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Eligibility Issues and Comparable Time Limits for Disabled and Nondisabled SAT Examinees SAT

Ragosta, Marjorie; Wendler, Cathy
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-92-35, CBR-92-05
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Disabilities, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Administration, Test Length, Testing Problems, Timed Tests, Assessing People with Disabilities


The project used data from test administration timing records, the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) history file, and a survey questionnaire to investigate two issues: comparable testing time and eligibility for special test accommodations for SAT examinees with disabilities. Comparable testing time for disabled examinees was found to be between 1.5 and 2 times that for nondisabled examinees. Time limits in that range would assure that approximately equal percentages of disabled and nondisabled students would complete each section of the SAT. The exception was blind students using braille or cassette versions of the test, who required between double and triple time. Eligibility for special test accommodations is tied to severity of disability and documentation of disability. Some levels of disability could be distinguished for students with sensory disabilities, based on self-reports and confirmed by the presence or absence of individualized education programs (IEPs). For example, IEPs were reported for 80 percent of totally blind candidates, 50 percent of legally blind candidates, and only 28 percent of visually impaired examinees who were not considered legally blind. Similarly, 90 percent of hearing-impaired students using American Sign Language (ASL) reported having IEPs, compared to 76 percent of those using total communication (English and sign) and 42 percent of those for whom English was the preferred communication mode. Severity of disability could not be defined for physically disabled or learning-disabled examinees, except on the basis of IEPs. However, it was difficult to isolate the need for test accommodations based on school practices (e.g., IEPs or special schools or classes), since examinees eligible for special test administrations were often tested under standard conditions. Alternatives to the current eligibility policy are discussed, including a change to school-based criteria and the use of individualized testing programs. A change to empirically derived testing times is also discussed. (34pp.)

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