Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Test Wars: SAT vs. ACT, Writing, and Time

MSNBC has an article on the test wars: ACT vs SAT for college. SAT is in the doghouse because of scoring errors, and the new not-so-improved long SAT has had a drop in scores, perhaps because the total sitdown time now bulges out to 5 hours.

The College Board (SAT) is particularly stubborn about denying accommodations to students...since it made the decision to not flag the scores of students who had extra time as a test accommodation.

Currently, the College Board only grants about 2% of students accommodations for tests, this in contrast to the expected incidence of disabilities according to the NIHCD of about 5-10%.

Because the ACT has writing as an option, not as a requirement, this will be the preferred test for many college-students with disabilities, including those with dyslexia, fine motor coordination challenges, or diagnoses such as ADD or autism spectrum. Kids with slowed processing, impaired word retrieval, verbal organizers will also struggle timed writing on the SAT.

Slowed processing unfortunately does not qualify as a specific learning disability, but it certainly will give an underestimate of intellectual potential on many IQ and achievement tests. If the worry is too many students faking LD's and getting an advantage with extra time, then untimed testing for all should be a consideration.

BTW, many people often equate slow talking and slow speaking with retardation, or at least subnormal intellectual ability, but slow talking occurs in many different settings, and it is found not infrequently among gifted scientists, mathematicians (Pierre Curie, Roger Penrose) and gifted orators like Churchill or James Earl Jones .

Test Wars: ACT vs SAT - MSNBC.com
Disability the SAT
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Flashes from the Past: "He was a bit of a dud in math..."
Geniuses at a Loss for Words pdf
James Earl Jones

1 comment:

  1. My son has received writing accomodations on the college board test--AP and SAT--He is now 16 and a junior in high school. He has a long history of dysgraphia caused by motor difficulty and fatigue from a connective tissue disorder--The only accomodation he has is to be able to type any written part of the test.

    It was a long and difficult procedure to work with the school and college board. He was denied the first time we applied, but later found out the coordinating teacher had not sent medical history that was in his file. After it was resubmitted, there was not a problem. Sometimes the staff at the school that does submit the paperwork isn't knowledgeable and therefore not everything gets sent.

    My son has used this accomodation twice on 2 AP exams. He had scores of 5 on both exams.