The Ivy Coach Daily

May 18, 2019

College Board Must Do More for Students with Disabilities

College Board, SAT, Students with Disabilities
College Board can and must do more for students with disabilities (photo credit: Namkota).

College Board recently announced that they’re rolling out their gimmick SAT “Adversity Score” to 150 more universities. Put simply, the score is intended to contextualize a student’s SAT score based on their perceived socioeconomic circumstances (which, of course, is ridiculous for so many reasons!). But today’s post isn’t about the ill-conceived “Adversity Score.” Rather, it’s about how College Board should focus their energies and efforts not on creating gimmick scores but rather on actually helping students who face genuine adversity — whether socioeconomic or otherwise. The group we’ll focus on today is students with disabilities.

College Board Grants Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Let’s say that a student has a diagnosed learning disability, like dyslexia or dysgraphia. And let’s say that the student qualified for extended time on the SAT or SAT Subject Tests. Maybe the student requires a proctor to individually administer the exam because they can’t physically fill in the bubbles on an SAT scantron. They can circle their answers on the exam booklet but filling in the bubbles on the scantron is a whole different beast for them entirely. It seems simple to transfer one’s answers to a scantron but for students struggling with dysgraphia, it’s not simple at all. It’s hard! And so when that student qualifies for extended time to take the test under special circumstances, parents (and students) are often elated. At first.

But College Board Often Fails to Help Them Find Accommodations

You see, then the parents and students so often soon realize that just because a student has qualified to take the SAT under special circumstances doesn’t mean their school has the resources to physically accommodate them. Maybe they don’t have a proctor available. Maybe they don’t have a room for the testing. College Board is a private company; it’s not affiliated with any particular school. The school can’t be forced to make these accommodations.

College Board Should Focus Less on Gimmicks and More on Actually Helping Students

And so parents and students are often left on their own to navigate finding a test center that actually can accommodate them. Maybe it’s a school just a short drive away but it very well might be a school three states away. This, of course, isn’t right and it puts a lot of stress on students and parents to figure out these accommodations. Instead of focusing on gimmicks like creating an SAT “Adversity Score” that’s likely intended only to beef up marketshare, College Board would better serve its customer-base by making every effort possible to figure out these accommodations for parents and students. The onus should be on them.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts by posting below. And, ACT, you’re not in the clear either.

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