As my eye condition and neurological condition have changed over time, I have received extended time accommodations on all my tests and exams, including standardized tests that I took in high school. When one of my friends was researching extended time accommodations of their own, I stepped in to help with answering their most common questions, and reminded them that needing extended time did not make them a bad student, rather a student that works at their own pace to showcase what they have learned in their classes. Based on that conversation, today I will be talking all about extended time accommodations and how I use them as a student with low vision.
What is extended time?
Extended time, sometimes referred to as a timing accommodation, is used to help students who need additional time to complete activities, assignments, and/or tests that are assigned to them. Typically, extended time is used in one continuous block- for example, while the rest of the class has sixty minutes to complete a test, a student with extended time may have ninety minutes to complete the same test. Students with extended time are not given more or less questions, just additional time to complete the assignment they are given.
Common extended time accommodations
Some examples of common accommodations for extended time include:
- Time and a half (150%), which extends a 60-minute period to 90 minutes- this is the most common extended time accommodation
- Double time (200%), which extends a 60-minute period to 120 minutes
- Triple time (300%), which extends a 60-minute period to 180 minutes
- Alternative testing environments, such as a testing center
- Taking tests at an alternative time to accommodate for additional time- for example, if the test center would close before I could get extended time, I would go earlier in the day
- Use of time-saving tools such as a scribe for bubble sheets or access to a keyboard
- Breaks during exams to stretch or get water
These accommodations are typically included in documents such as IEPs, 504 Plans, or Disability Services files.
- Testing Accommodations For Low Vision Students
- Introduction To Low Vision IEPs: Post Round Up
- Why You Should Get A Disability Services File
Why I receive extended time on tests
There are several reasons for why someone would receive extra time on tests, including extra time to process written text, extra time to write, or to use other accommodations or assistive technology such as a screen reader. I receive extended time for the third reason, which is common for students who are blind or that have low vision, as I use assistive technologies such as a screen reader, screen magnification, or simplified displays that can take longer to set up than a traditional test. Having the additional breaks can also help tremendously with avoiding eyestrain.
- Common Classroom Accommodations For Low Vision
- Classroom Accommodations For POTS
- Ten Ways To Reduce Eye Strain From Screens With Technology
Extended time vs assignment extensions
Extended time is different than assignment deadline extensions, though some students may be approved for both. Assignment extensions often require that students contact their teacher/professor at least 24 hours before the due date to tell them that they will need extended time, and they will be allowed anywhere from 24 hours to a week of extra time in order to complete the assignment. The exact amount of time will depend on what accommodations are approved or what the teacher feels is appropriate, though the written accommodations will overrule the teacher’s preference.
Can I have different extended time accommodations in different environments?
While I am typically approved for 150% extended time in my various classes, I have an accommodation specifically for my math classes to receive 200% extended time. This is because I often use more assistive technology in my math classes because it is much more reading intensive- every number, letter, and symbol are very significant and I have to take more time to make sure that I read them correctly. Some students may need more time in areas such as writing, reading, or spelling.
Extended time on standardized tests
When it comes to standardized tests, extended time accommodations may be slightly different than traditional extended time accommodations. While students typically have the option to forfeit getting extended time if they don’t need it, standardized tests often require students to use all of their time- meaning that if they finish early, they are stuck sitting there until the time is up. In addition, tests like the ACT may allow students to spread their testing experience out over a few days so that they don’t have a continuous block of test sections. Individual accommodations may vary, and I recommend checking out my posts on individual tests for more information.
- SAT Accommodations for Low Vision
- ACT Accommodations For Low Vision
- AP Exam Accommodations For Low Vision
- SOL Test Accommodations And Low Vision
Summary of how extended time accommodations work
- Extended time, sometimes referred to as a timing accommodation, is used to help students who need additional time to complete activities, assignments, and/or tests that are assigned to the
- The amount of extended time a student receives can range from 150% (time and a half) to 300% (triple time)
- Students can receive extended time for multiple reasons, including for additional time to read, write, or use assistive technologies
- Extended time is different than assignment deadline extensions, though some students may be approved for both
- Students can have additional extended time approved for specific subjects, i.e math
- Extended time accommodations on standardized tests may vary from traditional classroom timing accommodations, depending on the test