Unfair Advantage? Where IEPs Abound, More Students Get Extra Time for SAT

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By Mark Greenstein, Lead instructor, Ivy Bound Test Prep

It’s official.  Over 50% of my clients from Greenwich now are granted extra time by either ACT or SAT.  (Among the less affluent burbs it’s about 15%; among my students in urban public schools it’s 0%).

As democratizing as SAT purports to be, this extended time aspect gives an advantage (some would say “unfair” advantage,) to those in the know.  Add temerity to the “advantaged” list: When SAT says “no,” those who complain often get a rescission; the rest meekly go away.

My prescription for any student with a whiff of a learning difference is: ASK FOR EXTENDED TIME.  And if denied, ask again.  Whether through the school or through a private MD’s report, SAT and ACT are very accommodating to students who need extra time and have documentation of a learning difference.

The added benefit: the extra time permission often stay with a student in college.  As important as the extra time can be for getting IN to college, it’s even more helpful to have 4 years where the college reduces the extra pressures of timed testing.

Those who can’t get an IEP in a timely way and need a private evaluator, contact Mark at Ivy Bound (877) 975-1600.

Also by Mark Greenstein:

Tainted Success (?) What happens with my June SAT Score?

Early “Career” Assessments: The bad, the good, and the beautiful.

SAT Prep is Not “Gaming the System”


  • Beth

    Only students who actually need it should be given extra testing time, not those with a “whiff” of a learning difference! Just because there are some people who conflate or distort their children’s learning styles into a “difference” worthy of extended testing time, you recommend everyone (who can afford to) do so? This teaches children to lie and cheat (the system) for advantage at the expense of others, who happen to be their classmates and friends.

    This says much more about Mark Greenstein’s clients than it does about our town, I hope. These parents are, after all, using the services of a paid consultant whose raison d’être is to get kids into Ivy League schools.

    Instead of being so focused on getting our children in to the “best school” we should be focused on getting them into the right school. Mark at “Ivy Bound” is clearly saying that if a parent can’t get an IEP for his or her student, to call him and he’ll get a private evaluator to do it. So people with the money available can pay to have their children labeled with a learning disability just so the children can have more time on timed testing, presumably for in-school tests as well as standardized ones. The students will therefore receive higher grades and scores and be accepted to more exclusive colleges than they would otherwise be able to gain admittance to, and once there, will be able to continue gaming the system and get more time on college tests. Wow.

    Shame on parents who do this to their children. Shame on school administrators who look the other way. And what a shame for the students who ultimately pay the price. They come away from this process thinking that it’s ok to lie and cheat to get things they don’t deserve. Having extra time on tests may get students into a more selective college, but when they are surrounded by more capable students, they will ultimately not do as well as they could have at a school better suited to their actual learning style.