Allowing Disabled Students Extra Time for the Sats Fair or Unfair – Yes

When it comes to tests of great importance and impact, the SAT Reasoning Test is unquestionably at the top of the list. After all, this is the test that not only proves what you have learned in your twelve years of mandatory schooling, but the score itself is instrumental in your being accepted to the college of your choice (or any college at all, for that matter.)

Due to the gravity of the situation, one would think that it would be not only necessary that students with learning disabilities should be granted extra time to take the SATs, but understandable as well. However, there are those out there who feel that the practice is unfair, on the grounds that it is similar to cheating; since the learning disabled students have more time to complete the test, their test scores will theoretically be higher than those students who didn’t qualify for extended test-taking time, thereby robbing the latter of the chance to be accepted at the college or university of their choice.

Speaking as a person with a learning disability, I would like to tell those people where they can put that argument, and it’s not in a place that Helium will allow me to state in great detail, so let me just say that people who argue that it’s unfair don’t know the meaning of the word “unfair”.

Seriously, if that’s considered unfair or cheating, is it unfair or cheating for an amputee to be allowed the use of their prosthetic leg to take part in a marathon? If we apply the that logic to this situation, the amputee is being given the advantage of a false leg in order to run, thereby creating the possibility that they may cross the finish line well ahead of someone who has both legs. And that just wouldn’t be fair, would it?

Oh, wait: It actually would be fair, because the point of the marathon is based on proving each runner’s physical endurance, not on whether or not they possess a matching set of human legs. Kind of like how the SATs are meant to assess how much a student has actually learned and retained as opposed to how quickly they can spit out the right answers. For students with learning disabilities, they have a harder time proving what they know in what is considered the average time frame due to their disability; hence, the need for extra time, as granted by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Also, just because a learning disabled student receives extra time in order to take their SATs doesn’t automatically mean that they are guaranteed a high score. When I took my SATs, I received a total score of 960, and yes, that was with extra time. I didn’t even make it into the quadruple digits, and I completed the entire test from cover to cover. Meanwhile, the average students who were not given extra time outperformed me on that test by leaps and bounds, so getting extra time does not mean that a student will get a perfect score.

In all honesty, I fail to see how this is unfair to students without learning disabilities. The test itself is in no way dumbed down for those who are learning disabled, and it’s not like the teacher administering the test is allowed to help the student find the correct answer. The test is still geared towards the average student, so where’s the harm in giving those who are considered below average a little more time to work their way through?

To argue that such a thing is unfair is say that disabled people are less deserving of the right to a higher education than those who aren’t disabled, which is to say that they are second-class citizens. If anything is unfair, I would have to say that belief right there takes the cake.