ERIC Number: EJ763294
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: N/A
Unflagged SATs: Who Benefits from Special Accommodations?
Abrams, Samuel J.
Education Next, v5 n3 p42-44 Sum 2005
When the College Board announced, in the summer of 2002, that it would stop "flagging" the test scores of students who were given special accommodations for the SAT, the gold standard exam for college admission, disability advocates were thrilled. "A triumphant day for millions of people with dyslexia and other disabilities," exclaimed Thomas Viall, the executive director of the International Dyslexia Association. "With the 'scarlet letter' gone, people with disabilities are given the chance to succeed, based on their abilities." Indeed, the scarlet letter disappeared in October of 2003, but not everyone was so sanguine about the possible consequences. Miriam Freedman, an attorney specializing in issues of testing, standards, and students with disabilities, expressed the concern of many academics and practitioners that the deflagging decision would drive requests for special accommodations skyward as more students saw an opportunity to secure an advantage without anyone knowing it. Surprisingly, now that detailed 2004 SAT results have become available, it appears that growth in special accommodations is not the real problem. Dropping the flag did not accelerate the already steep climb in the numbers of test-takers given special accommodation--it appears to have reversed it. As it turns out, the College Board, worried about the rush to accommodation, tightened the criteria high-school counselors and other professionals were to apply when granting waivers. Abolition of flagging was expected to make the SAT more fair and open to all, but ironically, the consequences appear to be quite the contrary. (Contains 3 figures.)
Descriptors: College Entrance Examinations, Test Results, Testing Accommodations, Scores, Disabilities, Equal Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)