College Board Addresses Testing Accomodations

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Michael Urbina

Alpha Barrie ’20 takes a test during his A.P. World History class.

The SAT, AP exams, and SAT Subject Tests are some of the most important examinations in high school. These tests can make or break one’s options for college and career paths. Now, the College Board is going to give some students the help that they greatly need.

Many students across the nation, and some in our school, receive testing accommodations for difficulties such as ADHD or English as a second language. Accommodations can include extended time, braille tests, and separate testing rooms. Starting January 1st, 2017, the College Board greatly expanded the number of students who receive SAT accommodations. Most students who already have these benefits at their school will receive them automatically for every College Board test they take.

Previously, it was exceedingly difficult to get accommodations approved. This is mainly due to how costly and time-intensive the process is, as well as how much paperwork needed to be done. This led to many complaints from students, parents, and teachers about the difficulty of the application process. In response, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division looked into the matter of this extra help being withheld too frequently.

As a result, the College Board has now made the actions needed to acquire accommodations much easier. “Educators, students, and families have asked us to simplify our process, and we’ve listened. The school staff knows their students best, and we want to cut down on the time and paperwork needed to submit a testing accommodations request.” said David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board.

Many students at Bronx Science receive accommodations at school but were rejected by the College Board, meaning that they would not have these benefits on exams such as APs or the SAT.
“I think it’s really significant that there had to be a Justice Department investigation and that people who needed accommodations had to fight for them. People that need accommodations should get them, and I’m glad that the College Board is helping students to pass exams,” said Gregory Ginsburg ’18.

With this new expansion of help, more students will now be able to achieve the test scores that they deserve, rather than be hindered by the constraints they previously had. Some Bronx Science students receive extra time accommodations (either double time or time and a half), often due to ADHD, but reasons can also be from less common issues such as post-concussion syndrome.
“What’s important to remember is that it’s not a one size fits all; kids have different needs and should have equal opportunity in test-taking. The College Board should be better equipped for accommodations,” said Sofia Burton ’18, who receives accommodations from both our school and the College Board.

The College Board, it seems, has finally taken complaints like these with more serious consideration. According to the College Board website, the new determiner of whether or not students will receive the requests they apply for is a “yes” answer to two questions: “Is the requested accommodation(s) in the student’s plan?” and “Has the student used the accommodation(s) for school testing?” Most accommodations on College Board exams will now be approved for the students who are eligible for them.

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