The Repercussions of the College Scandal

June 7, 2019

For people with mental disabilities, completing large standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, have always been a struggle, they do however get a break, with a varying amount of extra-time. Depending on the severity of the condition, the students will get increased amounts of time varying from time-and-a-half, to spread out over two or more days. When parents started getting in trouble for faking applications for prestigious colleges, and cheating on the ACT and SAT, they would often get a fake evaluation for disabilities like ADHD and ADD, by requesting to be evaluated and then pay the evaluator a large sum of money. This would allow the child to get extended time and make it sufficiently easier to cheat. When students that were diagnosed with such disabilities heard of the college scandal many were angry that this was allowed to pass under the noses of so many. 

Extra time is something that is often given as an option for all types of standardized tests. There is extra time on high school admissions tests like the ISEE and the SHSAT, that varies in length depending on the severity of the disability. This is very similar to the SAT and ACT where the child has to be evaluated by a professional to see whether he or she is given this extra time. This is where the loophole was discovered, technically speaking, the accommodation can come from any person that is a certified evaluator, so in the scandal case, the the man or woman evaluating the children would be paid a large sum of money to document a disability in the child. In an excerpt from the College Board site, for a student that requests extended time must “students requesting extended time should have documentation showing that they have difficulty performing timed tasks, such as testing under timed conditions.” So, in reality all a parent has to do is present a administrator with documentation saying my child struggles with tests, and they are granted extra time. As one can see, this is a simple system to bypass. 

There is a large population of students that take the SAT and ACT every year that have disabilities that grant them extra time. Out of all the students that take the test around five percent, or 100,000 students take it with extended time, clearly a very small portion of children. When people began to hear about the college admissions scandal people that were struck with disabilities attempting to take the tests were generally very angry. With this being exposed it shows how easy it really is to get time and a half or even double time. So when people that do not truly need it get extra time it makes it harder for the people that have serious disabilities to gain trust about their condition from professors or teachers. Many of these people now hope that this scandal does not permit them from qualifying for extra time, or does not make it more challenging to gain respect. 

Earlier in the year, soon after the scandal was first publicized, the XIIIs class spoke about their opinions on the matter. Having recently gone through a process very similar to the college process, we had decent idea of what these students were going through on their tests. The XIIIs created a t-chart on the board with one side being legal ways to practice for the test, and illegal ways, showing everything wrong that these parents had done. The XIIIs agreed that everything that the affluent parents had done with their children had been largely illegal, but there were other ways one can practice in a legal fashion. For the ISEE and SHSAT both New York high school admissions tests, many eighth graders in C&C and New York had the privilege to use often private tutors to help increase their knowledge about the content on said tests. 

The standardized tests have long been things that people study a very long time for, and for students with disabilities it becomes increasingly hard for them to do the test, some of them do not even get a chance to finish even with the test stretched for many days. When these perfectly fine children were just randomly allowed into their space for extra time it caused a large ruckus among the learning impaired community. 

 

 

 

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