Time is points

One simple diagnosis can help students to get extra time on standardized tests, quizzes and other school work. According to NBC News, standardized testing has increased the amount of ADHD diagnoses in the U.S. Though there are students who are born and develop the disorder, a student who successfully fakes ADHD can receive extra time on high-stakes exams that can give them the upper hand in the college admissions process if they successfully fake the disorder, according to NBC News.

According to The Daily Beast, students all over the country have been “fake failing” ADHD tests, which grants the test-taker leniency on college entrance tests like the ACT and SAT. Students can receive extra minutes, hours or even days to complete their standardized test, but the amount of extra time is given on a case by case basis, there is not set diagnosis that will give a student a certain amount of extra time, according to Rachel Cosic, KHS counselor. The College Board requests all test takers to submit a request with help from their Special School District (SSD) Coordinator. This streamlines the process of getting their extended time approved.

Parents will pay up to $4,000 to have their child diagnosed with a learning disability after finding a psychologist who is willing to diagnose them, according to Points and Figures. A study by Gina Jachimowicz, a student in doctoral program of Communicative Disorders University of California San Diego and San Diego State University, and R. Edward Geiselman, a professor in the UCLA Department of Psychology revealed that it is relatively easy to fake fail the ADHD tests. They have students without ADHD fake symptoms and 75 percent of the students taking the ADHD Rating Scale, 95 percent of the students taking the Brown Adult ADHD scale, 90 percent of the students taking the Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale and 65 percent of the students taking the Wender Utah Rating Scale fostered fake results.

“As a counselor, I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t any people that [fake an ADHD diagnosis],” Peterson said. “I have not seen that [but] anything is possible. When you’re not finishing your sections, and you have 10 or 15 more minutes, you could go up [about] six points.”

For those who take the standardized tests without a diagnosis, there is no way to distinguish the results of the difference between them and those who took the test under nonstandard testing conditions. In 2004, parents sued the ACT under the American’s With Disabilities Act to remove a check showing their child took the test with a disability, according to Apple Routh, and the parents succeeded.

Colleges do not know which students are disabled and which ones are not, so when going through the admissions process, the admissions counselors do not know which student had extra time, only that one has a higher SAT or ACT score. According to Peterson, colleges not only factor in standardized testing scores to admission, they also consider grade point average, extracurriculars and the essays students have to write in their application. She said colleges look at the grade point average the most because it shows the work ethic a student put in through high school and predicts whether he or she would succeed at the school.

“I can understand why some people may be dishonest and greedy to try and get that extended time by faking a diagnosis,” Peterson said. “But if you don’t have that grade point average, what is it really going to help them with at the end of the day?”