Extra time wasn’t the entire solution, but with it, I saw my confidence improve, and with that, so did my schoolwork.
It is still an issue out there--some believe that allowing extra time to a dyslexic creates an unfair advantage over other students. This poignant story helps to explain how important the extra time is (in Nightmare scenario #2!)
Recently a close colleague who is an avid and dedicated runner explained the concept of extra time this way: If you can run a marathon in 3 hours, you have a certain expectation of exertion and effort. A person who runs a 3hr marathon does not want or need' extra time'. In fact running a 5 hour pace would be extremely taxing to that 3 hour athlete. On the other hand someone who runs a 5 hour pace will probably not be able to run significantly faster and needs the time to complete the challenge of the marathon. Both run the same distance. One exerts themselves longer and harder!
Share with teachers who worry about the "fairness" issue!--
"This nightmare might sound familiar to you:
You walk into an exam. You sit down. You stare at the sheets of paper in front of you as you listen to people scribble answers to questions that you yourself have no idea how to answer. You can hear the clock ticking away. When it seems like an eternity has passed, the teacher calls time. You hand in a piece of paper that may not be completely blank, but might as well be. The panic sets in. You can awake from this nightmare knowing that next time you will be prepared and you will be able to answer the questions. We’ll call this Nightmare Scenario Number 1.
Now imagine walking into an exam, knowing all the answers, but cognizant that you’ll never complete it in time. Rather than spend time answering the questions, you try to strategize about which questions you can answer the fastest, rereading each question a few times. In this scenario, which we’ll call “Nightmare Scenario Number 2,” you’re also dyslexic. So, not only do you have to decode the symbols on the page, you also have to work through the nerves you have from knowing that you have all this extra work to do while taking the test, but not the extra time. Since you’re not a professional spy, who is trained to decode under pressure, you take a little longer than usual to translate the words on the page. By the time you have figured out the questions you can answer the fastest, you have about half the time left. Even though you know the answers to more than half the questions on the test, you only have time to answer some of the questions. You leave feeling frustrated. You studied as hard as anyone else—probably harder—and you start to realize that no amount of studying can prepare you. You could have memorized the entire textbook. But you will never have enough time to translate your knowledge into coherent answers. Now imagine Nightmare Scenario Number 2 repeating, again and again.
You can see how no amount of extra time on tests solves the problems in Nightmare Scenario Number 1. If you don’t know the material, you can’t answer the questions, no matter how much time you have. But the problem is that often educators, students, and testing agencies don’t even consider that extra time might be a solution to Nightmare Scenario Number 2....