Extra time testing
Up until about 15 years ago, if students received extra time on standardized tests, their scores were “flagged”- meaning colleges and programs were notified about the accommodation.
However, this is no longer the case, now that the process to receive these special accommodations is more regulated and formalized. Parents can submit a request for their child if they and the teachers believe the student requires extra time. However, in order for the request to be granted, there needs to be tangible proof showing that the child has a disability or learning disorder. This proof comes in the form of a neuropsychological evaluation that had to have been taken in the last three to five years.
When a student has never needed extra time until college, it makes the request seem more of a strategic move rather than a necessary one. Learning disorder specialists suggest that parents should begin the process of applying for special accommodations sooner because it can take time and you can be denied at first. Some accommodations include extra time, keyboards, separate rooms and extra breaks.
What is the Neuropsychological Test?
Neuropsychological tests examines brain-based disorders which affect attention, memory, concentration and other aspects of executive functioning. The goal of a neuropsychological assessment is to understand where the individual struggles and what the individuals’ strengths are. The clinician who administers these assessments to children aims to explain how their brain works and understand how they problem solve.
What happens in a Neuropsychological Test?
Psychological assessments examine cognitive issues and personality disorders and diagnose psychiatric conditions. Neuropsychological tests examine the neurological processes which underlie the cognitive deficits that the student is experiencing in areas of attention, memory and executive functioning.
Neuropsychological assessments can be few hours or even up to twelve hours long depending on what tests are administered. The neuropsychological evaluation includes interviews with parents, interviews with the child and observations of the child. The testing portion may include computer-based tasks, paper, and pencil testing or answering questions verbally.
The neuropsychological assessment examines a person’s skills in reading, math, spelling as well as memory and verbal ability. There are numerous tests that can be administered depending on the brain function the clinician wishes to target.
Examples of tests include:
- Memory tests: memorizing series of numbers, and words. Or asking an individual to draw from memory a picture he or she had been shown
- Language and Speech Tests: Asking a child to name pictures he or she is shown or point to the correct picture after hearing a word.
- Executive Functioning: Sorting objects by shapes and colors etc.
How is the Test evaluated
The test compares the score of your child to a large normative sample (scores of other children the same age). The test also looks at the pattern of responses and the types of error the child makes. Two children can get the same questions wrong but for a different reason. One child may not have had enough time to answer while the other child may not have been capable to answer the question. There are different reasons why a child errors on certain questions and the evaluation accounts for these patterns.
These neuropsychological tests help diagnose learning disorders, ADHD, and other disorders. Based on the results of these tests, recommendations can be put in place to best meet the child’s needs. This assessment is required to give your child the accommodations they need which may include extra time. The assessment explains how your child’s disability affects their scores and how this accommodation would enable them to improve.
ADHD and Extra Time
Children with ADHD have a difficult time focusing, processing information and concentrating on the task at hand. If a child with ADHD were to take a standardized test, he or she may perform poorly due to their attentional deficit. Extra time may be required to allow the child, the same chance as the other students, to excel on the exam. Without the extra time, the exam would not be adequately assessing the child’s knowledge and capability.