my family, but because I would be disappointing myself. Some people really do struggle with taking tests and need this extra time, but lack of stress management skills is just not a valid enough excuse.
Today, I write this petition frustrated with myself because I received yet another test score that doesn’t satisfy me. Meanwhile, I hear about classmates with similar grades as me, improving their scores by several points after receiving extra time they might not have deserved. If I would’ve gotten that 25, 40, or 50 percent extra extended time, my score could have improved as well. But instead, I chose to do what I felt was morally correct and received a score that reflects not my preparedness for college but rather how badly I manage my stress.
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 implies that a college can't deny a student because of a disability. While I agree with this law, I’m bothered that colleges review my application with the “same eyes” that they review my classmate’s application who received extra time during junior year. I’m writing this petition to ask College Board and ACT, Inc. to review accomodation applications more closely, as many students are taking advantage of its accessibility.
Please sign this petition if you believe College Board and ACT, Inc. should consider extended time applications more carefully before granting accommodations.
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