On the heels of dramatic revisions to the content and format of the SAT test, the College Board has decided to stop flagging the scores of test takers who, because of disabilities, take the SAT under nonstandard conditions. These special accommodations almost always include extra time to complete the test.
Activists for the disabled have long sought this change, which will be put into effect after September 2003. Currently, the College Board marks the test reports with “Scores obtained Under Special Conditions.”
Many guidance counselors and college admissions officials, however, fear that this policy will be abused. “It’s the right thing to do, but it’s going to have very negative ramifications . . . it’s that flag, that asterisk, that helps cut down on abuse,” Brad MacGowan, a guidance counselor at Newton North high school told The New York Times.
Many of the students who take advantage of the special conditions are from upper income communities, and there is concern that lower income students do not have equal opportunity to learn about and take advantage of the special conditions.
Disability Rights Advocates, an Oakland, California advocacy group, conducted the litigation that led to the decision.