Jansen, D., Petry, K., Evans, S. W., Noens, I., & Baeyens, D. (2019). The implementation of extended examination duration for students with ADHD in higher education . Journal of Attention Disorders , 23 (14), 1746–1758. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054718787879

Journal Article

Jansen, D., Petry, K., Evans, S. W., Noens, I., & Baeyens, D. (2019). The implementation of extended examination duration for students with ADHD in higher education. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23(14), 1746–1758. https://doi.org/10.1177/1087054718787879


Attention problem; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Extended time; International (non-U.S.); Math; No disability; Postsecondary; Reading; Student survey





The extended time accommodation, including actual time used, was investigated. The testing conditions included no extended time, 133% extended time (33% more than standard time), and 150% extended time (50% more than standard time).


Sixty (60) postsecondary students attending higher education in Flanders, Belgium participated; participants were 18–25 years old. Thirty (30) participants had attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reportedly diagnosed by a psychiatrist and confirmed by the researchers, and 30 participants had no disabilities including ADHD and other psychiatric diagnoses. Many (70%) of the students with ADHD had co-occurring psychological diagnoses. Details such as inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in childhood and adulthood, from the ADHD rating scale (ARS; Kooij et al., 2005) were gathered and reported for all participants. Demographic data were reported, such as sex (20 males, 40 females) and age, as well as other information such as academic major courses of study, years of postsecondary education completed, and number of repeated postsecondary courses and of repeated secondary classes. Participants with and without ADHD were matched in pairs by four factors for the comparison analyses.

Dependent Variable

In addition to the participant characteristics surveys and the ADHD Rating Scale, all participants completed three equivalent academic tests of mathematics and reading comprehension. The 21 math items covered arithmetics and matrix reasoning, and consciously mimicked the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III; Wechsler, 1997). The 14 reading items, with reading texts, were based on the Davis Reading Test (DRT; Davis & Davis, 1962). Each participant's use or non-use of additional time in accommodated conditions was documented. Participants also reported their test-taking strategies and perceptions of the three testing conditions on a survey after the academic tests.


Analyses of the three test versions' performance scores indicated the possibility that the differing orders that the three test versions were administered might have influenced score differences. Test performance, measured by number of items attempted and number answered correctly, on average, were not significantly different between students with without disabilities. The researchers concluded that there was no differential benefit of extended time for students with ADHD, in terms of percent correct. The test-taking strategy use survey yielded a few significant response differences between students with and without disabilities. Students with ADHD expressed higher stress experience, had more difficulty maintaining attention, and felt more distracted by test infrastructure factors, than students without disabilities. In contrast, both participant groups increased in distractedness by infrastructure in extended-time conditions. Students with and without disabilities reported that they used the additional time provided to similar degrees, and participants in both groups worked more slowly through the test, with essentially no group differences noted. As a whole, and across all testing conditions, participants did not use recommended special strategies for increasing accuracy and completion rates. Participants with and without ADHD did not use all of the additional time when provided. Some participants in both groups seemed to attempt more test items (with no increase in accuracy) between the no-extended time and 150% time conditions; however, both groups' mean number of items attempted were not significantly different from one another. The implications of differences in item attempts for some students with ADHD when using extended time at the 150% level could not be definitively resolved with the data available.