SAT, ACT to Stop Flagging Disabled Students’ Test ScoresNEW YORKSAT and ACT officials announced last month that they will no longer mark the scores of disabled students who are given extra time to take the college entrance exams.The New York-based College Board was the first to make the announcement saying it would end the practice known as “flagging” on its SAT college entrance exam, SAT II subject tests, PSAT tests and Advanced Placement exams as of October 2003. The College Board’s action averted a possible lawsuit by Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit law firm in Oakland, Calif. The group argued flagging violates federal law.The nonprofit ACT Inc., based in Iowa City, followed suit announcing that it will end the practice starting with tests taken Sept. 27, 2003.Among an estimated 2 million ACTs taken in the school year that ended in June, about 30,000 were completed by students who got extra time, says ACT spokesman Ken Gullette.“Our decision to stop flagging scores comes after a thorough review,” says Richard Ferguson, chief executive officer of ACT. ACT also develops the LSAT, required for law school admission, and the MCAT to enter medical school. Professional organizations oversee those tests, which currently are flagged. The Law School Admission Council has determined it’s legal to flag scores and will continue to do so for now, says Philip Shelton, president of the council. The Association of American Medical Colleges is now actively reviewing its flagging policy, says spokeswoman Retha Sherrod. Students are granted extra time after producing documented proof they need it. Ferguson acknowledged the new policy might result in more requests — and some without merit — but said that steps already being taken by ACT will continue “to ensure that only those students with legitimate needs are granted additional time.”
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