Why some students need more time to take standardized tests

Educational specialist Carolyn McWilliams, MA, discusses extra time for students taking standardized tests and gives some of the advantages and disadvantages of allowing extended time for students.
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Why some students need more time to take standardized tests

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Some students qualify for extended time on tests. It could be 100 percent time or 150 percent time that is given to them because of visual process issues, attention issues, small motor issues that will not enable them to do their absolute best on the test without certain accommodations. It levels the playing field. That said, it is always better, in my opinion, for students to be able to take tests under timed conditions, Simply because it is grueling to have to sit and take a standardized test for twice the amount of time that other students are given. It is a SAT Exam, a college entrance exam, it's a whole day of an exam. It's exhausting and takes a great deal of stamina on a student's part to be able to survive that ordeal. That said, we're hoping that what will happen soon, is the testing organizations will learn ways to specifically gear their tests so that you don't have to spend extended time and the playing field can still be level. The advantage is, if you need it, you are going to be able to answer all of the questions you know. The disadvantage is it takes incredible stamina and it's a grueling effort to be able to take a test in twice the time it takes for everyone else to take the test.

Educational specialist Carolyn McWilliams, MA, discusses extra time for students taking standardized tests and gives some of the advantages and disadvantages of allowing extended time for students.

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Carolyn McWilliams, MA

Educational Specialist

Carolyn is currently an educational therapist and educational consultant helping students, parents, and schools meet the challenges of gifted students with learning challenges through her offices in Santa Monica, California. Carolyn also does general consulting with schools on topics from curriculum development to teaching study skills to interpretation of student test scores.

Carolyn began her educational career in Santa Barbara, California, where she received her B.A. and M.A. and became a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Administration with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction. She served as a supervisor of student teachers and taught courses across the educational curriculum during her eight years at UCSB.

After completing her studies, Carolyn moved to Los Angeles where she served as the head of Adat Ari El Day School in Valley Village and as a consultant on issues of learning and instruction to Jewish day schools across the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Spectrum, as well as to elementary and secondary schools of all types. During this time she also served on the faculty of California State University at Northridge.

The parent of three highly gifted daughters of her own (one with learning challenges), throughout her career, Carolyn has designed innovative strategies, as well as unique programs to help gifted students achieve life success. She established the Johns Hopkins Center for Academically Talented Youth (CTY) Summer Commuter Program held at the University of California Los Angeles and served as parent liaison for the CTY to the press and larger community. She was the founder and head of Bridges Academy, which serves a population of twice-exceptional students in grades 6-12, from 1994-2003 (bridges.edu).

Carolyn has been a classroom teacher in both Goleta Union and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. She was LAUSD Teacher of the Year, was one of five finalists for California Teacher of the Year, and was given an Outstanding Educator Award by the Los Angeles Times. She has published curriculum and articles in the areas of special education, social studies, English, educational computing, ESL, multi-cultural education, study skills, and classroom organization. She regularly presents at conferences and schools on topics related to curriculum, instruction, classroom organization, gifted students, and special needs populations. 

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