At Deerfield, a large portion of the student body is granted a daily subscription to Adderall, Ritalin or Focalin. These medications are intended to largely relieve students of the effects of ADHD or ADD.
Throughout the United States, extra time is often offered on tests such as the ACT and SAT. Requesting extra time is a tedious process, to be sure. It includes registering online and taking a test to prove you are qualified. But once you are approved, you might enjoy an additional 50%, 100% or even over 100% of the originally allotted time for the SAT or ACT. This is all despite the fact that harrowing time constraints, especially for the ACT, are what make standardized testing so challenging.
If taking medication supposedly puts students with ADHD or ADD on an even playing field, then why should they have the option for extra time? Studies show that kids with medication and extra time, more often than not, score higher than students without these accommodations. Make no mistake, attention deficit disorders are very serious. But in our view, students with these disorders who receive both medication and extra time may have an unfair advantage.
As of now, tests taken with and without extra time are curved on the same scale. In our eyes, this clearly puts students without the benefit of extra time at a disadvantage. One solution would be for the College Board to curve the tests with extra time separately. In a time of standardized test reform, in which the College Board is changing the SAT exam format, it could be a good idea to simultaneously reevaluate time allotted for testing.