Examining the Use of Extended Time Accomodations at a University Setting

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Armstrong, MaryBeth; Spencer, Daniel
Higher Education
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Test accommodations are commonly defined as a change in testing materials or procedures that enables students to participate in assessments in ways that reflect their skills and abilities as opposed to their disabilities. These accommodations commonly include changes in presentation, response, setting, and/or scheduling of the assessment. Examples of some common test accommodations are extended time, separate room, and test reader. To gain access to test accommodations, it is the student’s responsibility to provide documentation of the disability from a professional specialist.Once a student is approved for test accommodations, he or she must work directly with the university’s Office of Disability Services to utilize the test accommodations throughout the school year. Although extended time has been found to be a preferred accommodation for students with disabilities, little research has been conducted on the actual utilization of this accommodation.Therefore, the current study investigated the usage of the extended time test accommodation at a public university in the Midwestern United States by examining archival data obtained from the university’s Office of Disability Services. Descriptive analyses compared standard exam times with actual time spent completing exams by students with extended time accommodations. It is hypothesized that a majority of students who utilize this test accommodation do not require the additional. Rather, it is hypothesized that students use the extended time option to decrease test anxiety. Implications of these findings will be discussed.