Saturday, April 01, 2006

Learning Disabilities and Standardized Tests

When I was in middle school I was diagnosed with a form of ADD, now also known as ADHD. Being diagnosed with a learning disability allows you to recieve several "advantages" that students who haven't been diagnosed miss out on. I put advantages in quotes because looking back on the entirety of my education I am able to say that our current education system is set up for those who don't have learning disabilities. Everyone has a specific learning style be it listening, participating or watching. If you add ontop of these specific learning styles a learning disability you would have difficulties in learning no matter how many styles a teacher employs.

So these "advantages" included a special resource room which was like a study hall with a teacher who could help you out on any subject and keep you on task. Also there was some help with exams, this included the use of a laptop for essays and extra time if I needed it.

I went to resource room every day until my senior year when I would use that time period occaisionaly to sneak down to the library for research or to work on my internship I had at the time. I also took full advantage of the laptop. What could be better for writing an essay than making sure that someone else could understand it instead of righting evreething without a spel chekker?

The one thing I didn't ever use, however, was the extra time. I was already the one kid in a crowded room pounding away at a laptop I didn't want to be the one kid sitting there an hour later in an empty room pounding away at a laptop.

Today, while flipping channels I saw a report on ABC News that students w/out learning disabilities were getting doctors to say they did, all so that they could have extra time on the SATs and get a better score. As someone who has an actual learning disability, who has learned to overcome it and never really wanted a lot of extra help, I find this beyond disgusting. It's not as bad as having a cheat sheet hidden under the test, but it is an abuse of a system that is in place to help those who need it, not those who are capable of getting into a good college and want to get into an Ivy League school.

ABC News: Does Loophole Give Rich Kids More Time On SAT?


Anonymous Mongo said...

Reports like those from ABC of people faking a learning disability is, as Jeff said, truly disgusting. As someone who has known Jeff for almost 14 years and has watched him struggle and overcome his learning disability I could see where reports like this could possibly enrage him. Then again, he is a bitter bitter man...but a bitter man that did not need extra time for tests. Kudos!

8:55 PM, April 02, 2006  

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