It’s 2009. A high school student in a fine school district describes how classmates get disability diagnoses in order to take the SAT with extended time. The student asked the parents to be taken for testing. They refused.

What a sad chapter in the college application saga. It followed the College Board’s 2002 policy. The College Board no longer flags SAT scores. Thus, no one (such as a college admissions office) is told how SAT scores are achieved and which ones were achieved under the nonstandard condition of 50% or more extra time!

This all reminds me of the March 31, 2006 ABC News story. It reported on this very situation, ways that some students get extended time on the SAT (and ACT), calling it ‘the rich kids’ loophole.’

This ABC News piece grew out of a story I wrote back in 2003, ‘Disabling the SAT.’ It described how the College Board decided to allow extended time on the SAT without marking the fact that the test had been altered. Henceforth, there would no longer be any flag to indicate that the test was not given under standard conditions and no one would know! It was a new day, ending test validity and transparency.

Among its many flaws, the College Board’s policy belies transparency. How ironic, since ‘transparency’ is everyone’s favorite word these days, from Wall Street to the schoolhouse.

You can find the story on my website,, or at

Sam Abrams did a follow-up on the unflagged SATs, focused on Washington DC.

This turn of events in the college application saga is so sad, unfair, and totally lacking in transparency.

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About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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