Monday, November 30, 2009

Student Sues Under ADA for Testing Accommodations

A classmate passed along this interesting article from October describing a Princeton University freshman's suit for extra time on her exams. The student claims in the suit to have a hodgepodge of learning disabilities:
• Mixed-Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder, which limits her ability to comprehend language, express language or recall material.

• Disorder of Written Expression, which leaves her ability to communicate in writing below the level expected based on age, intelligence or life experiences. When she writes, she has to repeatedly re-check what she has composed.

• Developmental Coordination Disorder, which leaves her ability to spell, punctuate and form sentences below the level expected based on age, intelligence or life experiences. She needs to read material several times over, isolate key words and highlight them so she can locate them again. Also under this disorder, her visual-motor processing skills are in the sixth percentile, "far below the average person, let alone the typical Princeton University student." She also suffers eye strain when taking tests and needs periodic breaks because of the way she reads passages over and over.

• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which limits her ability to focus. When reading, any distraction requires her to go back to the beginning of the passage.
She apparently learned of these diagnoses in 2003, and received "a 100 percent time extension for [high school] exams; a 100 percent extension on the SAT; and a 200 percent extension on the ACT." Princeton, however, was unwilling to follow suit (pun intended). That, frankly, surprises me.

After all, refusing accommodations in a case like this invites a costly (and potentially successful) lawsuit by the student. Many schools would conceivably prefer to err on the side of accommodation as a matter of course--especially where there's a well-documented record of medical need.

That said, such approaches (and, in some circumstances, the pursuit of the accommodations themselves) draw the ire of students--particularly law students--who feel competitively disadvantaged. Of course, whether that sentiment is warranted hinges on the extent to which the accommodation in question is truly needed to put the accommodated student on equal footing.

Maybe a lot of the student discomfort I perceive relates to a latent belief that all (or at least most) testing accommodations are medically unwarranted. That seems to me an unfair presumption. But maybe I'm mistaken? I'd love to hear our reader's thoughts on this...

66 comments:

  1. What kind of student hasn't at some point felt like he or she could be legitimately diagnosed with any one of those conditions? Instead of taking such a hard line, though, maybe Princeton could do an inquiry into the legitimacy of her diagnoses. Privacy concerns aside, that could go a long way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice link to the Blair Hornstine case! I'm surprised she didn't blame her learning disorder for her plagiarism.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm a 3L, and the number one student in our class gets unlimited time to take his exams. I don't know if his disorder is real, but I know that if I had unlimited time to take my very-time-pressured law school exams, I might score better. I'm sure many law students have considered the medical diagnosis/exam accomodations route; it's as easy as getting an Adderal prescription, which I'd wager the vast majority of my class has.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Schools are so worried about getting sued, they are rolling over and letting the unscrupulous students climb ahead of their peers. I think transcripts should indicate who received extra time or not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Do legit disabilities not exist 5:33 or should students with those be penalized?

    ReplyDelete
  6. 5.33 here. I'm sure some legit disabilities exist, which is why I'm not proposing schools eliminate reasonable accomodations. However, just as LSAC denotes with a star those "irregular tests" where extra time was given, so should transcripts.

    Imagine receiving unlimited time on an exam meant to be taken under time pressure. Like that would ever happen with a real world assignment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In my work environment there is an attorney that claims to have a disability...attention deficit order. He has presented medical documentation and special accomodations have been made. Everyone else grouses about it.

    If you have a disability that makes you ill-suited for a profession then you should not pursue that profession as a career choice...I know that such is not very PC, but it is honest.

    If you're blind, you probably shouldn't be a race-car driver. If your hands constantly tremble, you probably shouldn't be a heart surgeon. If you cannot focus at work and tend to get easily distracted you probably shouldn't be an attorney.

    ReplyDelete
  8. How would honors be calculated if schools distinguished? Do any schools do that?

    ReplyDelete
  9. It simply is not fair for students to get extra time in law school for bulls** diseases like ADD? Give me a break. If you really have a an unfixable problem with reading comp, then you shouldn't be in law school. Employers aren't going to give you double time to finish a brief that is due in a week, and a judge won't accommodate you either. People are truly unreal, and that law schools give extra time to these people is a sham that SHOULD cause EVERYONE to publicly scrutinize them. It is simply not fair for students who pay so much and work so hard to get beaten by someone with time plus. AND trust me, I know people who got the extra time. It worked swimmingly for them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Like that would ever happen with a real world assignment."

    Indeed. I'm really curious to see just how far the ADA "reasonable accommodation" standard will get stretched once the current generation of heavily-accommodated students hits the real world.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 5:39 -- what kind of special accomodations are afforded to that attorney? Double time? If he gets fired for low realized billables can he sue?

    ReplyDelete
  12. neither a partner nor a court are going to give you more time to complete a brief because of your learning disabilities. why accommodate now when you won't have that advantage later?

    it is obscenely easy to be diagnosed as ADHD. does it say more about my ethics that i refuse to do it or does it just show i'm a moron?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Please note that Princeton was willing to offer accommodations. For example, she was going to be allowed to take a 10 minute break every hour and could take her exams in a separate classroom with a proctor, so there would be less noise. She would not have to take more than one exam a day. She just thinks that the accommodations Princeton has offered are sufficient.

    What I find bizarre about this is that she is a recruited varsity athlete. While I can believe that an athlete can have learning disabilities, some of those she claims seem to me to be inconsisent with success as an athlete.

    ReplyDelete
  14. If she's at Princeton, does she really need the extra time? I have a friend in my class at law school who is quadriplegic and he gets unlimited time for his exams, but he types with a stick in his mouth. . . that seems fair

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hmmm, in a profession where time is billed at 6 minute intervals, how is the student going to be competitive? Will his/her clients say "Sure, bill me double. You have a learning disability."??????

    Life's not fair. Anyone who says so is lying. Why don't we own up to it rather than put people in situations where they cannot perform up to expectations?

    ReplyDelete
  16. College is a credentialing system. We get the degree to tell people we have a certain set of skills. If you don't have the skills that other people who have your degree have acquired, then your degree is a fraud and the whole credentialing system is worthless. If accomodations are made, it at least needs to be made clear somehow that the accomodated student could not perform the work like other students without special help.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is an appalling trend. This happened at a t20 law school a few years ago (the top student received untimed testing which she used). Life, and DNA, are not fair.

    No one should be allowed extra-time or untimed testing for any type of mental handicap, real or imagined. I support appropriate aids for those with impaired motor-skills, but in professions where you are valued for your mind and its product, you cheapen everyone with this type of malarky.

    ReplyDelete
  18. As a successful practicing attorney with a learning disability, I find the presumption that someone with a learning disability that effects reading and/or writing has no business being an attorney just plain wrongheaded. While my learning disabilities may mean that I have trouble with some tasks like writing and proofreading, which others might do with ease, they also mean that I am much better at some tasks than "normal" attorneys.For example, recalling facts and figures, something that can be very useful in the practice of law.

    Accomodations in test taking simply mirror the real world where a variety of accommodations are available. For example, I am writing this using voice recognition software, which minimizes mistakes I might make if I was typing. Similarly, I frequently ask a secretary or paralegal to proofread important documents. These are "accomodations," which are available to practicing lawyer who is determined to efficiently provide high-quality services to clients. However, these are not available to people taking college or law school exams.Therefore,test taking accommodations permit talented, smart people to make it through college or law school and enter the profession where they can accomplish tasks in ways that might seem unusual to others.

    In addition, being a lawyer involves much more than reading and writing. For example, getting and retaining clients can be very important to one's success as an attorney. In my experience, many people with learning disabilities compensate for less than stellar reading and writing abilities by being very good at interpersonal relationships. Obviously, this is aan important partA developing and maintaining client relationships.

    ReplyDelete
  19. a judge isn't going to give you extra time to file your motion because you have ADHD. A test is supposed to prepare you for the real world. These time extensions do not, they only propel the "disabled" into higher rankings, placing them in more prestigous positions with even more stress, making their "disability" even more of an issue, if they actually have it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Can anyone see the difference between someone who cannot perform an 1.0 to 1.5 hour task and due to ADHD and someone in the real world who has at the very least, weeks or days to work on an assignment? Anyone? I cannot recall the last time a partner had me turn over an hour-long assignment in an hour. So an associate with ADHD could do it just as well as I could. And as far as billables go, we all know that different attorneys do things at different rates. I can clear docs. at about 3x the rate of the two k. attys. who review for me and can read depos. at about 2x the rate of most of the attorneys, partner or otherwise, on my team. So should the firm charge 2x to 3x for my time as for anyone else's when I'm doing those tasks?

    ReplyDelete
  21. 6:49 - your partners don't double-bill for you, but you do understand that they don't charge the client for unreasonable and excessive billed hours by anyone -adhd or not -- who takes 3 times as much on a task as general practice? So the ADHD associate who works 2000 hours to complete tasks that generally take someone 800 hours to do costs the firm money.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Interestingly enough, Blair Hornstine is now a 3L at William & Mary Law School. While I have no knowledge of either her class rank or whether she receives extra time on W&M Law exams, I do know that she refuses to use a W&M email address b/c she fears harassment.

    ReplyDelete
  23. was this a federal case?

    ReplyDelete
  24. probably a state case

    ReplyDelete
  25. any other law other than ADA

    ReplyDelete
  26. was the case appealed

    ReplyDelete
  27. Here's a deduction:

    1. A modern ADHD/ADD diagnosis means nothing more or less than that a student had problems concentrating or thinking quickly relative to other students at some point during her childhood.

    2. The LSAT and law school exams primarily test the ability to concentrate under extreme time pressure.

    3. So, if you're performing well on these exams, then by definition you don't have a learning disability that requires accomodation.

    ReplyDelete
  28. ... and that assumes you accept these diagnoses as legitimate. Even if you think the condition exists and deserves accommodation - the diagnosis is currently given out in a way that is demonstrably classist and arbitrary. In other words, anyone can get an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, but it's primarily rich children that do.

    ReplyDelete
  29. 7:27 -- what do Blair's classmates think about the ridiculous self-promoting websites?

    Blair Hornstine hopes to become a lawyer with a specialization in poverty law. Blair believes strongly in the concept of equal justice under law. Blair hopes to attain her juris doctor so that she can be a voice for the voiceless. Blair will be an exception lawyer for those that cannot afford legal representation. Blair will make those underprivileged people feel good about themselves. With Blair as their side, every person will see what equal justice under law is all about. Blair Hornstine will get fair treatment for all her clients regardless of their economic status or race.

    http://blair-hornstine.com/index.html

    ReplyDelete
  30. WTF is a Blair Hornestine?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have a learning disability in the area of written language which is why I initially went to school for Civil Engineering. However, after graduating and working for a few years, it became clear to me that I could handle law school notwithstanding my disability.

    What kills me is all the idiots who get a 4.0 gpa in english, political science, or some other b.s. undergrad major. They are the ones who make law school so competitive with class rank and whatnot. They are the cogs looking for a job in a big law firm trying to eek out any small difference from their peers.

    Without them I wonder if the small percentage of students who receive accomodations would be such a big deal...

    ReplyDelete
  32. The reason students cheating on accomodations (which unfortunately for the legitimately disabled tends to be a majority of folks) bothers other people isn't because we "can't handle the competition," but because people are generally bothered by cheaters. If I was watching a race on TV and one runner pushed off against another one, i would be disgusted even though it didn't affect ME personally. Similarly, those of us who have done very well in law school are still disturbed by the laxity in which extra time is given which cast a shadow over everyone, legitimately needing it and not.

    To some degree, this is akin to the african americans who dislike affirmative action because it taints those who didn't need the bost.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I think that a lot of this anger is misplaced. If students are cheating to receive unneeded accommodations than that is just like any other kind of cheating. However, the schools ought to be blamed. Many schools refuse to provide accommodations unless a student was diagnosed before they were 7 years old. Schools which are lax in their verification and enforcement of these sort of rules ought to be blamed not the students.

    I have a learning disability which was diagnosed when I was 5 years old. I've been struggling with it my entire life and I work my ass off. Unfortunately, the law school I attend made a mistake and publicized a list of students receiving accommodations. That bell cannot be unrung. After this became public my grades dropped from a 3.8 average to a 3.3. I also was no offered despite extremely positive reviews. I have no realistic recourse for any of this. There are really two sides to this story. I just wish that people would be angry at schools rather than students. Some students really do have disabilities.

    ReplyDelete
  34. 11:36 -- Thank you for contributing your story. I think most of us are angry at the schools for not verifying whether disabilities are legitimate or not, as well as the students who take advantage of them. As I stated in a prior post, it's unfortunate that those cheaters also make the legitimately disadvantaged students worse off. What caused your grades to drop? Are you sure that the publication of your name was conveyed to the firm? Many extremely well qualified people were no offered this summer despite good reviews; its the nature of the economy.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Whoa, who says an ADHD diagnosis or a disability accomodation is easy to get?

    I have a low vision disability, making it hard to read text, and have been treated like a complete criminal asking for the accomodation of using alternative text for a final exam.

    With or without accomodations, students with disabilities certainly work harder then students without disabilities, and often their exceptional talents and passions are what see them through. Would anyone dare to claim that a deaf student who reads lips and competes in moot court is not fit to practice law because sometimes she needs a sign language interpreter? The more reasonable reaction should be awe and respect.

    Those who claim persons with learning disabilities don't belong in law school are making the same ignorant assumptions that were used in the past to justify the exclusion of racial minoriries and women from the practice of law. F-that. Go find a firm full of stuffy old white men where you belong.

    Maybe the real problem is that some students just need some cheese with their whine. They thought getting straight A's in political science made them special, can't face the fact that they are just average in law school, and scapegoating those with disabilities just makes them feel better. Unlike you, I'm not sitting around feeling sorry for myself and blaming other people, I'm working my ass off to make my life what I want it to be. What is YOUR excuse?

    ReplyDelete
  36. one thing should be made clear to those of you who have not done the research on a.d.h.d.: the condition is not about the inability to focus; rather, it is a condition where the allocation of attention is maladapted. This means that a person with a.d.h.d. tend to hyper-focus on certain things and allocates too much attention to one thing while neglecting other things. Hyper-focusing causes others to interpret the person's behavior as being "inattentive."

    Everyone feels as if they "can't focus" at times, but that is not only symptom that individuals with a.d.h.d are afflicted with; imagine getting lost in a task because you were too over focused to realize that two hours had gone by. Though this might be viewed as a disadvantage, those with a.d.h.d can think very abstractly of things. So please reconsider your perception of a.d.h.d.

    Also, if you're doing poorly on an exam under the standard time constraints, then it probably means that you would not do any better given an extra hour. Learn to take a test, and stop blaming "the system" for causing you to fall short of what you believe you are inherited by going to a law school, top 20 or not.

    The legal field demand individuals of all types -- don't preclude those who don't fit your belief of what the legal field requires because you are bitter about your grades. Maybe if you adjusted your attitude, those jobs and those interviews would go a bit better, and employers would want you because you actually care and understand people!

    ReplyDelete
  37. The problem is a mismatch between the goals of the test and the goals of reasonable accommodation. As many note above, people with certain disabilities may be able to perform perfectly well as lawyers and so should not be excluded from the profession. But law school exams serve an additional purpose beyond ensuring that the student has adequately learned the material. They also are graded to show how well the student has learned the material, and those grades are in turn used to distinguish the best performers for various purposes.

    When someone is afforded extra time to complete the exams, it may well accommodate their disability in terms of making sure they do not fail because of the disability, but it also can distort how grades are used. Perversely, someone can get to the top of their class by first proving that their performance is significantly below average.

    The solution is simple: decouple the comparitive grade function where accommodations are necessary i.e., the accomodation is not only the extra time, but also that the exam is pass/fail and does not count toward your grade point average. It would also reduce the temptation to game the system.

    ReplyDelete
  38. 9:30 is right. The main problem is that the remedy for ADHD and similar disorders is subject to abuse to help the student relative to others: everyone would benefit from extra time, ADHD or not. It's comparable to just adding points to the score of an ADHD student. This issue doesn't come up with students needing accomodations for being blind, for instance. Nobody benefits unfairly from a test in braille.

    If a student is requesting extra time for mental disorders, the professor should make the test closed-book, closed-notes and give everyone extra time. This way, the test will cover reasoning abilities and knowledge of the course rather than ability to function under time constraints. My guess is that requests for accomodatons would drop dramatically, as the allure of extra time for a leg up on classmates was removed.

    I do think that most of these "BAAAAW I need extra time because I don't focus" claims are bullshit, though. If you can't do the work, do go to the school.

    ReplyDelete
  39. That old guy (Part I) I have ADHD, Dyslexia, and Disorder of Written Expression, profound math disorder as well as perceptual visual disorder and am below the 6% percentile of the student in question. My dyslexia and writing disorder are so pervasive that what I handwrite or type comes out in gibberish. The letters are misplaced, backwards, or simply the wrong letter is used. It can be as often as every third word, and I can spell the same word three different ways in one sentence. Somewhere between the brain and the hands the singles get crossed and what comes out the other end is jumbled. The worst part of it is I don’t “see” the errors, “eht” appears to my brain to be “the.”

    I’ve had this diagnosis since I was 7, did not learn to read/write my own name till I was 10, and attended a special school just for dyslexics until high school. I have full psycho-educational reports from 1977, ’79, ’88, (took a few years off of school to work because they did not have accommodations or personal computers then and I failed out of school with mostly Fs), 2001, 2003, and two from 2009. Each testing is two full days of several standardized tests to measure every aspect of your cognitive abilities and costs at least 1k every time you do it. My disability is WELL documented.

    I got the use of a computer with spell checker and time and ½ on exams (so for a 1 hour exam I got 1.5 hours) in law school. Most, if not all of the extra time was spent just spell checking my answers. If I did not do that, it would have been gibberish and unreadable. This is not as simple as hitting spell check either, manytimes the words are so backwards MS word has no idea what I meant, so I have to punch in combinations of letters until it figures out what I am trying to say.

    I only used that accommodation about 10 times in the JD and LLM programs. Two reasons, one even with extra time most of it was spent spellchecking and editing, not adding any more info to my exam so I actually did about median in most in-class timed exams. Second, I know my strengths and weaknesses, so after the core classes I avoided taking any class with an in-class timed exam unless there was no other option.

    ReplyDelete
  40. That old guy (part 2) The vast majority of the classes I took where paper or take home exams where I did not receive any accommodations. Seems like paper classes for a person like me would be unwise, but I’m actually a good writer if given enough time to spell check and edit my work. I also could use technology to help me such as speech-to-text software (avoiding the brain/hand jumble) and Read Please that would read back to me what I wrote so I could “listen” for mistakes. Finally I had plenty of time to run MS word spell check and edit. I took high grade and got many As in most of my paper or take home exams, much, much better grades then I ever did with an accommodated in class exam. Ended up graduating 13th in my class, not because of my accommodations, but despite my disabilities.

    When clerking ( I was PT JD so I clerked a lot over 4 years) I always was upfront about my writing speed to my employers. I brought my own software to help me. It was never an issue, not once. I was always able to get my assignments done on time and my writing has always been considered top notch. Finally at work I usually had someone to give my writing a final proofread to catch any dyslexic the text-to-speech, Read Please, MS word or my editing missed.

    I applied for accommodations on the bar in the form of a version of the software with spell checking (the standard version we use does not have this feature) and time and ½ on the essay section to spell check and proof my writing. Even though spelling does not count on the bar, it does when what you spell the grader can’t even identify as a word.

    Well due to a comedy of errors part my fault for not including every single LD test since I have ever taken, and part the bars fault for confusing my app with someone else from some school I never even attended, I was only granted the spell checker, no extra time to use it.

    So on the essay day I had only HALF the time of my non-disabled counterparts. In a 30 min essay I could afford to write for 15 mins then I had to stop and spell check for 15 mins (often that was not enough). Due to the time spell checking took I ended up not being able to get to one whole essay and wrote two sentences for another (eight essays and two MPTs).

    ReplyDelete
  41. That Old Guy (part II) The vast majority of the classes I took where paper or take home exams where I did not receive any accommodations. Seems like paper classes for a person like me would be unwise, but I’m actually a good writer if given enough time to spell check and edit my work. I also could use technology to help me such as speech-to-text software (avoiding the brain/hand jumble) and Read Please that would read back to me what I wrote so I could “listen” for mistakes. Finally I had plenty of time to run MS word spell check and edit. I took high grade and got many As in most of my paper or take home exams, much, much better grades then I ever did with an accommodated in class exam. Ended up graduating 13th in my class, not because of my accommodations, but despite my disabilities.

    When clerking ( I was PT JD so I clerked a lot over 4 years) I always was upfront about my writing speed to my employers. I brought my own software to help me. It was never an issue, not once. I was always able to get my assignments done on time and my writing has always been considered top notch. Finally at work I usually had someone to give my writing a final proofread to catch any dyslexic the text-to-speech, Read Please, MS word or my editing missed.

    I applied for accommodations on the bar in the form of a version of the software with spell checking (the standard version we use does not have this feature) and time and ½ on the essay section to spell check and proof my writing. Even though spelling does not count on the bar, it does when what you spell the grader can’t even identify as a word. Well due to a comedy of errors part my fault for not including every single LD test I have ever taken, and part the bars fault for confusing my app with someone else from some school I never even attended, I was only granted the spell checker, no extra time to use it.
    So on the essay day I had only HALF the time of my non-disabled counterparts. In a 30 min essay I could afford to write for 15 mins then I had to stop and spell check for 15 mins (often that was not enough). Due to the time spell checking took I ended up not being able to get to one whole essay and wrote two sentences for another (eight essays and two MPTs). I missed passing by 11 points (with my essay score being higher than my MBE score). I’d like to see a non-disabled person take the bar essay exam in HALF the time and come within 11 points of passing. So I’m trying again in February, and again asking for ½ extra time on the essay section to spell check my work. It is what it is. If I get turned down again, then I’ll just take it like I did in July and do the best I can.

    ReplyDelete
  42. That Old Guy (Part III) I write this because I think a lot of people without serious learning disabilities think people who do have them are just working the system for an advantage. Not all of us are. I could have asked for double-time if I wanted, I could have taken as many accommodated exams as I could, but I did not. Believe me if I could trade my LD with someone else even if that meant taking law school all over again I would in a heartbeat.

    As difficult, time consuming and frustrating writing as a severe dyslexic is, an extra ½ on exams does not give me any advantage over non disabled folks (also note, the letters on the keyboard are as jumbled as they are in my head, so I type, at best 25 words per min, most of them misspelled, backwards, or just plain f-ed up).

    Do some folks take advantage of the system? Sure. But the system is there to help those who really have a serious need and just require a bit of leveling the playing field to demonstrate they have the same knowledge as their non-disabled counterparts. If not for accommodations and technology I would still be a college fail out, instead of having 3 degrees with honors.

    All I ask is a fair chance to show that despite my disabilities, I still know the law, and I can still practice the law. I know my limitations, I know my weaknesses, and I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me or give me an advantage over anyone else. All I ask for is the use of the technology I need and the time to use it, then let me rise or fall on my own. My grades, the vast majority of which were earned un-accommodated and my getting to within 11 points of passing the bar exam in half the given time show I know the law, I just need a bit of extra time to show I can write the law in a readable manner.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I hope that all the screaming heads in here will one day realize what it is like to be truly disabled. There are those who fake, and those who do not. Let the real world sift through those who fake. If your arguments hold water, it would be clear that those students who faked ailments would be recognized as frauds very quickly in the legal market.

    On the other hand, those who had true disabilities would do the extra work they have always done in order to get their work done - and to get their work done well. The extra time on exams is merely time to proof and reread work - it is just leveling the playing field. If a disabled person needs to spend an extra half-hour at night drafting a motion, memo, etc., then so be it. There are 24 hours in the day. But the key difference is this: the truly disabled person will draft an excellent piece of work product, while the fraud never will be capable of such work. Exam accommodations reflect this. Please stop spewing such negative, ill-informed contentions. You have no idea how much someone with a cognitive disability wishes, every day, for the chance to think as clearly as you do.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I was always a bit suspicious of these claims (I must admit that when I read the list of conditions the plaintiff was claiming it seemed like something from the Onion, I was expected to see "intelligence deficit disorder"). Even assuming they are 100% legitimate, I thought a fair compromise would be to allow the student to take the tests untimed but to make clear that these students could not receive a class rank without taking the tests under the same conditions as everyone else.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have a very real physical disability- partial paralysis of my left arm which means I can't type or write half as fast as my classmates and thus receive a 50% time extension on my exams. With the use of a voice recognition software program I'm barely able to finish most of my exams within my extended time period. In discussing with my classmates, it seems like I'm competing on somewhat even grounds with them. While it may seem like those with disabilities are give advantages (like preferred parking spots, believe me they really just let us navigate the world with the rest of you. While there may be some who are gaming the system by faking disabilities in order to gaion an advantage for themselves, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Reasonable accommodations(like extended exam times) are just that for those of us with real disabilities; if this really is an issue, focus on figuring out how to prevent those who are faking disabilities from doing so and don't penalize those of us with real disabilities who need reasonable accommodations. Thanks, A concerned 2L.

    ReplyDelete
  46. To 1:41 I wish I could have used voice recognition software program for my in class exams, for me I could have likley done them in the same amount of time that way. But we could not at my school for three reasons:

    1 if your using exam software your computer is locked down

    2 You have to "train" the software to get it to work better than 70% (at least i do) so that means using my on computer wich could not be locked down for closed exams

    3 Often I took exams in rooms with other accomidated testers, so me yapping would bother them

    Gald your school found a way to accomidate you with the text-to-speech software, that would have been a godsend to me.

    That Old Guy

    ReplyDelete
  47. Thanks to all the people who shared their experiences here. Law school exams typically measure only a tiny percentage of what it actually takes to be a successful lawyer, and there is an astounding amount of technology out there---usually not accepted during law school exams---that can make it possible for individuals' true intelligence, knowledge, and talent shine through.

    Yes, things like ADHD are over-diagnosed, but that doesn't mean it isn't any less real for those who suffer from it. In some of the most severe cases, perfectly smart people aren't able to sit in one place for more than a few minutes. This spells disaster in a standard law school exam, but in real life, the person could dictate or read as they walked.

    Sadly, it's because of people like those posting negative things on this page that institutions have to be sued to follow the law with respect to individuals with real disabilities. It's the next civil rights movement.

    Finally, as to the person who thinks LD and ADHD is inconsistent with being a successful athlete, that it simply wrong. Often, individuals with ADHD are able to direct their considerable energy into something productive via athletics, and those with LD are able to do something without the struggle it takes to read and write. See Michael Phelps, who turned to swimming as a way to cope with ADHD.

    ReplyDelete
  48. To 2:32...
    The Dragon software will work with the Exam4 software, you just have to start Dragon before Exam4. If it times out, you can use voice commands ("wake up") to get it going again. Once Dragon is trained, it remembers, so you can train it before, rather than during, an exam. Exam4 also has a spellchecker, although its vocabulary doesn't include legal jargon. Maybe you can get your school to use Exam4 for their testing software.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I still don't see, where is the proof that so many students are cheating with false accomodations? The anger is all directed at speculation and comes from people who don't know anything about disability, they just think they do.

    The university disability offices can be pretty tough on students. I have been fighting to get a minor accomodation for a vision problem, something I don't think any student would grumble about or feel is unfair, and the presumption is 100% against me as a student. The accomodations people even had the nerve to second guess my medical diagnosis and demanded to see my medical record so they could make their own conclusions (despite the fact that none are qualified to make one).

    A student with a disability has to have a damned good reason to bring lawsuit, as it would ruin their reputation and open their medical record to the public. Furthermore, it is very expensive and many disabled students do not have so many resources. I don't think my university's disability office worries much about such extreme action and grants applicaitons to avoid it. Where is the evidence that this is happening?

    All and all, its better to assume a student has an accomodation because they need it. Speculation in the dark is not enough to prove someone is cheating.

    And thanks to Old Man for his story :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. To 6:33. Interpersonal skills may help a lawyer get and retain clients, but they have nothing to do with the skills being tested by a law school exam. By that rationale, any law student who has had success as a car salesman or telemarketer or won a prize in grade school for selling the most candy door-to-door should be afforded extra time to complete his/her exams. Furthermore, I doubt that many professors penalize students for misspelling, typos, grammatical errors, etc., as those professors are undoubtly aware of the time pressure. Anedoctally, I managed to do quite well on my exams, which were undoubtly littered with such mistakes given that my ADD went untreated during law school

    ReplyDelete
  51. As far as where the proof is, I personally know 3-4 people at my top law school who are getting accomodations and are gaming the system. Dislexia and physical vision problems are one thing; "writing disorders" are another.

    And as far as why would anyone sue if they didn't have a good reason? Sometimes people don't want a good thing to end. Someone cited Blair Hornstine above who sued a school for 2.7 million so that she wouldn't have to SHARE her valedictorian title. There's also the Michigan high school kid who sued to have school count his summer legal internship grade as an A+ rather than an A; oh and his mom was the supervising attorney who gave him the grade.

    ReplyDelete
  52. @6:49

    I can certainly see the confusion, i.e. Dyslexia real, writing disorder WTF. But they are actually the same thing. Like Cancer is to skin cancer.

    Dyslexia is a perceptual/motor dysfunction learning disability, meaning somewhere between whatever sense your using and the brain the information gets jumbled, misfired or lost ether going in or coming out.

    So Dyslexia is the type of learning disability, then writing disorder is the manifestation of the dyslexia.

    So you can have dyslexia of a couple of major types: Reading disorder (between the eye and the brain the words/letters get jumbled coming IN), writing disorder (between the brain and the hand the words/letters get jumbled going OUT), Verbal disorder (between the brain and the mouth the information gets jumbled), Audio disorder (between the ears and the brain the info gets jumbled), Math disorder (why they don’t just call it “symbol” disorder I don’t know, but basically here numbers get jumbled rather than letters, writing/math disorder almost always go together because it’s really just symbols your jumbling).

    There are a few others as well. You can have Dyslexia and only have one type, like writing disorder, or many types. (Although note, in most dyslexics they tend to have a bit of each but one or two is very pronounced (1 or more standard deviations in relationship to you overall IQ/leaning level on learning disability tests).

    So they don’t use dyslexia as much as a diagnosis anymore as they do Dyslexia – Writing Disorder and Math Disorder, to pinpoint what TYPE of perceptual problem your particular dyslexia is manifesting its self as.

    So the DSMV does not say “Dyslexia” is says Perceptual Writing Disorder. Like your diagnosis would not be just cancer, but skin cancer. It’s all very confusing unless you have been through the testing a bunch of times.

    That Old Guy

    ReplyDelete
  53. @ 3:25 RE: Dragon

    Thanks for the tip on Dragon and Exam4. Unfortunately I’ve already graduated so I can’t try it in school, but I am going to find out it works with the bar software we use, that would be a great help.

    By the way Dragon makes a Legal Version of the software which will recognize almost every legal word I have tried to put into it and also works with briefs and memeo formats. I use at work and at home.

    However, it’s very expensive; I think it was $900. So if you’re getting along fine with normal Dragon for school, might want to wait till your working to buy it. Your firm might buy it for you, but I just bought a copy for myself and bring it with me to work on my laptop as I have it “trained” pretty well at this point, about 89% accuracy (version 9, have not upgraded to 10 yet). Thanks again for the exam software tip!

    That Old Guy

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi
    i recently visit your blog and reading your post i do not understand what about told in this post thanks a lot for sharing this.

    http://studentsblog2.blogspot.com/2009/12/tips-on-how-to-consolidate-student-debt.html

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
    ................................
    writing a term paper-Term Paper Sample

    ReplyDelete
  56. Great blog this - only just discovered. Are you happy for me to link to some of your articles from my blog? Many thanks.
    Frank @ Quick Loans Secured Loans

    ReplyDelete
  57. which takes about 10 minutes. It's an incredibly frustrating process, and has changed my previous positive opinion about Netflix entirely. What can I do to keep this from happening? Dvd movie download and New movie download

    ReplyDelete
  58. What's funny is everyone commenting about the "unlimited time"...well for people that NEED it-that time may not do much for them even then. If they're in DSS then quite possibly the time doesn't even matter! I get a time & a half of what is given for the normal class' time & I go in a quiet room so I can concentrate. Even then, unfortunately with all of my medications that affect my memory because of my Epilepsy, there isn't enough time in the world for me to take or pass a test! Took me 5 1/2 yrs to get my BA in Psych (IF i pass this chem class with this professor who was verbally abusive/shaming regarding my accommodations until she gave in since she had no option). I honestly feel as though she's going to Fail me because she's so mad at me for "inconveniencing" her. It's reallly upsetting to feel like a burden when you're just trying to get help.

    ReplyDelete
  59. This is shocking how can a student bring this type of legal action against an educational institution? payday loans

    ReplyDelete
  60. constantly be sure that you're getting a rigid day job it is possible to Set out an online Home Business. many times the just opportunities will likewise begin a Forum that you can Access code for Facilitate from other business Go on your land site during the test geological period, you may Hold to cater your word.

    my page :: great home businesses

    ReplyDelete
  61. Once Jon and Lori decided to begin calling herself" polyamorous"
    a term that means pursuing multiple consensual love/romantic things to get
    a boyfriend. They never forget an incident related to infidelity.


    Check out my blog: how do you get a ex boyfriend back

    ReplyDelete
  62. The realism of xbox video game these days is that xbox video game negatively influence children by promoting
    violence and addictive behavior. The ball can
    be both good and bad moments. Use your creativity and imagination by
    a lot.

    Also visit my page ... video game magazine

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.